Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are advanced practice nurses who specialize in anesthesia care. They care for patients of all ages, in every setting where anesthesia is delivered, for every type of procedure.
Nurse anesthetists are master's prepared with extensive clinical and classroom education. CRNAs provide anesthesia in collaboration with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists, and other qualified healthcare professionals. When anesthesia is administered by a nurse anesthetist, it is recognized as the practice of nursing; when administered by an anesthesiologist, it is recognized as the practice of medicine. Regardless of whether their educational background is in nursing or medicine, all anesthesia professionals give anesthesia the same way.
As advanced practice registered nurses, CRNAs practice with a high degree of autonomy and professional respect. They carry a heavy load of responsibility and are compensated accordingly. Education and experience required to become a CRNA include:
- A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or other appropriate baccalaureate degree.
- A current license as a registered nurse.
- At least one year of experience as a registered nurse in an acute care setting.
- Graduation with a minimum of a master's degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program.
- Pass the national certification examination following graduation.
In order to be recertified, CRNAs must obtain a minimum of 40 hours of approved continuing education every two years, document substantial anesthesia practice, maintain current state licensure, and certify that they have not developed any conditions that could adversely affect their ability to practice anesthesia.