CRNA Job Description
A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist career is one of the fastest growing jobs in the health care job market today. A CRNA is responsible for the administration of anesthesia to patients when they are in need of intensive care. A CRNA delivers anesthesia in the exact same way as an anesthesiologist. Sometimes a CRNA is required by law to work in tandem with an anesthesiologist or another medical doctor, but typically this position enjoys a very high level of autonomy. Due to this autonomy, a CRNA is held to very high standards of education and job conduct.
CRNA Duties and Responsibilities
CRNA qualification is rigorous, and the responsibility that a CRNA carries is large. The CRNA is solely responsible for managing the distribution of anesthesia, a very powerful sedative. The nurse must understand medical complications associated with the use of anesthesia and how to correct them. A CRNA is responsible for monitoring the well being of the patient while under anesthesia to insure no complications arise. Other CRNA duties include: maintaining medical charts, collaborating with a team of health care professionals, including surgeons and primary care doctors, on the patients’ condition, providing post operative patient care and evaluation, and assisting in the training of other medical personnel in CPR, anesthesia and respiratory care.
CRNA Work Environment
Being able to work in a variety of different environments is part of the nurse anesthetist job description. Some of the most common placements for a CRNA are in a traditional hospital setting, ambulatory surgery centers, and for the U.S. Military. Today, approximately two thirds of anesthetics administered in rural hospitals are given by nurse anesthetists. They also play a critical role for the U.S. Military, as they are often the only licensed independent anesthesia practitioners at many military facilities. A CRNA may also find employment at: dental clinics, podiatrists’ offices, delivery suites of an obstetric ward, ophthamologists’ offices, plastic surgery offices and for the U.S. Department of Public Health.
CRNA skills will grant a nurse employment in both the public and the private sector. Currently, the most job openings for beginning CRNA careers are in rural hospitals or with the U.S. Military. Health care facilities often find that it is less costly to hire a CRNA versus an anesthesiologist, so hospitals with a smaller budget or military facilities find that hiring a CRNA is the most cost effective solution.
There are thousands of opportunities for those wanting to become a CRNA. There is a nationwide nursing shortage currently that has left openings for those with the CRNA qualification to fill. As mentioned previously, hospital settings in rural areas or in poorer, inner city neighborhoods are desperate for high quality care. Also, as the U.S. Military presence overseas continues to expand, the demand for nurse anesthetists is increasing. Finally, for those who have some anesthesia experience, there is an emerging market to train and educate students of anesthesiology. The average salary for a CRNA is approximately $163,000 per year.