5 Tips: How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist

If you are curious as to how to become a nurse anesthetist, you are delving into one of the most exciting and challenging specialties in the nursing profession. The primary focus of this job involves administering anesthesia to patients and monitoring their responses before, during and after surgery. As you consider this career choice, it is best to first find out all you can about it to see if you would be a good fit. Once you decide whether the field is right for you, the preparation can begin.

Shadow a Nurse Anesthetist

Given that there are many preconceived notions regarding nurse anesthetists, you should first test the waters to see if reality matches up with fantasy. If you are able to shadow a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) for at least a complete day, you can get a strong sense of what the job is like. Make sure to observe everything that happens and ask questions. Before you start working on your credentials, take this initial step to determine whether the career is right for you.

Evaluate Your Personal Qualities

Examine yourself to see if you have the characteristics that are desired in a CRNA. To be a nurse, you must be a critical thinker who is patient and compassionate and can communicate clearly. Moreover, because of the critical nature of this anesthesia-related specialty, you should be cool under pressure and be able to act decisively. Your role will often entail working alone, so you must be independent. Remember, too, that you should be comfortable handling needles and working with technical machinery.

Prepare for Study

You should be prepared to accommodate new class schedules as well as study time required by your new curriculum. Take an inventory of all your needs, such as finances, childcare and transportation. Explore your resources and make all the necessary arrangements. Most importantly, you should strive to remain disciplined and organized throughout the education process.

Obtain Your Credentials

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists lists the credentials required to become a CRNA. You must complete a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program, obtain licensure as a registered nurse and work a minimum of one year in an acute care field, such as an intensive care unit or emergency room. Also involved is the completion of an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program and passing of the national certification examination.

Look Forward to a Bright Future

During your years of preparation to become a CRNA, you can look forward to enjoying a comfortable salary; in fact, nurse anesthetists are among the highest-paid of all nursing professions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May of 2012, the national mean annual salary of members of this field was $154,390.

Six years of required study and one year of relevant experience are required to become a nurse anesthetist. All the time and effort invested in how to become a nurse anesthetist will be well worth it. Before you know it, you will be finished with your education and ready to embark on a wonderful career in nursing.

Photo Source: Flickr

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Tags: LPN, nursing

Mary West

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