CRNA is an acronym that is normally used within medical circles to refer to a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. While this may make perfect sense to medics and health professionals, like many medical terms it remains a mystery to the layman. This article is all about demystifying what a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist is and explaining their role in the medical world.
Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetists or CRNAs as they are commonly referred to, are simply nursing professionals who have the knowledge and capability to administer anesthesia to ailing patients. Normally, the matter of administering anesthesia is considered a run-of-the-mill medicine job reserved for professionals who have specifically been trained as anesthetists. What most people may not know, however, is that it is a rung up in the nursing world to be trained as a Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetist.
Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetists are therefore, individuals who have had training and practice as nurses but have gone a step higher in the nursing world to receive training that prepares them to competently administer anesthesia. This especially comes in handy when working with doctors and surgeons during the performance of surgical procedures by the latter. CRNAs also have the flexibility to work with a myriad of healthcare professionals such as dentists, podiatrists, anesthesiologists, ophthalmologists, obstetricians among others. It goes without saying that choosing this career path opens up an individual to a vast array of options and they do not have to be tied down to only one specific sort of job.
Despite the fact that Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetists have a nursing background while normal anesthetists often come from a medicine background, the practice of administering anesthesia is basically the same and anyone who has had training that specifically caters to the administration of anesthesia can do so as competently as the next trainee.
As the name suggests, a certified registered nursing anesthetist is certified by virtue of his or her credentials and the fact that CRNAs bear that name is proof they have undergone rigorous testing procedures to ensure that they are competent to practice in the field of administering anesthesia. 1956 was the year that saw the existence of the CRNA credential. Since then, the importance of Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetists has grown from strength to strength and they have the statistics to show for it. It is estimated that Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetists are instrumental in the provision of approximately 32 million anesthetics each year. This statistic is according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, a body which brings under its umbrella, nurses who have received training in this noble field. As a matter of practice, CRNAs are ubiquitous in the rural America setting where the presence of traditional medical anesthetists may be hard to come by. Therefore, nurses who are ever present in such settings receive training to become CRNAs and go about the business of providing quality healthcare to patients who would have otherwise not been able to access the same.
The role of CRNA is a difficult one, and only a select few can make it work. Those that do find an emotionally stimulating and financially rewarding job that is theirs for life.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists Job Description
Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetists are professionals in the healthcare industry whose presence and expertise is indisputably essential to providing healthcare to millions of people all over America. Despite this, a typical layperson may have never heard of or not fully comprehend the importance of one being a certified registered nurse anesthetist and the differences that exist between a CRNA, a normal anesthesiologist and a normal nurse.
The thing, is, while the duties of these three nursing careers overlap in a large number of ways, a certified registered Nursing anesthetist can, in a manner of speaking, be considered a hybrid of a normal nurse and an anesthesiologist. This is because a CRNA is first and foremost a nurse who has had experience in the nursing field for some time but who has gone a step further and received training in the field of anesthesia and is thus able to perform the functions of an anesthesiologist. Just as an anesthesiologist requires much more training than a normal doctor to be able to do his job, so the specialist nurses that assist him or her require more training too. Anesthesiology is a difficult, delicate operation on which many lives balance, so it is essential that those involved are clear about what they are doing.
The question that comes up in the mind of most people upon hearing this is, why a hybrid of the two professionals while their two roles are clear-cut and defined? Well, the truth of the matter is that while anesthesiologists have been increasing their numbers for a while now, there is a severe shortfall of their skills in most rural areas all over America. Therefore, in such regions where nurses play an indispensable role in the field of healthcare, the same nurses have taken it upon themselves to be trained so that they can provide access to medical anesthesia to patients who would, otherwise not have been able to access the same.
The job description for a certified registered nurse anesthetist may vary from hospital to hospital and perhaps from community to community. However, there are basic tenets of the professional responsibilities of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist that remain common to any institution that has a CRNA within it. This is because these are the primary responsibilities and functions that a nurse upon becoming a CRNA has been trained on.
One of these fundamental responsibilities is the physical examination of a patient who is a candidate for anesthesia. While anesthesia is mostly harmless to a patient and hugely beneficial in the carrying out of surgery, there are cases where a patient may have certain conditions that render the administering of anesthesia fatal to him or her. It is therefore, the job of a CRNA to ensure that no such conditions, which would complicate the administration of anesthesia, exist.
Another responsibility that CRNA’s are charged with is preparing the anesthesia to be administered upon the patient. They are required to perform this responsibility with the background knowledge gathered from the physical assessment of the patient. The physical state of the patient is an influential factor as to the kind and dosage of medicines that will go into preparation of the anesthesia.
After this, the certified registered nursing anesthetist is charged with the responsibility of actually administering the anesthesia. This is seldom an isolated responsibility and is often done under the supervision of the surgeon or chief anesthesiologist.
So you want to be a Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetist? If you have done your homework sufficiently well, then you probably do realize that this is one of the most rewarding career choices in the health care industry. Becoming a Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetist is a rewarding experience and provides opportunities for tremendous career growth.
In addition, Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetists have more autonomy in their line of work, this essentially means that the responsibility upon them is much more than that accorded to normal nurses. For this reason, a lot of work, education and training, goes into becoming a Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetist. The board that is charged with the responsibility of admitting and training new CRNAs need to be sure that the individuals they pick for the job are the most ideal and therefore, the admission requirements are quite stringent. In this case the phrase that, nothing comes easy, fully applies.
The following is an outline of the steps that any anyone aspiring to become a Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetist needs to follow so as to achieve their goal.
- First and foremost, before becoming a CRNA one needs to have had training as a nurse. This means that it is a requirement for one to hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Alternatively, some institutions will accept applicants who are registered nurses but who may have a degree in a field unrelated to the nursing field. Training as a nurse is especially important since remember that being a CRNA is technically, being a hybrid of a nurse and an anesthetist. Therefore, a good and solid nursing training is a must.
- The second requirement that a person wishing to become a CRNA should fulfill is an undergraduate GPA. Most schools have the requirement that applicants wishing to join their CRNA program must have fulfilled a 3.0 GPA threshold in the undergraduate degree. There are various ways of assessing this where the overall GPA may be taken into account or alternatively, the average GPA for key units such as chemistry and Microbiology. In the event that you do not meet this requirement, it is possible for one to retake the requisite science units so as to gain admission into training.
- A Graduate Record Examination is yet another requirement that individuals wishing to gain entry intoCRNA schools need to fulfill. This is a test which is designed to test your general aptitude so that the school can gauge whether you are right or fit for them. One is advised to prepare by taking the dummy tests online. This sort of preparation is important if you want to pass the test the first time and increase your ratings.
- Finally, one needs at least a year of experience gained in working in an ICU. This is important as being a CRNA is not easy and only those who are able to cope in such sensitive conditions are recommended.
Once you fulfill these requirements, you can join a CRNA school and be well on the way to achieving your dreams. Becoming a CRNA may not be for everyone, but certainly those that make it work for them can looking forward to an interesting and fulfilling career.