01 May How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist
Providing anesthesia or administering anesthesia to patients to reduce their pain is one of the most important jobs in the medical field. This job requires plenty of skill, experience and patience. Ideally, a registered nurse who has an expertise in administering and providing anesthesia to patients before the medical procedure starts and after is called a Certified Registered Nurse anesthetist (CRNA). There is a great demand for CRNA professionals in various places like hospitals, health centers, in the offices of dentists and private doctors and military health centers.
Usually, the dosage of anesthesia, administered to patients depends upon the degree of pain a patient experiences and also depends upon the type of medical procedure. For example, a patient with a tooth problem may require a very little amount of anesthesia to be injected in to his gum and the nurse would be able to administer this little amount of anesthesia with the help of the needle itself. Whereas, in the case of a major operation, a patient may be required to inhale an appropriate amount of anesthesia in the gaseous form. This job is done carefully by the nurse anesthetist. This form of anesthesia, which essentially constitutes of nitrous oxide, is administered to the patients to prevent pain and provide sedation during the surgical process.
The role of the nurse anesthetist just does not end with administering anesthesia. These nurses are required to strictly monitor the patients before administering anesthesia and after. This is done in order to ensure the safety of the patients and to mainly prevent overdosing or under dosing.
In certain medical surgeries, the patients have to be administered continuous anesthesia and therefore the nurse anesthetist is required to work along with the surgeons inside the operation theater. Even after the surgery is over, the nurses need to ensure that the patient is looked after well and if necessary, administer anesthesia in case the patient experiences pain. At times, when they are not performing their nurse anesthetist duties, the nurse performs the retinue functions of a registered nurse.
The work environment for a person who has chosen a career in nursing anesthesia will vary widely depending upon where that person has accepted a job. Hospital environments can range from fast-paced and hectic with twelve hour or longer shifts. Private nursing anesthetists may end up working in homes of elderly or handicap people who need private nursing care. Nursing homes offer a quiet environment on a less stressful schedule than a hospital will offer. Cancer centers and other medical clinics have professional, focused, and busy work environments which require attention to detail and commitment.
Anyone who excels in science and has a love for medicine and likes to help heal people will find this career a rewarding and uplifting career which will be physically and mentally challenging. Nurse anesthetist schools are numerous and available to anyone with a good grade point average in previous courses.
How to become a nurse anesthetist?
In order to pursue a career as a certified registered nurse anesthetist, there are certain qualifications to be acquired. First and foremost, an individual is required to receive a master’s degree in either anesthesia or nursing. In addition to acquiring a degree, he or she must have passed a certification test that is nationally accredited, should have practiced in a hospital as a nurse for at least a year and should have a license for practicing as a registered nurse. Prior to enrolling for a masters program in anesthesia, he or she must have successfully completed the bachelors degree in nursing which usually takes around four years to complete. The masters program usually takes around two years to complete and in certain cases may extend up to three years. In the masters program, students receive in depth training in anesthetist functions as well as general nursing duties. All these skills are imparted through proper practical and classroom training. CRNAs receive much higher salaries compared to registered nurses.
Nursing anesthetist schools are located across the country and the majority of these institutions have financial aid, federal grants, and scholarship programs available. A person who graduates from a nursing anesthetist school will then take a test to become licensed as a nurse anesthetist. A nurse anesthetist will be qualified to work in private clinics, hospitals, cancer centers, emergency care clinics, and as private nurses who can administer anesthesia. Though often a challenging and demanding career, the possibility for advancement and continuing education is extremely high. Nurses of this caliber with this particular license will have a wide selection of career paths to choose from and will enjoy a rewarding, well-paying nursing career.
Nurse Anesthetist Education Requirements
Nursing students who are interested in pursuing an advanced degree to obtain a license to administer anesthesia should take advanced biology, physiology, and advanced chemistry courses. These courses will provide a strong foundation for the specified classes required by the nursing anesthesia program. Principles of anesthesia are another course which will be required by many schools offering this program.
Nurse Anesthetist Salary
Though nursing anesthetists will put in long hours, be required to complete extensive education, and will have a large load of duty and responsibility, the monetary rewards are substantial. Starting nursing anesthetists start out their careers making $100,000 up to $150,000 depending upon which type of institution or private practice they choose to work at. Location also will be a deciding factor in the salary of someone in this field. Metropolitan areas pay more than rural areas, but the cost of living is also higher within the metro areas.