CRNAs are invaluable members of our patient care teams. Every year, they safely administer more than 45 million anesthetics to patients in the U.S. through a safe and cost-effective way. Explore this fact sheet and learn more about this noble profession:
What is a CRNA?
CRNAs are advanced practice nurses who’ve earned the credential of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist after passing a certification exam. They have over 2000 hours of advanced clinical training. CRNAs work with healthcare providers, ranging from surgeons and anesthesiologists to dentists and podiatrists and administer anesthesia to all surgical cases.
Where do CRNAs practice?
Wherever anesthesia is being delivered, CRNAs are there, caring for patients. Inside private practices, surgical suites, specialty offices, Obstetrics and U.S. military sites, CRNAs are caring for millions of people around the world each day.
What makes CRNAs so important to health care?
CRNAs are also a cost-effective alternative to anesthesiologists, making a huge difference for patients and insurance companies fighting against rising healthcare costs. CRNAs aren’t just important to save on healthcare costs, in many rural communities of the U.S., they’re vital as they are the primary anesthesia care provider. In many states, nearly 100% of rural hospitals rely on CRNAs as the sole providers for anesthesia care, meaning that without CRNAs, surgeries would be impossible.
What education is required to become a CRNA?
The minimum education and experience required to become a CRNA include:
● Baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing or other applicable major
● Valid registered professional nursing license and/or APRN
● Minimum of one-year full-time work experience, or its part-time equivalent, as a registered nurse in a critical care setting within the United States, its territories, or a U.S. military hospital outside of the United States.
● Graduation with a minimum of a master’s degree from a nurse anesthesia educational program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
What is a CRNA program like?
Depending on the university, nurse anesthesia programs can vary from 24-51 months. Most programs have gone or are in the process of offering the DNP as the entry to practice terminal degree. After 7-8.5 years of study, professionals leave fully prepared for their position, graduating with immense clinical experience that averages to 9,369 clinical hours. All of this work culminates in a master’s or doctoral degree from a program that’s accredited by the Council of Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.
As an acknowledgment of CRNAs’ growing importance and educational expectations, by 2025 all CRNAs will receive a doctoral degree. Once they receive a degree, a CRNA graduate they must also pass the National Certification Examination before they can start practicing on their own.
What are the career opportunities for CRNAs?
CRNAs are highly regarded advanced practice professionals who enjoy real autonomy and incredible professional respect in their roles. Since they’re are solely responsible for the anesthetic care of their patients, their compensation reflects that immense responsibility. Beyond their degrees, some CRNAs utilize their fellowships to specialize in areas of anesthesiology like chronic pain management.
How do I become recertified as a CRNA?
We’re excited that you want to become recertified as a CRNA! You can enroll in the Continued Professional Certification Program, an eight-year program that’s dividing into two four-year cycles. Administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists, the CPC is based on four components: traditional continuing education, professional development, core content modules, and a comprehensive exam.
Are you Made for a career as a CRNA? Learn more about CRNA opportunities at Northwell Health.