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Career Story: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist - CRNA

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist - CRNA

Job Title: CRNA

Education: Masters in Nurse Anesthesia

Previous Experience: Nurse in intensive care unit

Job Tasks: I provide anesthesia care in small community hospital. I provide care for surgery, obstetrics, and pain management. A small part of the day is spend doing administrative tasks.

I arrive to work 6:30 AM and I work until the job is done - usually between 2-5 pm. I take call one day out of four. I take care of patients not only in surgery but other areas. This includes the emergency room, ICU, and floor patients. Duties include providing general anesthetics, regional and locals. We also provide epidurals for mothers that are in labor.

Nurse anesthetists (also do consultative work, manage ventilator patients, diabetics and chronic pain.

Beyond the workplace CRNAs must continue to maintain educational criteria. This includes a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain licensure.

Anesthesia is also a competitive business between anesthesiologists and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs). CRNAs must be very proactive in the political arena. Practice rights are continually under fire from MD anesthesia providers and their organization. They often times seeks to limit practice sites and rights of CRNAs.

I have been a CRNA for 30 years and I love it. As my typical day I get up at 5:30. I usually arrive as stated before at 6:30. I start seeing patients to assess their status for anesthesia. I also will discuss options for them that might be available. Not all patients are candidates for 'going to sleep' anaeral anesthetic. Some are more suited for a regional technique. Some may be able to choose between the two. In some instances one may need to set the anesthesia based on the speed of the surgeon. Patients of slow surgeons may choose a regional (spinal or epidural) but a general is best because the spinal may wear off before the surgery has been completed. This is not something you want to happen during the surgery. Anesthesia offers many challenges and rewards.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is providing pain relief to patients who need it.

Worst: Conflicts with surgeons. Most have a prima donna attitude, but one learns to deal with it.

Job Tips:
1. Must become a nurse first.

2. Must work in a critical care area.

3. Do well in school. This career is very competitive to get into. No slackers allowed.

Additional Thoughts: I can't emphasize enough the importance of your grades. Your community activities are also important.

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