CRNA Programs Provide A Rewarding Nursing Niche

CRNA programs are perfect for nurses who want to enter the highly-skilled niche of anesthesiology. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) administer anesthesia services to a wide variety of patient populations. They administer up to 65 percent of all anesthesia procedures in the United States. CRNAs fill the need for anesthesiologists and advanced practice nurses in under served communities.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist programs typically last between 24 and 36 months as a specialized track of a master’s in science in nursing (MSN) program. Many schools require a full-time commitment to study. There are currently no programs that are purely online. Courses are usually taken in physical locations. Nursing schools may offer a few online subjects for students.

An applicant to a CRNA program is required to have at least a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, a current nursing license, and at least one year of experience in acute care nursing. Other requirements include minimum test scores, recommendation letters, and admission essays.

Students need to take into account various factors like class schedules, mode of learning, availability of financial aid, placement programs, and total duration of study when choosing the best CRNA program for them. It is also important to know if the program is nationally accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).

The CRNA curriculum is like most MSN programs in structure except that it incorporates anesthesia subjects. Students can expect to learn anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and other courses in advanced practice nursing. It requires the study of the principles of anesthesia, administration of anesthesia, and patient recovery from anesthesia.

The clinical component of Certified Registered Nursing Anesthetist programs are crucial to honing skills in anesthetic administration. The program is usually operated with a practice facility such as a university or rural hospital, and clinical hours may also be spent in doctor’s offices or outpatient clinics.

CRNA programs are quite rigorous in nature. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) estimates that more than 1,700 clinical hours and about 800 anesthetic procedures are completed by CRNA students on average before graduation.

Graduates of CRNA programs need to be nationally certified to begin practice. Their usual practice settings are in hospitals in under served areas, birthing centers, and surgery clinics. They assist anesthesiologists, work with other nurse anesthetists and advanced practice nurses, or work as independent contractors for a facility.

This program demands considerable commitment by the student. Yet the time and effort put into it are a good investment since CRNA’s are some of the best-paid nursing professionals today. A career as a certified registered nursing anesthetist can be quite lucrative in the long run. As of 2008, the average salary of CRNA’s per year was roughly $168,500, according to data from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).

Since it costs much less to train CRNA’s than anesthesiologists, this program is a cost-effective nursing specialty which seeks to augment the need for more anesthesia professionals and the nursing shortage in general. As this need intensifies, job opportunities remain excellent for nursing graduates of CRNA programs.

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