What's the catch and why is the CRNA position so popular?

  1. Hello everyone.
    I'm just wondering why CRNAs get paid so much money and why.
    Is the work back-breaking?
    Is the responsibility enough to crush one's head?
    Do many get sued for causing someone's death?
    The CRNA field seems extremely popular and after reading the sticky CRNA FAQ I still have lots more questions.
    What's the catch to this whole thing?

    Shel
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   TraumaNurse
    CRNAs salaries are increasing because of the increasing demand and shortage of anesthesia providers. It's a supply and demand issue. RN's salaries have also made a big jump in recent years, also because of a national shortage of RN's. My RN salary almost tripled in 9 years!
    That said, CRNAs also get paid for what they know. CRNAs are very well educated and highly skilled practicioners. They have a lot of autonomy and responsibilty which also carries with it a much higher liability. All of these things and the current shortage has led to the increase in CRNA salaries.
    I don't think it is about 'back breaking' work. All nurses do that! There are some physically demanding things about anesthesia as well, but I'm sure there are other areas of nursing that require more heavy lifting and 'back breaking' work.
    As to the popularity of becoming a CRNA. I think there are a few who go into anesthesia because they see the income potential. But most of us go into anesthesia because we thrive in a high tech environment where you are continuosly learning and challenged. The responsibility that comes with holding a patients life in your hands while they have surgery is awsome and rewarding. CRNAs have a lot of autonomy of practice and they are well respected. The hours can be long, but there is also opportunty to have a more 'normal' life than some of us have had as ICU RN's (ie: Not working every weekend night just to make ends meet and getting more quality time with our families).
    Anyway, I hope this answers some of your questions. Feel free to ask more or PM me for specifics.
  4. by   susanna
    Here's what I know about CRNA's that makes me think that there's logic behind why they are payed more:
    *I've been getting information from schools and most of the schools I want to go to demand that you take the MCAT's and do a pre-med curriculum(One yr ORgo, One yr Calculus,Oneyr Physics, Ect) in addition to having your nursing degree, so getting into school is pretty hard and competitive.
    *You WILL be sued and involved in litigation(s) if you become a CRNA, no doubt about this, because anesthesia has so many risks.
    *There's a lot of responsibility and the job requires u to be meticulous and hard-working.
    (Don't know if the work is back-breaking)
  5. by   James Huffman
    Lots of people do back-breaking work. Others have lots of responsibility. Still others have to take great risks. None of the above necessarily get paid a lot for their efforts.

    Supply and demand (especially demand) is always, always, always the cause of what someone is paid. This is true not only for CRNAs, but for all nurses, and everyone else, for that matter.

    Having said this, I think CRNA is appealing to nurses because of the autonomy available to them, not to mention the pay, and -- probably to a lesser degree -- the perceived prestige. I am not a CRNA, but have been autonomous for over 20 years. It is an addictive feeling.

    Jim Huffman, RN
  6. by   pnurseuwm
    I had a question, sussana,
    Which NA schools do you know of that want you to take calculus and the MCAT?
  7. by   angel337
    i think the catch is the respect that crna's receive. where i work, they hire tons of crna's and the surgeons and other health care associates have very high respect for them. very different than other types of nursing where alot of nurses feel disrespected and unappreciated. and of course the autonomy and responsibilty makes it worth while going to work everyday. the pay is a great incentive also, but there are plenty of bedside nurses that make 6 figures too. the catch to that is crna's can enjoy making the money in one place with nice working conditions as opposed to the hustle and bustle of agency work that many bedside nurses have to subject themselves to in order to make the same salary. of course there are exceptions to every situation, but this is what i observe the most.
  8. by   yoga crna
    I am sure your question is sincere, but I think you should do some research into what anesthesia is all about. Follow a CRNA around for a day and see the amount of knowledge required, the clinical techniques that have to be mastered and knowing the art of applying knowledge to patient care.

    I think a good idea would be to look at an anesthesia textbook and then realize that just about everything in that book is in our head and must be pulled out at a moment's notice. Therein is some of the "value" of anesthesia for which we get paid.

    It would serve you well to also do some reading on health care economics, The principles of supply and demand are seen everyday in the health care setting.

    There are days I know I am underpaid for all I do, and every day I am grateful for having gone into such a great profession.

    Yoga
  9. by   susanna
    Quote from pnurseuwm
    I had a question, sussana,
    Which NA schools do you know of that want you to take calculus and the MCAT?
    My number 1 choice, rush university in illinois, requires that u take two semsters of calculus and the mcat.
  10. by   AmiK25
    Susanna,

    I have researched Rush for anesthesia school and nowhere did I see that they require calculus or the MCAT. I know they require graduate stats (sometime before the program begins, not necessarily to apply), GRE, and I think organic (?) but that is it. Where did you see that they require calculus and MCAT?
  11. by   Dixiedi
    Quote from yoga crna
    I am sure your question is sincere, but I think you should do some research into what anesthesia is all about. Follow a CRNA around for a day and see the amount of knowledge required, the clinical techniques that have to be mastered and knowing the art of applying knowledge to patient care.

    I think a good idea would be to look at an anesthesia textbook and then realize that just about everything in that book is in our head and must be pulled out at a moment's notice. Therein is some of the "value" of anesthesia for which we get paid.

    It would serve you well to also do some reading on health care economics, The principles of supply and demand are seen everyday in the health care setting.

    There are days I know I am underpaid for all I do, and every day I am grateful for having gone into such a great profession.

    Yoga
    I was just reading this thread out of curiosity since the opening question seemed to have been written by someone not in the medical field at all. Just the way it struck me, don't mean to insult anyone.
    Anyway, I was caught by the reply that stated supply and demand dictate salaries in health care.
    NOT! At least not for us lowly bedside nurses. Demand has done little to improve our wages. Matter of fact, when I returned to this area after nearly a 14 year absense I found that venti home care is paying less than it did when I left!
    Last edit by Dixiedi on Jun 22, '04
  12. by   gaspassah
    susana are you sure that it's not the MAT (miller analogies test) and not the mcat? several anesthesia schools require the mat.
    d
  13. by   susanna
    Quote from AmiK25
    Susanna,

    I have researched Rush for anesthesia school and nowhere did I see that they require calculus or the MCAT. I know they require graduate stats (sometime before the program begins, not necessarily to apply), GRE, and I think organic (?) but that is it. Where did you see that they require calculus and MCAT?
    I'm sorry, I was really tired when I answered your post so i put the wrong name down. I meant, case western in cleveland, ohio, my top choice!! lol Rush is also one of the schools im looking into and is also the school whos anesthesia notes are online and which i read so that must have been why i confused em.

    Case western is also one of the nicest admission commitees that wrote back to me personalised emails answering all my questions and sending me mucho information. So, it looks like a pretty good school if youre interested, pnurseuwm and amik25.

    Sorry I gave the wrong info but it looks like I actually got info from you that I needed and that i would have missed. Amik25, they require graduate-level stats? Do you know if they require u to take it at their school or at any medical school and exactly what kind of statistics?
  14. by   susanna
    Quote from gaspassah
    susana are you sure that it's not the MAT (miller analogies test) and not the mcat? several anesthesia schools require the mat.
    d
    Sigh, yes, yes, yes, I am absolutely sure that its the mcat. i got off my lazy *** to go get the packet they sent me to make sure i wasn't insane. Mcat-minumum composite score of 20. Have no idea what that means. Not sure if thats difficult to get or relatively average.

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