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CRNA Week: Understanding the CRNA Role

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JanineKelbach is a RN and specializes in Nurse Health Writer / Author.

3 Followers; 19 Articles; 9,176 Profile Views; 84 Posts

How can I become a CRNA?

The field of nurse anesthesia is growing every year. This program is moving towards a required doctorate and residency program. The CRNA is the highest paid RN, and many nurses are interested in this program for several reasons. This week January 21-27, 2018 we are celebrating Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) Week by giving you more knowledge and understanding of the CRNA role.

CRNA Week: Understanding the CRNA Role

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) Week starts Jan 21-27, 2018 and focuses on celebrating the nation's 52,000+ Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and student registered nurse anesthetists! According to the National CRNA Website, these CRNAs provide approximately 43 million anesthetics each year. This article will help you understand why we celebrate, why you should consider the field of anesthesia, and how to become a nurse anesthetist.

Why do We Celebrate?

National Nurse Anesthetists Week has been celebrated since 2014. It helps create awareness of the role and credentials CRNAs have worked so hard to achieve. The theme for this year is, "Making a Difference, One Patient at a Time." The importance of Nurse Anesthetists to the healthcare team is the focus of the week.

As an essential role to the healthcare team, the CRNA works closely with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists, and other qualified healthcare professionals. With vast amounts of advanced education, the CRNA becomes certified to deliver high-quality, safe, and cost-effective patient care. This week you can follow the hashtag #crnaweek to learn and celebrate our CRNA nationwide!

Why Become a CRNA?

There are several reasons a nurse chooses to become a CRNA after becoming an RN. Compared to a Registered Nurse, the CRNA has a lot more autonomy and responsibility of the patient. This is the reason programs need RNs to have acute care experience. Nurse.org predicts that job growth for CRNAs is estimated at 31% between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the 16% expected job growth for RNs. The CRNA is used often in rural areas and this trend is increasing to save on costs of an Anesthesiologist.

Compared to the national average wage of RNs in 2016, according to Nurse.org of $72,180, a CRNA doubles that. The average CRNA makes $157,000. When compared to an anesthesiologist at $364,000, there's no question that the CRNA helps in cost savings in healthcare.

How To Become a CRNA

Becoming a CRNA is a challenging, but rewarding profession, that includes advanced education and rigorous training.

Anesthesiologist vs CRNA - Patients and healthcare professionals sometimes struggle with the differences between an anesthesiologist and a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). An anesthesiologist has a medical model of training while the CRNA has a nursing model of training. A large difference in the pay scale exists as well (doctor vs nurse wages). In most situations, but not all, nurse anesthetists have to have supervision at the start of anesthesia during surgery.

Most CRNAs start the path to CRNA by first obtaining a Bachelors of Science in Nursing or BSN. Then, you have to become licensed to practice as a Registered Nurse by passing the nursing boards, or the NCLEX exam. After that, the certified registered nurse anesthetist programs require training in an acute care setting, like Critical Care or an Intensive Care Unit for typically one year or more.

After obtaining the required pre-course work, the student can apply for the doctorate program for CRNAs which is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. This program is a full-time commitment to gain the hands-on experience, time to test in a classroom setting, and time to practice various anesthesia techniques.

After completion of the program, the graduate is eligible for the national certification exam. Upon passing the exam, the CRNA can practice. Renewal for the certification is required every two years to keep up the certification. Renewal is completed by obtaining CEUs.

With the increased demand, and increased registered nurse interest, becoming a CRNA is popular now more than ever. Becoming trained as a professional CRNA is rigorous, but rewarding. If you have a desire to work in anesthesia, shadow a local CRNA and watch their role. You may be drawn into your next career path!


Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Salary and Jobs Guide - UPDATED 217

Medscape: Medscape Access

Janine has been an RN since 2006, specializing in labor and delivery. She ventured into writing in 2012. She still works in the hospital. She, her husband, and two boys reside in Cleveland, Ohio.

3 Followers; 19 Articles; 9,176 Profile Views; 84 Posts

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