What is a CRNA
A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is an advanced practiced registered nurse (APRN), who is qualified to deliver the same anesthesia services as an anesthesiologist (MDA). For over 150 years, CRNAs have been providing anesthesia care all over the the United States, and are nationally certified to work in all 50 states.
A survey done in 2011, by the American Nurses Association, showed that 3 out of 4 nurses stated that stress and overwork was a top health concern. The ANA suggests that the problems of fatigue, stress, and burnout are due to “a chronic nursing shortage.” Nurses in the United States often work 12-hour shifts over a period of a three days. Research has shown that nurses who put in more than 8 to 9 hours per shift were two-and-a-half times more likely to experience fatigue and burnout. Demanding work schedules and lack of adequate staffing have forced nurses to start considering alternatives in their nursing careers.
Nurse Anesthesia has always been a popular career choice for nurses looking to further their education. People are always wanting to know how to get admission into anesthesia school. However, in recent years it has become even more alluring, because nurses are looking for a less demanding work schedule. CRNAs can have a wide range of shifts, which may or may not include taking call. Most CRNAs work 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM each day of the week, and enjoy weekends off. Another appealing aspect about being nurse anesthesia is that the job is less physically demanding than a ICU or Medsurg would experience on a routine basis. This increases the longevity of your career and decreases certain health risk such as back injuries.
CRNA Are the Highest Paid Advanced Practice Nurses
On average, a CRNA will make 2-3 times more per year than a registered nurse working in a hospital. A study was done by Merritt Hawkins & Associates, and it showed that the average CRNA salary in 2009 was $189,000, which is $91.00 per hour (40 hour work week). It is interesting to know that many Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists choose to work extra and make upwards of $250,000 per year. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that in 2014 the median salary for a registered nurse was $69,790. If you calculate the hourly earnings (40 hour work week), that comes out to $33.55 per hour. You can start to see why nurses are starting to research how to become a nurse anesthetist, and choosing the higher paying nursing specialties, especially with the uncertainty of todays economy. Many nurses have lost a good portion of their retirement due to the economic recession, and are looking towards nurse anesthesia to help secure them financially. Income should never be the sole reason for choosing a career. Anyone considering becoming a nurse anesthetist needs to have a passion for the career and not let financial gain be their only motivational incentive.
CRNAs Get to do Some Pretty Cool Stuff
One of the greatest parts about being a nurse anesthetist is the hands-on technical skills that we get to use on a daily basis. This includes intubations, placing arterial lines, central lines, spinals, epidurals, and many other exciting things that come with being a CRNA. There are a lot of times when we are called to ICU or the ER to do a stat intubation. This is always exciting, and I can honestly say that I am never bored with my job. The great part is that there is always something going on, such as a interesting surgical case, new airway device to use, or emergency surgery that you get to take care of. The point is that this is a fun career. I have always been eager to learn, and that is another reason why I was drawn to become CRNA. While working as a nurse in ICU, I acquired my CCRN to help further my clinical knowledge and understanding of the human body. This passion continued on, and once nurse anesthesia school started, I was introduced to advanced pharmacology, anatomy/physiology, chemistry, and other anesthesia related courses. A lot of nurses have this same passion to learn, and they know that CRNA school is a great way to further their education. It is a great sense of accomplishment when yo graduate from CRNA school, because you see how much you have learned and how far you have come.
Never Met a CRNA Who Didn’t Love Their Job
Its true, CRNAs love their job! It is hard to get burned out doing something you love. The overall moral among the anesthesia team is amazing. No matter what hospital you go to, or which CRNA you ask, they will all tell you that becoming a CRNA was the best decision that they have ever made. If you are looking for a career that is fulfilling, and you enjoy doing everyday, I encourage you to consider becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Easier working conditions, higher pay, more autonomy are just a few reason why nurses are choosing to become nurse anesthetists. If you would like a detailed overview of all the top CRNA schools please checkout our CRNA School Search page in the link below.
School Search: Top CRNA Schools
How to Get Into Top CRNA Schools
For more information on top CRNA schools and their application requirements please feel free to checkout our article: “Application Requirements for Top Nurse Anesthesia Programs”. We also have a nurse anesthesia career guide called CRNA School Admissions: The Cold Hard Facts which will explain the application process, and give you all the tips and strategies that current CRNA students used to get accepted in CRNA school.
John Keith | CRNA Career Pro
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