Who are CRNAs?

Nurse Anesthesia; no longer the best kept secret in health care.
Established in the late 1800′s as the first clinical nursing specialty, nurse anesthesia developed in response to the growing need surgeons had for anesthetists. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), have played significant roles in developing the practice of anesthesia. Today, more than 27,000 CRNAs provide cost-effective, quality patient care that is essential to America’s health care system.

Meeting the needs of tomorrow

CRNAs have a proud history of meeting the challenges of changing health care trends. The recent acceleration of managed health care services will provide additional opportunities and new challenges for these advanced practice nurses. CRNAs will continue to be recognized as anesthesia specialists providing safe patient care.

How do CRNAs impact health care?

As anesthesia specialists, CRNAs administer approximately 65% of the 26 million anesthetics given to patients in the U.S. each year. As advanced practice nurses, CRNAs can serve in a variety of capacities in their daily practice, such as clinician, educator, administrator, manager and researcher.

CRNAs administer anesthesia for all types of surgical cases, using all anesthetic techniques and practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered, from university-based medical centers to free-standing surgical facilities.

CRNA’s are the sole anesthesia providers in more than 70% of rural hospitals in the United States, affording some 70 million rural Americans access to anesthesia. CRNAs provide a significant amount of the anesthesia in inner cities as well.

CRNA’s are qualified and permitted by state law or regulations to practice in every state of the nation.

CRNA’s provide safe, effective anesthesia services for millions of patients each year.

What is the role of the individual CRNA?

Nurse anesthetists, pioneers in anesthesia, have been administering anesthesia for more than 100 years. As anesthesia specialists, CRNAs take care of patients before, during and after surgical or obstetrical procedures. The nurse anesthetist stays with you for the entire procedure, constantly monitoring every important function of your body and individually modifying your anesthetic to ensure your maximum safety and comfort.

Basic requirements for CRNAs?

The education and experience required to become a CRNA include:

  1. A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or other appropriate baccalaureate degree.
  2. A current license as a registered nurse.
  3. At least one year’s experience in an acute care nursing setting.
  4. Graduation from an accredited school of nurse anesthesia educational program ranging from 24-36 months, depending upon university requirements. These programs offer a graduate degree and include clinical training in university-based or large community hospitals.
  5. Pass a national certification examination following graduation, and complete a continuing education and recertification program every two years thereafter.

Anesthesia safer than ever

Statistics show that anesthesia today is safer and more effective than ever before. New technologies, extensive specialty training and high professional standards have made the administration of anesthesia one of the safest aspects of a surgical or obstetrical procedure.

The nature of anesthesia requires the constant vigilance of the anesthesia provider. Vigilance has been the hallmark of nurse anesthesia practice since the profession’s creation.

For more information about nurse anesthesia and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists contact: info@aana.com

Excerpted from AANA Information
© 1999 American Association of Nurse Anesthetists