Working as a nurse anesthetist can be quite rewarding. The career offers a high degree of personal satisfaction, it benefits others, and the salary can be relatively generous. Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) often do similar work as anesthesiologists, from giving local and general anesthetics. Performing epidural, spinal and nerve blocks, and facilitating patient pain management.
As you might expect, nurse anesthetists are specialists who must complete extra classwork in order to enter the field, which includes an accredited program in administering anesthetics, followed by certification in the specialization.
To get to that point, aspiring nurse anesthetists must complete six key steps. The first is to become an RN (registered nurse) and earn a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). As with all RNs, they next must pass the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensing Exam for registered nurses) and obtain their state license. Then they need to gain experience – a minimum of one year’s worth of professional, hands-on experience in critical care nursing.
Next, an RN must earn a master’s degree in nurse anesthesia, which requires at least 27 months of full-time study, including multiple supervised clinical experiences. Masters graduates from an accredited program who have an unrestricted RN license then must pass the National Certification Exam to become a CRNA and obtain a specialty anesthetist license in certain states. Once these five steps are completed, CRNAs can apply for a job as a nurse anesthetist and gain as much experience as possible if they wish to advance into a leadership CRNA position.
Remember, the first step is to become an RN and get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Fortis offers an Associate Degree in Nursing program at select campuses across the United States, along with an online RN-BSN program through its affiliated Denver College of Nursing. These programs can start candidates on their path to becoming a CRNA and all that the career brings.
Visit our Associate Degree in Nursing page and our affiliate, Denver College of Nursing's page to learn more.