Although just about every job category in the medical field is in high demand, the need for certified registered nurse anesthetists CRNAs is higher than ever.
How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the specialty will grow by more than 30 percent in the next decade. In some cases, such as remote rural hospitals, CRNAs are the sole providers. Becoming a CRNA is a multi-step process that will take you about seven to eight years to complete. It takes an average of four years to earn a BSN. Most CRNA programs require that you have more than a year of experience, although every CRNA program has its own guidelines that specify what qualifies as acute care.
Generally, CRNA programs define acute care as working in a coronary care unit , an emergency room or in an intensive care unit. Depending on the school, a nurse anesthetist program is two to three years long. CRNA programs teach through classwork and through hands-on clinical opportunities. There are approximately accredited nurse anesthesia programs in the US, with approximately 2, active clinical training sites. The top 5 include:.
All nurse anesthetists must pass the CRNA exam prior to beginning to practice. For those looking to join the ranks of CRNAs, a few pieces of advice.
What is a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and What Do They Do?
First, get used to thinking independently. Protocols, order sets, guidelines — all are useful and important — but you have to have the critical thinking ability, the knowledge, and judgment to make the right choice for the patient — in the crucial moments. Second, get used to constant advocacy. Third, you must properly — and frequently - articulate your practice to others who likely know nothing about your practice.
Few people even surgeons, physicians, and nurses understand the knowledge, background, and capabilities of CRNAs, and fewer will know that you have a deep understanding of perioperative anesthetic management. Last, surgery and anesthesia are all about teamwork, not egos - the only measurement that ever matters - is the safety of our patients. Show Me Nurse Practitioner Programs. For nurses who would like to become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, I recommend that one does a bit of research into the profession. I believe that it would benefit the nurse to shadow a couple different CRNAs in a couple different types of practice.
See what it is like in a busy, metropolitan trauma center compared to a solo provider in a rural area serving many small communities. Understanding the different types of practice is key to understanding our profession completely. I also think that a nurse working in critical care will develop skills that are crucial to our profession. A successful CRNA understands all of those things, plus the pathophysiology behind it.
This is something that is learned over time, not just in a year. I truly believe that applying for school when one is ready, not just after the minimum requirement, is important.
The best advice I can give critical care nurses interested in a career in Nurse Anesthesia is to focus on leadership. That is, seek opportunities outside of the purely clinical and be involved politically, socially, or even artistically. These experiences will allow you to evolve into the advanced role of nursing leadership that Nurse Anesthesia demands as well as makes your application for school more impactful and likely to lead to an interview. This is to minimize debt. You will have time to decompress during school.enter site
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
But international vacations at this time are an unnecessary luxury in my humble opinion and experience. You will have time and money after boards! It is difficult to get accepted into a nurse anesthesia program, so increase your odds with excellent academic work. After becoming an RN, you will need to obtain at least one year of experience working in an intensive care setting.
My recommendation: Work for years at a minimum before applying for nurse anesthesia school. Absorb advice and information like a sponge, and become the best intensive care nurse you can be. This will give you a total picture of what the career entails. Also, get your CCRN certification. Obtaining the certification shows that you are able to learn and retain new concepts and shows that you have the motivation to learn while working. Also, if you had a science course and your grades were not outstanding, take another science course before applying to show you are capable of the science courses in anesthesia school.
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This will position you well for the next stage of your career…as a CRNA! Good luck in your future career.
Show Me NP Programs. My best advice for nurses who want to become a nurse anesthetist CRNA is to have a plan and be willing to challenge yourself. That plan begins with focusing on academic success and picking the anesthesia program that is right for you, such as a program with an independent practice or regional anesthesia emphasis. In addition, it is very important to gain as much clinical exposure as possible while working as an RN and applying to anesthesia programs. I also feel it is helpful to find a CRNA mentor and shadow that person for enough time to really establish if this profession is for you.