What is the real difference between a CRNA and an Anesthesiologist Assistant? Do hospitals prefer to hire one over the other? Which training is more rigorous? Any information on the difference between these two would be greatly appreciated!
The Difference Between CRNAs and AAs | TheCRNA.com - Everything Nurse Anesthesia.
The biggest differences that you will see is the job opportunities for AAs is extremely limited compared to CRNAs and AAs cannot work without medical direction/supervision of an anesthesiologist. CRNAs can and do work independently and the percentage of CRNAs working independently has grown over the last several years. CRNAs work in every state and US territory.
All CRNAs are RNs with patient care experience prior to beginning an anesthesia program. The practice of anesthesia has much in common with the practice of nursing. It's continual patient assessment and adjusting according to the patient responce. Anesthesiologists Assistants do not have a nursing background so do not understand basic content such as medical terminology
, physical assessment, patient communication and much, much more. AAs are taught to assist an anesthesiologist while CRNAs are taught to care for a patient. CRNA opportunities are growing as health care finance becomes more important. AAs must practice under medical direction which is becoming less common because the model is more expensive while there is no evidence patient outcomes are improved. Many AAs wish they were CRNAs, but no CRNAs wish they were an AA.
Any non physician anesthetists, whether individually or corporately, one day realize they don't need to have their hand held by a doctor to do anesthesia. CRNA's knew that very early on and AA's are beginning to realize this now. One day there will be such a thing as a "militant AA" as far as anesthesiologists are concerned, if that entity doesn't already exist.
The difference is that AA's practice at the pleasure of their state's board of medicine and can be dealt a lethal blow over a weekend. CRNA's are credentialed completely independently of any physician organization and as such are free to pursue or not pursue varying degrees of "independence" as they see fit.
Take away? AA's need to play nice, regardless of the skill and experience they bring to the table. CRNA's don't.
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