January 21st-27th marks National Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Week. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) uses this time to say thank you to the more than 52,000 CRNAs across the country who deliver services to almost 43 million patients each year and also to educate everyone from patients to policymakers on this advanced credential. The theme this year is, “Every Breath, Every Beat, Every Second: We Are There,” to commemorate the dedication these professionals have had for over 150 years in the field.
This specialized credentialing requires 8 ½ years of education and 8,600 hours of clinical training due to the vast responsibilities of the job, from providing anesthesia and analgesia to monitoring a patient’s vitals throughout the remainder of the procedure. CRNAs are well-trained for labor and delivery, trauma stabilization, pain management, and so many other scenarios. After completing a graduate-level education from a nationally accredited program, CRNAs are required to pass the national certifying exam, which will allow them to practice in all 50 states. There is also an optional sub-specialty certification delving into areas of nonsurgical pain management (NSPM-C).
CRNAs have been the main providers of anesthesia to military personnel on the front lines as early as World War I, and in rural America, CRNAs are often the sole providers of anesthesia, allowing underserved communities to receive necessary medical services. Even with escalating health care costs, CRNAs are recognized under managed care plans to ensure patients in all settings get high-quality anesthesia at reduced expenses. This is an area of medicine that has been continually improving and is considered 50 times safer than it was in the 1980s.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that this is a career on the rise and estimates a growth of 19% continuing on to 2024. There is also never a shortage of jobs due to the career flexibility and high demand for this position. If you’re interested in advancing your career with a special focus on anesthesia, check out the Council of Accreditation’s list of official programs. The median salary for CRNAs in May 2016 alone was over $160,000, making this a challenging, yet worthwhile career move.
Visit the AANA website for a CRNA calendar of events, including continuing education credits and seminars all over the country.
How is your workplace celebrating National CRNA Week? Are you considering taking a career plunge into advancing your areas of expertise? Share your story on our Facebook page or in the comments section below!