Anesthesiology Nurse Information
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are anesthesia specialists
who administer approximately 65% of the 26 million anesthetics given to
patients each year in the United States. CRNAs are the sole anesthesia
providers in approximately 50% of all hospitals and nearly 70% of the rural
hospitals in the United States. CRNAs provide anesthetics to patients in
collaboration with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists and
other qualified healthcare professionals. When anesthesia is administered by
a nurse anesthetist, it is recognized as the practice of nursing; when
administered by an anesthesiologist, it is recognized as the practice of
medicine. Managed care plans recognize CRNAs for providing high-quality
anesthesia care with reduced expense to patients and insurance companies.
The cost-efficiency of CRNAs helps keep escalating medical costs down.
Legislation passed by Congress in 1986 made nurse anesthetists the first
nursing specialty to be accorded direct reimbursement rights under the
Medicare program. A total of 45% of the nation's 28,000 CRNAs are men,
versus approximately 5% in the nursing profession as a whole.
The advanced nursing profession of nurse anesthesia requires a bachelor's
degree in nursing and a master's degree in nurse anesthesia. A PhD also is
available. Certification is granted via examination by an accredited
educational facility, and recertification is required every two years.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are licensed professional
registered nurses who have obtained, through additional education and
successful completion of a national examination, certification as anesthesia
nursing specialists. CRNAs are qualified to make independent judgments
relative to all aspects of anesthesia care, based on their education,
licensure, and certification. The practice of anesthesiology by nurses has
been recognized by the courts as the practice of nursing since 1917. CRNAs
provide anesthesia and anesthesia-related care upon request, assignment, or
referral by a patient's physician (or other healthcare professionals
authorized by law), most often to facilitate diagnostic, therapeutic or
CRNAs practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered:
As advanced practice nurses, CRNAs practice with a high degree of autonomy and
professional respect. They carry a heavy load of responsibility and are
compensated accordingly; the average annual income for a CRNA in 1998 was
approximately $94,000 based on the AANA Membership Survey.
- Traditional hospital surgical
- Obstetrical delivery rooms
- Dentist offices
- Podiatrist offices
- Ophthalmologist offices
- Plastic surgeon offices
- Ambulatory Surgical Centers
- U.S. Military facilities
- Public health service facilities
- Veterans Administration medical facilities
Education and experience required to become a CRNA
- A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or other
appropriate baccalaureate degree.
- A current license as a registered nurse.
- At least one year's experience in an acute care nursing
- Graduation from an accredited school of nurse anesthesia
educational program ranging from 24-36 months, depending on university
requirements. These programs offer a graduate degree and include clinical
training in university-based or large-community hospitals.
- Pass a national certification examination following