Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist – What Do They Do?

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist or CRNA is a title given to a registered nurse that has a master’s degree in nurse anesthetist.  This is one of the various types of advanced practice nurses, which a registered nurse can choose in taking up after a year of nursing experience.  Through a master’s degree in nurse anesthetist, the aspiring nurse can complete the graduate program in two to three years.  From there the registered nurse must pass a national certification exam to be called CRNA and practice as such.  CRNA has a different set of duties and responsibilities than the registered nurse and they are discussed below.

The main responsibility of the CRNA is focused on operation and surgeries that are about to take place.  As nurse anesthetists, they work under the anesthesiologist in administering the right dose of anesthesia.  But they can also work without the supervision of the anesthesiologist.  With this, work before, during and after the operation or surgery is part of the CRNA’s responsibilities.  Before the operation, the CRNA has to assess the patient to know that dosage of anesthesia to be given.  During the surgery, it is the CRNA’s duty to monitor the vital signs of the patient being operated on.

Aside from overseeing the vital signs, the CRNA is also responsible to keep the patient properly sedated.  Patients that are not given the right amount of anesthesia may experience longer recovery periods.  After the operation, the patient is followed up by the CRNA to see that recovery from the anesthesia in as expected.  This can include as being able to eat in the normal manner and the patient is able to walk slowly but surely.  In some cases, the CRNA may also have to inform the family in what is the progress of the patient as well as providing emotional support.  This is essential for operations that are accident or disease related.  With the guidance of the CRNA, the family and close friends of the patient will be able to understand the situation that they are all facing.

Certified registered nurse anesthetists are focused on the operating room where anesthesia is used.  This means that CRNAs are able to work flexibly depending on the schedule of operations that they must attend.  For the most part, this is great but can also be stressful especially during emergency cases at odd hours of the night.  Nevertheless, many CRNAs are observed to be highly satisfied with their jobs and are living a comfortable lifestyle as they are among the nurses receiving a very good pay.

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