As a new CRNA, the responsibility of taking care of the patient is on the same level as the anesthesiologist. A regular nurse could not do the same job as a CRNA. What you are observing on the periphery of what a CRNA does, prevents you from seeing what the CRNA is thinking while taking care of the patient. The physiology, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and the anesthesia courses are what separates the RN from an CRNA. You have to know how that patients co-morbidities and medications are affected by your anesthesia medications and gases. Would an RN know how to manage a patient that has Local Anesthetic Systemic Toxicity from the medications injected by the surgeon? Would an RN know what medication is used for this toxicity? Would an RN know how to treat a patient with pheochromocytoma? Would an RN know the differential diagnosis between pheochromocytoma, Malignant Hyperthermia, Serotonin Syndrome, and Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome. A lot of these syndromes have similar presentations but a CRNA would have the training to differentiate them and the medications used to treat them. So while you may see a CRNA going through the motions, you have no idea of what they're thinking and why they base the decisions of what med to give based on a patients medical history.
After having worked as an ICU nurse I thought I knew it all but until I went to anesthesia school and learned how drugs work at the cellular level, I have come to realize that I didn't know as much as I thought I knew. Also, going from the RN role to the CRNA role you are taught to practice as a provider and make decisions on your own, after all, some states allow CRNAs to work independently without an anesthesiologist.
As you mentioned about the doc coming to push drugs, where I work, the docs only supervise us 70% of the time so I get to do my own inductions by myself. Every practice is different. So yes, I think I deserve the salary I receive because I have the awesome responsibility of having someones life in my hands and the knowledge and training I have received has prepared me well for my job. Also, RNs can't float swan catheters but I can as a CRNA when doing hearts. Our anesthesiologists do not even gown up. I place the swan catheter myself. So I'm just a little confused on how you can say an RN can do the job of a CRNA. Can an RN manage a patient that has Aortic Stenosis or Mitral Regurgitation. There is so much you just don't know. I have learned so much in 28 months that I know I still have so much to learn.
Good luck to you.