CRNA Jobs – Nurse Anesthetist Career Guide

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Position Company Location Posted
CRNA
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Plexus Management GroupWestwood, Massachusetts, United States26/09/2022
CRNA
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Provider Solutions and DevelopmentSalem, Massachusetts, United States29/08/2022
CRNA
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Provider Solutions and DevelopmentSpokane, Washington, United States20/09/2022
CRNA
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Envision HealthcareOakland, California, United States16/09/2022
CRNA
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Beacon Medical GroupElkhart, Indiana, United States14/06/2022
CRNA
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Tidal HealthSalisbury, Maryland, United States13/09/2022
CRNA
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Provider Solutions and DevelopmentBoston, Massachusetts, United States06/09/2022
CRNA
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Envision HealthcareFolsom, California, United States03/09/2022
CRNA - EMPLOYED OR CONTRACT
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UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER OF EL PASOEl Paso, Texas, United States22/09/2022
Cleveland Clinic Indian River CRNA - NEWLY ADJUSTED COMP & SIGN ON BONUS! FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE!
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Cleveland Clinic Indian River HospitalVero Beach, Florida, United States16/09/2022

What Does a CRNA Do?

A CRNA or Nurse Anesthetist is an advanced nursing position. These practitioners are responsible for administering anesthesia to patients before a surgery or medical procedure.

Before their patient’s operation, it’s the CRNA’s job to meet with them. The Nurse Anesthetist will interview them to learn about their medical history. They will also complete a physical exam. Based on this information, they will help create a custom anesthesia treatment plan for the patient.

While they’re speaking to the patient, the CRNA will address any of the person’s concerns about their upcoming procedure. During the patient’s operation, they will help monitor their vital signs, wake them up post-operation, and take them to their recovery room.

Some of these Nurses work independently, while others work in tandem with an Anesthesiologist. Their level of supervision and the tasks they’re allowed to complete depends on both their level of training, their workplace’s rules, and which state they work in.

In some states, CRNAs can prescribe anesthesia and certain medications and in others, they must be supervised by or consult with an Anesthesiologist no matter what medical activity they are completing. Check out page 19 of this resource the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) created for a state-by-state permissions breakdown.

Before pursuing this field, make sure you know what is and isn’t allowed for the state you’re planning to work in.

What is a CRNA Responsible For?

The tasks Nurse Anesthetists are responsible for differs by state and can also vary depending on where they’re employed. While they may be prohibited from some of these tasks, CRNAs can expect to perform a majority of the following job duties.

Here’s what a CRNA can expect to be responsible for in their role:

  • Obtaining a patient’s informed consent: Before a patient’s surgery or they start a pain management plan, CRNAs are responsible for getting their informed consent. This is a legal document that either the patient or their legal guardian signs that explains the medicine’s benefits and any risks associated with it.
  • Choosing and giving anesthesia medication before and during an operation: This may be supervised by an Anesthesiologist, or the CRNA may be able to do this alone.
  • Determining the method of patient monitoring: Depending on what kind of surgery the person is undergoing, they may require either an invasive or noninvasive modality. No matter which method is needed, the CRNA is responsible for setting it up and monitoring the patient’s hemodynamic status.
  • Overseeing the patient’s post-operative recovery and hospital discharge: CRNAs will continue to monitor their patient’s condition as they wake up from the anesthesia. They are also the individual who is tasked with taking the patient to the post-anesthesia care area (PACU) once they’re stable enough to transport.

In the PACU, the Nurse Anesthetist will direct the other members of the medical team with how to care for the recovering patient. When the patient has awoken and stabilized, the CRNA is responsible for giving them permission to leave. The Nurse Anesthetist will also give the patient and their loved ones information about at-home care.

  • Give pain management plan assessments: If a CRNA has a patient who requires a pain management for their medical condition, they will interview the person to determine the best pain management strategy. This is often completed alongside an Anesthesiologist or another medical professional.
  • Provide patient pain relief: If a patient under their care is experiencing extreme pain, the CRNA will help relieve it. This could be through medication or another multimodal approach. If they’re a part of an obstetric unit, the CRNA will be the one giving anesthesia and analgesia to the person giving birth. After giving treating the person’s pain, the Nurse will monitor the patient’s condition and manage any side effects from the medication.
  • Give emergency care including resuscitation: Being a CRNA sometimes means being a part of a critical care team for an unstable patient. Depending on the person’s condition, the CRNA may been to help with resuscitation efforts as well.
  • Educate peers and students: Depending on where a CRNA is employed, they may share information about the field of anesthesia, including information about new or updated techniques. If they are working in a teaching environment, they would be responsible for training Nurse Anesthesia students during their practicums.

Where Does a CRNA Work?

CRNAs can find work in any setting that anesthesia is being regularly used.

