Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists have been in existence for over 150 years (Wright, McGuinness, Schumacher, Zwerling, & Moneyham, 2014). The profession started in the 1950s and it was meant to improve advanced training and to enhance specialization in anesthesia nursing. CRNAs are the primary providers of anesthesia in rural areas and in the most underserved and inaccessible remote areas all over the world. The demand for anesthetic nurses is rising as the population progressively gets older.
CRNAs’ major role in the nursing profession is to collaborate with the anesthesiologists, surgeons, and other specialized physicians in providing anesthetic services for surgical and other medical procedures (Wright et al., 2014). They are responsible for patients before, during, and after a surgical procedure (Wright et al., 2014). CRNAs are mandated to perform patients’ assessment as well as preparing them for anesthesia (Wright et al., 2014).
It is also their mandate to monitor and maintain the level of anesthesia and to ensure that the required sedation and pain regulation is kept at the optimum level. They are also responsible for the immediate Patients’ post-operative needs (Santos, Silva, Brito, Ferreira, & Veras, 2013). After an operation, patients need time to recover from anesthetic effects. CRNAs are trained and equipped with the skills to deal with patients after a surgery procedure and to manage their recovery from the sedation.
This is a specialized branch of nursing and it requires enough period of study time for one to become a fully Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. In order to meet the basic requirements, one needs to be in a position to set aside seven years for academic study. To become a nurse anesthetist, one is required to be a nurse with a current operating license. CRNAs are required to have a Bachelor’s of Science degree in nursing or any other undergraduate degree from any of the suitable disciplines (O’Conner-Von & Turner, 2013). In addition, they are also required to be holders of a master’s degree from one of the many schools of anesthetic nursing.
In order to become a CRNA, one has to pass the vetting procedure set to measure the academic standards and qualification of an individual. The standards are set by the Council of Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Program COA (Santos et al., 2013). This is the only body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as well as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (O’Conner-Von & Turner, 2013). The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists NBCRNA is the board responsible for certifying nurse anesthetist (O’Conner-Von, & Turner, 2013). This is the only body in charge of the national certification examination (O’Conner-Von & Turner, 2013). The body is responsible for setting the certification standards in the field of nursing anesthesia.
The prospects for finding a rewarding job in nursing anesthesia are very high. The growing population of aging individuals is increasing the need and demand for CRNAs. In addition, the increasing technological advancement enhancing the diagnosis of medical conditions that require surgical procedures are also factors to consider in the rising demand for CRNAs globally. Due to the importance and work load of CRNAs, their pay is also very good. An average CRNA gets an annual salary of about US$ 150, 000 (Kimberly & Manchikanti, 2012).
Currently, in the United States of America alone there are approximately 36,000 CRNAs (Kimberly & Manchikanti, 2012). This Number is slightly lower than the required number of CRNAs considering the growing population. Therefore, competition in job opportunities is still very low hence making this occupation one of the most available job openings in the world. In this profession, there are very few people enrolling annually compared to other health practices.
This could be attributed to the amount of time required to complete the degree. As a result, few skilled CRNAs are admitted or licensed annually. However, the few CRNAs that are available globally are highly loaded and overwhelmed by their responsibilities. This is a clear indication that there are numerous job opportunities for new CRNAs. Anyone willing to join the profession stands a high chance of getting a job compared to other health care professions where jobs are limited and the professionals are many.
The basic professional activity for CRNAs is to offer and to provide optimum care for patients in the field of anesthetic nursing. In this course or career, one is able to acquire the right and adequate skills in order for him or her to offer satisfactory performance in the line of work. The most important aspect of this profession is the ability for a CRNA to care for patients through evaluating them preoperatively and anticipating their medical requirements in both the preoperative and post operative phases (Edkins, Hultman, Collins, Cairns, Hanson, & Carman, 2015). Professionals in nursing anesthetic are also responsible for performing and documenting a preanesthetic assessment and evaluation of patients (Edkins et al., 2015).
They are also trained and skilled in developing and also ensuring that an anesthetic plan has been followed to the later for optimum results. They are required and mandated to select and initiate a planned anesthetic procedure (Edkins et al., 2015). CRNAs are also trained and skilled to manage patients’ airway and the pulmonary status (Edkins et al., 2015). To enhance this, they are trained to use the endotracheal intubation, mechanical ventilation, pharmacological support, respiratory therapy, or extubation (Bai & Yoon, 2013).
Reflection / Personal Career Plan
Considering the current educational setting that outlines the requirements for a CRNA, I intend to finish my nursing education and pursue my master’s degree while practicing in the field. I believe this will give me the needed experience as I advance my education in this profession. Although it will take a lot of time before I become a full CRNA, I am banking on the job prospects in the field. I believe that the benefits ahead will be worth the waiting. I believe building a career in this field is the most prudent and the best option for me as I currently pursue my degree in nursing.
I have already begun the journey and I am almost finishing the first and the most basic requirement in anesthetic nursing. After my degree, I will seek to get my nursing license and register with the national board in order to meet the basic requirement for enrollment as a CRNA. With my nursing license, I will also seek employment or at least a voluntary program to enhance my nursing background in the field. I believe experience in nursing will be very useful in helping me to pursue my advanced nursing program.
Further education is important but it becomes easier when one has some basic field experience. As I work, I will also enroll for the master’s degree and drop my job or voluntary service on the second academic year of the masters program in order to concentrate completely on my academic work.
Bai, C., & Yoon, H. (2013). Comparison of Job Tasks and Task Elements of Korean Nurse Anesthetists by Type of Medical Institution: Hospital, General Hospital and Higher General Hospital. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing Administration, 19(2), 239-253.
Edkins, R. E., Hultman, C. S., Collins, P., Cairns, B., Hanson, M., & Carman, M. (2015). Improving Comfort and Throughput for Patients Undergoing Fractionated Laser Ablation of Symptomatic Burn Scars. Annals of plastic surgery, 74(3), 293-299.
Kimberly, A., & Manchikanti, L. (2012). Fluoroscopic epidural injections in cervical spinal stenosis: Preliminary results of a randomized, double-blind, active control trial. Pain Physician, 15, 59-70.
O’Conner-Von, S., & Turner, H. N. (2013). American Society for Pain Management Nursing (ASPMN) Position Statement: Male Infant Circumcision Pain Management. Pain Management Nursing, 14(4), 379-382.
Santos, A. L. C., Silva, M. L. M., Brito, S. A., Ferreira, E. B. F. B., & Veras, J. L. D. A. (2013). Nursing care in the surgical process: professional practice in the surgical center and anesthetic recovery. Journal of Nursing UFPE on line, 7(10), 6116-6122.
Wright, E. L., McGuinness, T., Schumacher, J. E., Zwerling, A., & Moneyham, L. D. (2014). Protective Factors against Relapse for Practicing Nurse Anesthetists in Recovery from Anesthetic Opiate Dependency. Journal of addictions nursing, 25(2), 66-73.