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Nurse Anesthetist

What is a Nurse Anesthetist?

A Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is an advanced nursing position that involves providing anesthetic to patients during obstetrical, trauma, or surgical procedures.  This can include nursing jobs with dentists, surgeons, anesthesiologists, plastic surgeons, and other health care professionals.  They may work in a hospital or medical office setting.  This field of nursing is very specialized and practitioners are given a great deal of autonomy within their field.  In many rural hospitals, anesthesia is primarily administered by CRNAs.  It’s an advanced form of nursing and one of the highest paid nursing jobs in the field. 

In terms of finding CRNA jobs, the prospects are positive.  Based on information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this is a growing field with a significant demand for CRNAs. 

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How to Become A Nurse Anesthetist

A CRNA is an advanced practice nurse (APN) that has a masters of science nursing degree.   This is essentially a specialized nurse practitioner position. The pathway to this career involves first obtaining your RN (registered nurse).  Registered Nurse programs are available through associate or bachelor of science in nursing programs.  (ASN or BSN).  When finished with your nursing diploma, the NCLEX-RN exam will enable you to start working as a registered nurse.  Once you’ve completed your RN and bachelor’s degree program, you’ll apply for masters/graduate nurse anesthetist school programs.  Although you can obtain your RN through an associates nursing program, be aware that you will also need a bachelor’s nursing degree (BSN) to get into MSN programs.  Bridge RN-to-BSN programs are available to individuals who already hold an RN.  In a bridge program, credits from your ASN are applied to your BSN program.  This pathway takes a little longer than going straight through a bachelor’s program, but it does allow you to start working as an RN during your bachelor’s work, obtaining your mandatory work experience for the masters. 

To get into most CRNA programs, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) and a current RN nursing license.  To get into nurse anesthesia schools, you’ll need a solid GPA from your undergraduate programs as well as coursework experience in research, chemistry, anatomy, and statistics.  An academic letter of recommendation may be required in addition to a professional reference.  1-2 years professional experience in the nursing field may also be required.

Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) programs are available throughout the country.  Here are some of the top Nurse Anesthetist Schools according to U.S. News & World Report:
Virginia Commonwealth University, Rush University, University of Pittsburgh, Baylor College of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Albany Medical College, Cleveland Clinic Foundation – Case Western Reserve University, Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, Case Western Reserve University, Duke University, Samuel Merritt University, University of Iowa, University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Oakland University – Beaumont, University of Maryland – Baltimore, and Wayne State University. 

Online RN programs are widely available and a great option for basic nursing classes such as chemistry, psychology, nutrition, pharmacology, microbiology, and others like these.  Many individuals find online nursing schools an excellent resource in getting through school while they work.  With a flexible study schedule and less time commuting, it’s possible to get through school while obtaining those mandatory work hours that are necessary for your graduate nursing program.  Top online nursing schools programs are offered through East Carolina University, medical University of South Carolina, Texas Christian University, University of Delaware, University of Texas – Tyler, University of Nevada – Las Vegas, as well as online programs like Kaplan University nursing program, Grand Canyon University, and Capella University.

Nurse Anesthetist Salary

This is a highly skilled nurse profession and it pays accordingly.  CRNA salary can run between  $157,000 and $200,000.  In fact, experienced CRNAs can make upwards of $150,000 per year.