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How to become a CRNA: Salary, Duties & Work Environment

A Guide on how to become a CRNA

Patients receive anesthesia and pain relief from certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) during surgery and other medical procedures. These well-respected APRNs (advanced practice registered nurses) receive some of the best pay in the nursing industry and have a great deal of practice autonomy.

There has never been a greater need for CRNAs. Compared to the 6% expected growth for all registered nurses, the CRNA job market is expected to grow by 12% between 2021 and 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Where you are in your nursing career will determine how long it takes you to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. To obtain such a level of professional achievement, it can require several years of school and employment.

Discover how to become a CRNA and what to expect working in this demanding sector by reading this tutorial.

How to become a crna

What is a Nurse Anesthetist?

An advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) with certification and training in the administration of anesthesia for surgery, labor and delivery, emergency care, or pain management is known as a nurse anesthetist. Many individuals are surprised to hear that nurses and doctors (anesthesiologists) deliver anesthetic services in the same manner for the same procedures in the same kinds of institutions. To ensure optimum practice for patients, the anesthesiologists work together to supervise the CRNAs.

According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), nurse anesthetists really provide the majority of direct patient care in anesthesia in the United States.

The profession of certified registered nurse anesthetists, or CRNAs, gained its origins during the Civil War when nurses were on the front lines treating wounded soldiers with chloroform. Today, they serve as the primary anesthesia providers for the men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces as well as almost all rural hospitals.

You can find a rewarding, in-demand career as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, but you must have specialized training and a superior education to pave the road for a future at the pinnacle of the nursing industry.

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A career Overview of a Nurse Anesthetist

On its list of the top 100 jobs in America for 2021 and its list of the Best Healthcare Jobs, U.S. News and World Report rated nurse anesthetists at #19 and #8, respectively. There are several reasons why RNs looking to further their careers as well as high school and college students are interested in this career path. To begin with, it’s quite gratifying to be aware that you’re contributing significantly to patient care. Additionally, the employment offers a good compensation and a good work-life balance.

Where can you find work?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there is an increasing need for nurse anesthetists around the country. Once you obtain your Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist license, you will be required in a variety of healthcare settings, including:

  • Hospitals for medicine and surgery
  • Enters outpatient treatment
  • Dental practices, plastic surgery clinics, pain management clinics, and other medical facilities
  • US military installations

How will your days at work be like?

Your day as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist will be varied and entertaining regardless of whether you choose to work in an intensive care unit (ICU) of a big urban hospital or a walk-in clinic in a small town in the United States. Typically, you’ll collaborate with doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, assistants, and other healthcare professionals.

You’ll be in charge of a variety of duties, such as taking care of patients while they are under anesthesia, intubating patients who may need it, monitoring their vital signs, giving them medication, controlling ventilators, or simply chatting to them and relieving their anxiety. What you will do as a nurse anesthetist is:

  • Prior to, during, and following surgery, provide patient care.
  • Before, during, and after labor and delivery, show pregnant women some consideration.
  • Take part in therapeutic and diagnostic procedures.
  • Offer critical care interventions and trauma stabilization.
  • Diagnose and treat both acute and chronic pain.

When you’re not actively taking care of your patients, you’ll be evaluating their medical histories, preparing the space where procedures will take place, and gathering the necessary medications. At the end of the day, you’ll know that you made a significant contribution to the advocacy and care of the patients you were in charge of.

How to become a crna

How much money can a Nurse Anesthetist make?

It’s crucial to enjoy your line of work. An added benefit is being recognized and properly compensated for your particular training and knowledge.

The average annual wage for a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $202,470 ($97.34 per hour).

* No matter where you live, becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist can be a very lucrative career choice. Of course, your pay will depend on what state you work in and the type of facility where you are employed. Find out all there is to know about the pay a nurse anesthetist receives.

There are many various types of nurses, and anesthesiology is one of the nursing fields with the highest salaries. Some students may be put off by the expense of a graduate degree, yet becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist can have a significant financial payoff.

Also Read: Grand Canyon University Scholarship

How to become a CRNA

1. Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and work as a registered nurse (BSN)

A registered nurse (RN) license and a master’s degree from a recognized MSN program with a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist program are prerequisites for becoming a nurse anesthetist. Although you can become an RN after receiving your associate’s degree in nursing, obtaining your BSN is a must for obtaining your master’s degree and becoming a CRNA.

Some BSN programs are designed primarily for students who are looking to the future and have advanced practice or specialized employment in mind.

2. Acquire expertise and work toward a master’s degree

You must obtain a master’s degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia program, which normally takes between 24 and 36 months to complete, after working in an ICU or the emergency room of a hospital or ambulatory center (often for 2+ years) (with a BSN as a prerequisite for enrollment). A significant portion of the coursework for many MSN programs can be finished online.

Your chosen curriculum will normally include local clinical practice where you’ll get to know a variety of anesthesia-related techniques.

The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs is the most well-known accreditation body (COA). The group bestows public recognition on nurse anesthesia programs and schools that give post-certificates, master’s master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees and adhere to high academic requirements that have been set nationally.

It can be difficult to get into recognized programs, so start learning about different options as soon as you can.

3. Pass the National Certification Exam after receiving your DNP or DNAP.

Your aptitude for practicing at an entry-level is determined by the NCE. A DNP or DNAP degree and an unencumbered RN license are prerequisites for taking this certification exam. The current test fee is $995; starting in January 2023, it will rise to $1,045. The 100–170 questions on this three-hour computer-adaptive exam cover topics in basic science, technology, equipment, instrumentation, anesthesia principles, and anesthesia for surgical procedures and special populations.

To use the title “nurse anesthetist,” you must have NBCRNA certification in all 50 states. Most states require Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist to hold APRN licenses as well. The scope of practice and level of supervision for CRNAs are set by each state’s board of nursing.

4. Obtain a Nurse Anesthetist certification.

Passing the National Certification Examination (NCE), administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists, is the final requirement for becoming a nurse anesthetist (NBCRNA).

According to the NBCRNA, 84% of students pass the exam on their first attempt. You must recertify every four years through the Continued Professional Certification (CPC) Program. Exam videos and practice tests are available on the NBRCNA website to aid with your preparation.

5. Become a nurse anesthetist to begin a fulfilling career.

There is a clear path to follow that can lead to a fulfilling career as a nurse anesthetist, no matter where you are in your academic and professional life. If you haven’t already, you should first obtain a bachelor’s degree from a reputable nursing school that is CCNE-accredited.

How to become a crna

FAQs about Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

How many hours a day do CRNAs work?

Typically, a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) works two shifts of 24 hours each every week. A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) may work 8 or 12-hour shifts in various situations, but 24-hour hours are also typical.

How much time is required to become a CRNA?

You will need to go through a number of steps to become a CRNA, which will take you seven to eight years to finish. A registered nursing license and prior experience working in acute care are prerequisites for admission to a CRNA program.

What is the quickest route to CRNA status?

This depends on a number of variables, including the quantity of transferable college credits that have already been obtained. Compared to RNs who already possess an ADN degree, prospective CRNAs who are entering nursing with a bachelor's in a non-nursing discipline will need more time to finish all educational requirements.

Who is paid more: NPs or CRNAs?

CRNAs and NPs both frequently make competitive wages because they have senior healthcare jobs. The most lucrative professional route is becoming a CRNA. Nurse practitioners make an average of $113,484 per year, while certified registered nurse anesthetists make an average of $176,509 per year.


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