How To Become A Nurse Anesthetist

How To Become A Nurse Anesthetist: Explained With Step-by-Step Guide

If you have already obtained an associate or bachelor’s degree in any nursing field, you must look forward to completing a masters degree in nurse anesthetist certification to be able practice as a pro. The reason why Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) should be on your cards is basically the career and growth potential this offers.  The role of a nurse anesthetist is to provide anesthetics administration to patients in post-surgical care. According to a survey report conducted by CNN in 2010, nurse anesthetists were found to be one of the 20 highest paid-workers alone in the US. Even if you are not US-based, the career prospects in terms of salary and growth are equally high elsewhere too.

Get a Bachelor Nursing Science Degree First

You must have a bachelor science degree in nursing (BSN). If you don’t have, the pre-requisite might be RN-to-BSN program with 2 years study. The bachelor of science in nursing usually include coursework subjects such as health assessment fundamentals, pharmacology, pathophysiology, psychology etc. If you are aiming to enroll in nurse anesthetist program, please keep in mind that maintaining a GPA of 3.0 is a must. Work hard to get good grades.

Be Licensed As A Registered Nurse

In the US, all states require aspiring nurse anesthetists to be licensed as registered nurses.  For that matter, you will need to pass National Council Licensing Exam for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) to have the status of a registered nurse. Some states may have additional requirements for licensure though. Secondly, your RN license has to be in good standing before applying for nurse anesthetist program.  

Gain Experience In Clinical Care Setting

The pre-requisite for masters degree program in nurse anesthetist is at least one year of experience in clinical care setting. If you are already an RN, you should look forward to practicing in either of these clinical settings: Cardiac Unit (CCU), Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU). The most general requirements are RN license and  1,750 hours of work experience in the abovementioned care units.

Get Masters Degree in Nurse Anesthesia

Now that you have applied and sought admission into a Nurse Anesthesia program, it will take full-attendance 27-months to complete masters. During this course of studies, you will learn how to operate anesthesia equipment and deal with emergency situations in the critical care units. The coursework usually involves topics ranging from anesthesia pathophysiology, pharmacology, biochemistry and pain management.  
To Become A Nurse Anesthetist Guide
Start Your Practice As Nurse Anesthetist

Get the CRNA credential and keep your RN license valid to start practicing as a nurse anesthetist. Take National Certification Exam (NCE) exam held under the auspices of National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) and you are off to a lucrative career.  

Is Nurse Anesthetist Program Worth It?

Yes it is. With some general downsides like any other professional discipline such as night-time and often rotational work shifts, standing most of the time to assist the ailing patients, the career is overall worth going for. In terms of salary, you will be unbeaten compared to other nurse professionals. You will earn a salary 158,900 per year higher than many white-collar and professional jobs out there.  Not an underpaid profession for sure.

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