The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) has designated January 19th-25th as a time to celebrate the nation’s nearly 54,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA). CRNA’s safely provide cost-effective anesthetics to more than 49 million patients every year. In honor of these highly respected nurses, let’s take a closer look at their contribution to the nation’s most trusted profession.
Pioneering the Practice
Did you know nurses were the first U.S. healthcare providers to administer anesthesia? Since the American Civil War, administering anesthetics has been recognized as the practice of nursing. The practice wasn’t recognized as part of physician practice until 50 years later. In 1956, the CRNA role became credentialed and the title “nurse anesthesiologist” and “nurse anesthetist” came into existence.
CRNAs are answering the call for safe high-quality patient care. In 1999, The Institute of Medicine a report indicating anesthesia care is 50% safer than it was in the early 1980s. Studies have also shown there is no difference in the quality of care between CRNAs and physician anesthesiologists. Today, most hands-on anesthesia care in the U.S. is provided by CRNAs.
Across All Settings
CRNAs are answering the call to serve patients anywhere anesthesia is delivered. Here are a few examples to give you an idea of just how far the reach of CRNAs extends:
Ambulatory surgical centers
Pain management specialists
Public health services
Nurses have long answered the calls of wounded on the battleground. During World War I, nurse anesthetists were there, providing anesthesia to injured soldiers on the front lines. Today, CRNAs continue to be the primary providers to our U.S. military and can be found on the front lines, in VA medical centers, navy ships and aircraft evacuation teams all across the globe.
Meeting the Needs of Under-Served Communities
CRNAs have answered the call of communities across the U.S. by filling access gaps in anesthesia services. They are proudly the primary providers of anesthesia care in
Under-served inner-city communities
Veteran’s Administration and U.S. Military
High-Quality Care with Lower Patient Expenses
CRNAs are answering the call to help control medical expenses by delivering the same high-quality anesthesia care as other professions, but at a lower cost. According to a 2010 study, published in Nursing Economics, a CRNA working as the sole anesthesia provider is 25% more cost-effective than the next most cost-effective delivery model. Medicare reimburses the same fee for anesthesia regardless if services were provided by a physician anesthesiologist or CRNA. However, anesthesiologists make about 2.5 times more money when compared to the salary of CRNAs.
Robust Education and Training
CRNAs answer the call for preparedness in the delivery of high-quality services. Today, CRNAs are required to have 7-8 ½ years of education, training and experience and a master’s or doctorate degree to enter the workforce. Student registered nurse anesthetists average around 9,400 of clinical experience before certification.
Autonomy, Responsibility and Collaboration
CRNAs have answered the call for an advanced practice nurse that works with a high level of autonomy, making them greatly respected in the medical community. The responsibilities of CRNAs require a professional collaboration with all members of a patient’s healthcare team. To ensure safety and comfort, CRNAs are accountable for their patients before, during and after anesthesia.
Ideas for Celebration
Facilities and groups answered the call to celebrate and recognize the value of CRNAs during the 2019 CRNA Week. Here are a few ideas from across the U.S.
Atrium Health (formerly Carolinas Healthcare System- Featured a half-page ad in the Charlotte observer to honor the CRNAs working for them.
University of Nebraska Medical Center- Spotlighted six CRNAs on their website and social media in honor of CRNA Week.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center- A bake sale was held by CRNAs to support the hospital’s employee hardship fund.
Mayo Clinic in Rochester- Each day during CRNA week, a different class provided breakfast, cards and CRNA Week materials for all CRNAs.
For ideas on how your facility can honor CRNAs, visit the AANA website.
What contribution made by CRNAs would you like to celebrate during CRNA Week 2020?
Download: CRNAs At A Glance