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10 Reasons Why You Should be a Nurse Anesthetist


Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

Weighing your options when choosing an advanced nursing track can be daunting especially with so many great options available. There is, however, one field that seems to be setting itself apart, the field of nursing anesthesia. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) enjoy a rewarding and respected career path. Read below to find out 10 amazing reasons why you should become a nurse anesthetist.


1. Plenty of Job Opportunities


The career forecast for CRNAs shows an expected growth of 31% between 2014 to 2024. This percentage is nearly double that of RNs (who have an expected growth rate of 16%). This growth means there are plenty of job opportunities for candidates wishing to enter the field.


2. Flexible Schedules


Ample opportunity means CRNAs can choose a schedule that fits their needs. There are options to work full-time, part-time, as needed, on call, or even overnight. This flexibility is great for finding the optimal work-life balance.


3. Exceptional Compensation


CRNA’s are paid based on their liability and responsibility. The average CRNA salary in the United States is approximately $160,000 per year. The pay varies widely depending on where you choose to practice. For example, Montana has the highest pay coming in at $243,000 while Arizona ranks near the bottom at approximately $120,000. Regardless, the salary is certainly a draw for those wishing to pursue advanced practice nursing.


4. Ability to Work Autonomously


CRNAs have advanced training and a broad scope of practice. In many rural areas across the United States, CRNAs are the sole anesthesia providers, attending to all aspects of anesthesia care from operating rooms to obstetrical units. They also provide most of the anesthesia care for the United States Armed Forces.


5. Variety of Workplace Settings to Choose From


CRNAs have their pick when it comes to workplace settings. After all, if you’re going to spend a good portion of time at work, you may as well enjoy the environment. Just a few of the possible options include:

• Hospitals
• Pain clinics
• Dental offices
• Physicians’ offices
• Endoscopy centers
• Plastic surgery centers

Some CRNAs work with patients in the pre-operative, post-operative, and outpatient settings. These CRNAs have completed sub-specialty fellowships in advanced pain or acute pain management .


6. Numerous Career Options


Understandably, the clinical setting is not for everyone; and some CRNAs choose to pursue a didactic path. Many of these positions do, however, require at least a few years of clinical experience. Didactic positions include:

• Researcher
• Didactic professor
• Clinical professor
• Program director

Medical and content writing are another option for nurse anesthetists who desire to be outside of the clinical environment. Some opportunities along these lines include:

• Writing and present board review seminars
• Creating e-learning modules
• Writing content for anesthesia textbooks
• Reviewing legal cases for trials
• Rewriting articles for reference manuals

There is a niche out there for almost anyone!


7. Sense of Professional Pride


Everyone wants to be confident and proud of their work, and nurse anesthetists know just how to make this happen. CRNAs enjoy a great sense of professional pride, a pride that stems from being confident in their ability to provide a wide range of anesthetics. Rigorous training programs require SRNAs to clock thousands of clinical hours ensuring that they can adequately demonstrate competency in anesthetic techniques. Now that is something to take pride in!


8. Advocating for Patients


One major perk of being a CRNA is meeting patients of all ages and walks of life. Surgical patients trust the anesthesia team with their well-being, and they can be understandably nervous. CRNAs establish a rapport by listening to a patient’s concerns, answering questions, and helping them to feel secure before a procedure. Confidently caring for patients in their most vulnerable moments is an awe-inspiring part of being a CRNA.


9. Freedom to Travel


Imagine getting to travel all over the United States while still doing your day job. CRNAs can do this by taking travel assignments which often include free lodging and an amenity stipend. Travel positions are available in almost every state and major city.


10. Camaraderie and Community


In a country comprised of roughly 325,000,000 people, nurse anesthetists, and student nurse anesthetists number only 39,000. They are a small but mighty group, and they lend large amounts of support to each other and those in their community. The CRNA profession has many ways to help those both inside and outside of the professional community. Here are some of the ways CRNAs and SRNAs work together to serve each other and those around them.

• Mentorship:

The AANA has developed a mentorship program for current student nurse anesthetists as well as practicing nurse anesthetists. The program includes scholarships, awards, competitions, and research grants.

• Subject Matter Experts:

CRNAs donate their efforts to organize volunteer groups, contribute to patient safety articles, provide health and wellness support, and to develop tools and resources.

• Committees:

AANA members can volunteer to sit on a variety of committees such as; bylaws, communications, continuing education, diversity and inclusion, education, finance, editorial, professional development or practice committees.

• Mission Trips:

CRNA’s partner with several organizations to provide free services to patients in need. These include Health Volunteers Overseas, MIMA Foundation, Inc., Operation of Hope, Kenya Relief, Partners in Health, Smile Network International, and Refuge International.

The service opportunities above are only a small representation of how CRNAs and SRNAs support each other and those around them, you can visit the American Association of Nurse Anesthetist website to see the numerous activities going on within the CRNA community. One thing is certain, for those looking to become a CRNA you can be assured that you will be supported.


Conclusion


Ultimately, CRNAs are privileged to provide quality care to amazing patients and to travel a career path that offers a wealth of opportunity, variety, and autonomy. The camaraderie shared amongst CRNAs is a unique and beneficial aspect that is hard to come by in most professions. These 10 reasons demonstrate that being a CRNA is a fulfilling and rewarding career. Maybe one day you will be amongst the ranks!