Here’s a breakdown of their most common workplaces:

  • Doctor’s offices; 47% of CRNAs work in this setting
  • Hospitals, specifically within surgical or medical units; 27% of CRNAs are employed in places like this
  • Outpatient healthcare centers; 8% of CRNAs work somewhere like this
  • Colleges and universities; 4% of CRNAs are based in this educational setting
  • Offices of other types of healthcare professionals; 3% of CRNAs choose this workplace

Besides these locations, CRNAs can also find employment in the military or another type of government setting. Others are self-employed and have a private practice or work as a part of a private independent practice.

What Career Options are Available to a CRNA?

Training to become a CRNA means taking a job with this title, but their role differs based on where they are employed.

For CRNAs working in doctor’s offices, they are the ones who are interview patients about their pain management needs. These are determined by their medical condition and personal history. They work as a part of a healthcare team alongside doctors and other staff to develop a detailed treatment plan.

These Nurse Anesthetists may be in gastroenterology and giving anesthesia for someone’s colonoscopy. They could work at a gynecological office to sedate patients before a painful procedure or for a dentist as the person getting the patient numb before dental work.

Depending on their state laws, they may be allowed to prescribe pain medication or if they don’t think medication is needed for treatment, they may also give a patient a referral to another specialist.

Nurse Anesthetists in hospitals are also part of a pain management team. These CRNAs help a patient’s recovery after surgery and assist others in lowering their pain level. They may also work in an operating room during a planned procedure or during a critical care situation.

As a CRNA in an outpatient setting, they are responsible for monitoring and managing patients who are receiving same-day operations. This means they will return home after their surgery. If there’s an emergency, the CRNA is responsible for airway management and resuscitation.

CRNAs who work at a college or university are teaching the next generation of CRNAs about the profession and how to excel within it. They are involved with creating curriculum and devising the best methods to educate their students. These Nurses are educators who are responsible for ensuring their students are proficient in their medical field.

There are some CRNAs who may be employed in a health practitioner’s office, as opposed to a regular physician’s office. This could be working with a physical therapist, massage therapist, or even for a chiropractor. In this type of role, a CRNA ensure the patient is getting the care they need.

Besides these roles, CRNAs may find a job in a rural area or in a developing country. In this type of job, they may be the only one qualified to provide anesthesiologic care to patients.

What Degree is Required to Become a CRNA? What Do They Study?

The first step to becoming a CRNA is earning either a bachelor’s or associate degree in nursing. This will take 2-4 years, depending on which type of degree the prospective CRNA selects.

To become a registered nurse, the student will need to take the National Council Licensure Examination for RNs (NCLEX-RN). The NCLEX-RN is a computer-based exam that takes about six hours to complete. In the test, student’s understanding of health conditions and treatments, nursing practice, the healthcare system, their role in a healthcare team, and patient communications will be checked.

When they’ve passed the NCLEX-RN, prospective CRNAs will also need to meet any remaining state requirements for nurses. With these finished, they will become a licensed nurse.

Before they can apply for a graduate nursing program to earn their license to practice nursing anesthesia, they are required to work 1-3 years in an intensive or critical care unit. Most graduate schools require this practical experience as a part of their entrance requirements.

When they’ve finished their practical work experience, the prospective CRNA can apply to a graduate Nurse Anesthesia program. As of 2022, the RNs are required to earn a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) or doctor of nurse anesthesia practice (DNAP) to be a licensed CRNA.

Once they’ve received either a DNP or DNAP, the CRNA needs to get certified through the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetist (NBCRNA). To receive this credential, the CRNA will take another computer-based exam. This time they’re tested on pharmacology, types of anesthesia, how to administer anesthesia, and how to manage patient complications.

After they’ve received NBCRNA certification, CRNAs will need to finish any state-specific Nurse Anesthesia licensing requirements. Once these are completed, they will be a fully licensed CRNA and ready to start practicing.

What Skills are Required for a CRNA?

Being a CRNA means being an expert at a number of advanced technical skills that are outside the scope of an RN. Some of the required skills are arterial line placement, tracheal intubation, spinals, and epidurals.

CRNAs should also have knowledge and experience in:

  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
  • Airway management
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Critical care
  • Pain management
  • Patient care
  • Postoperative care
  • Surgery
  • Teaching

How Much Money Does a CRNA Earn?

A CRNA can expect to make between $179,460 and $208,870, though this range differs based on their years of experience. On average, a seasoned CRNA can earn $193,160 per year.

With additional training and certifications, CRNAs can increase their earning potential.

Where are CRNAs in Demand?

CRNAs are in a profession with high demand. Since they have doctorates and specialized training that’s useful in almost all aspects of healthcare, they are in a good position to find a well-paying job.

Their industry is projected to grow by 31% by 2026 — which is more than 4x compared to the average occupational growth rate.

The top five states with the largest number of CRNA roles are:

  • Washington: 4,261 CRNAs
  • Minnesota: 3,305 CRNAs
  • Oregon: 2,571 CRNAs
  • Mississippi: 1,534 CRNAs
  • Maine: 1,266 CRNAs