CRNA Part Time Opportunities

  1. Hi all, I'm a Biology major in Kansas City, MO. I'm trying to decide my career path, and have narrowed it down between CRNA and AA. Now I know everyone here is a bit biased .. But I recognize that you are all also very knowledgeable and can help answer some questions that I have.

    First, let me share that I love science. It was my original goal to pursue medical school, but I now have a family with small children, and I think that ship has sailed (plus I realized I wouldn't have wanted the lifestyle anyhow.) I also specifically love physiology and pharmacology. Anesthesia is very interesting to me, and I am pretty convinced that a career in it will be satisfying and engaging.

    So ... as a Bio major ... AA school would be the quickest route for me. I am struggling with the decision though, because I worry about the politics, and effects on job security. I also know that one day I would really like to explore flexible work schedule options for more time with family, or to pursue other interests. After searching on gaswork, indeed, etc... I'm finding a lot of part time and locums tenens work for CRNA's, but none of these opportunities for AA's.

    So here are my questions.

    1) Can you tell me how available part time work is for CRNA's? If you wanted to work a part time job right now, could you find one? Would you have to move? What would the pay sacrifice be?

    2) Can you tell me if AA's have these same opportunities, or if they are reserved for CRNA's?

    3) Can you tell me what you love or hate about your job and are you happy or remorseful about following the path that you did?

    4) What do you predict will happen to the CRNA and AA job market / compensation (respectively or collectively) when health care reform happens?

    Thanks in advance for your help and insight!
    Last edit by Southbound on Mar 17, '10
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    About Southbound

    Joined: Jan '10; Posts: 5


  3. by   mochamonster
    Since no one has replied to you yet:

    I am not a CRNA, but am also interested in the field and have done some research. I live in Nebraska, and AAs can't practice here yet. From what I understand there are maybe 7 states that AAs can practice in, and always under the anesthesiologist's supervision. Conversely, CRNAs can practice in all 50 states and manytimes without doctor's supervision (depending on the state). I would expect that being a CRNA would give more flexibility in the job market because of this, but don't know for certain.

    If and when healthcare reform happens, I would expect the demand to remain the same (high) for CRNAs and AAs since they both provide safe anesthesia, but can be trained at a lower cost than an anesthesiologist, and are paid less as well. But that is pure speculation. Who knows what will happen.

    It does take much more time to become a CRNA than it does to be an AA. Especially if you already have a bachelor's degree. I personally am wanting to stay in Nebraska, so being an AA isn't an option for me, but if I lived where you do, that would be awfully tempting.

    I don't have the answers to your other questions, hopefully a CRNA will respond to you.

    Good luck with whatever path you choose!
  4. by   blessed_2Bhere
    Imma sit back and wait for a response with you because you took the questions right outta my head!
  5. by   loveanesthesia
    The trend is for groups of anesthesiologists and CRNAs to work together with both providers practicing independently, and billing independently. That is most cost effective. The other way for anesthesiologists and CRNAs to work together is the Anesthesia Care Team-where to MD medically directs 2 to 4 CRNAs. This is not cost effective because with say, 1-3 medical direction, you have 4 people covering 3 cases-1 anesthesiologist and 3 CRNAs. In the independent practice model those 4 people can cover 4 cases.

    Another factor that is changing is that anesthesia is provided in all kinds of locations-radiology down the hall, MRI in the basement, outpatient surgi-centers down the street, etc. It is hard to have the right ratio of people in all the right places at any given time and if you don't have the right people in the right places you can get hit with billing fraud. It is not a problem in the non-medically directed model.The are a lot of very old practices that are holding on to the ACT model-it can be hard for an anesthesiologist that has not done the technical aspects of anesthesia for 25 years to pick it up again. But the new practices are rarely ACT.

    AAs can only practice in an ACT with medical direction. AAs were the answer to a shortage of CRNAs, and now the shortage of CRNAs is going away. This year more than 2500 CRNAs will graduate, compared to 1000 in the late 90's. Some CRNAs see this as a problem, but the shortage is being met. Of course I haven't even mentioned all the places CRNAs practice without anesthesiologists, AAs don't have those as an option. So as you can see the job opportunities will be much greater for CRNAs in the future compared to AAs. Health care reform will only push it faster.
  6. by   HenryH
    when you say that the CRNA shortage is essentially over, are you implying that job opportunities and salaries for CRNAs will be decreasing over the next few years? will it be difficult for new CRNA graduates to find jobs during the next few years?
  7. by   kidari
    that is pretty much what the above poster is implying. seems logical that the more crna's are coming out of school and into the workforce the amount of job will be less. especially if there're 2500 crna's graduating this year alone.
  8. by   jwk
    The jobs are there. You have to look for them - they don't generally look for you. There is still an overall shortage of anesthesia providers nationwide - but there is a distribution problem. Too many want to work in bigger cities. And whether you agree with the ACT concept or not, many big centers are places where the anesthesiologists run the show. So if you want to practice independently/autonomously, which is the current AANA mindset, that wipes out 2/3 of the available jobs right off the bat.

    As far as the OP question about part-time. Why on earth would you want to go through all that time and expense just so you can work part-time? You need the experience of working full time after graduation to hone your skills. There are tons of anesthetists looking for part-time work, and in this economy, in many places, it's non-existent.
  9. by   HenryH
    Well, is anything being done to reduce the numbers of new CRNAs? Or are the schools determined to graduate thousands of CRNAs every year until 99% of jobs are filled and the new grads are screwed?
  10. by   Southbound
    Quote from jwk

    As far as the OP question about part-time. Why on earth would you want to go through all that time and expense just so you can work part-time? You need the experience of working full time after graduation to hone your skills. There are tons of anesthetists looking for part-time work, and in this economy, in many places, it's non-existent.
    I wouldn't want to work part time right out of the gate. I agree that I'd want to get some real world experience in anesthesia, hone my skills, and enjoy the career that I'd worked so hard for. However, my ultimate goal is to have a well-paying, interesting, rewarding part-time job. I'm willing to front-load a lot of hard work in order to have what I consider a high quality of life the rest of the time. I'm only 24, so I would still be fairly young when I could potentially semi-retire, still live comfortably, and have a "cool" job that I woke up excited about each morning.

    These are my goals anyway. I just want to know if they're a pipe dream, or if the kind of part time work I'd ultimately seek is really an option.
  11. by   Jdog19s
    As far as my school is concerned they are trying to find younger students with a few years of solid experience for the program. They believe that many providers will be retiring in the next decade and they believe that the earlier we start our training the longer we can practice and the more we can give back to our profession. And just in case some of u are going to attack this mindset, I assure u they are not taking students only because they are young, they make sure u know ur stuff prior to acceptance as well. So in the long run, I don't think programs care too much about oversaturation, and with the economy I don't really see many people retiring anytime soon!
  12. by   Class2011
    "Officer, I don't speed all the time, just when I've been drinking"

    Just pointing out ...
  13. by   HenryH
    This is just great... so it looks like anesthesia may become the next perfusion in terms of career viability. Perfusionist jobs were once plentiful and high-paying, but after a drop in the number of heart surgeries performed coupled with a massive increase in the supply of perfusionists, opportunities went down the drain.