What is a Nurse Anesthetist, and What's the Average CRNA Salary?

picture of a CRNA earning a high salary
Written by
Jeremy Booher
Reviewed by
Miranda Kay, RN
December 4, 2022

Are you looking to expand your career? You may want a change in your work duties, something different, a change of pace. In this article, we will cover what a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is, how to become a CRNA, the duties of a CRNA, the average CRNA salary, and how to find CRNA jobs.

Nurses who become CRNAs often work in operating roomsintensive care, or surgical facilities. Being among the highest-paid nurses, this role is critical to the operating team and garners a high salary. Many nurses decide to become CRNAs to collect more pay while advancing into a highly-respected position.

Becoming a CRNA can be a real opportunity for a registered nurse (RN) to step into. Some required education and training will be involved, but obtaining your CRNA is worth the extra effort.

Table of Contents

What is a Nurse Anesthetist?

Working alongside anesthesiologists, surgeons, dentists, podiatrists, etc., a CRNA is responsible for administering anesthesia safely to the patient and observing patients post-procedure. In contrast, the patient recovers from the anesthetist. This recovery care is often provided in a post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). These specialized, advanced practice nurses are not doctors, and there are different state requirements for whether they need to practice under the supervision of a physician or not.

How To Become A CRNA: 

To become a CRNA, you must first become a registered nurse. To enter a program, you will have to obtain a bachelor's degree in nursing, and a year of clinical, to even be considered in most programs. Although some programs will allow for a person only carrying a diploma or associate's degree, this is rare. After completing all your CRNA requirements, you will receive your master's degree. After becoming an RN, this will take you two or three years to meet.

Pass The Examination:

In your journey to becoming a CRNA, you must pass a mandatory examination of the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). To take the exam, there will be requirements such as holding a master's degree in an accredited program by the Council of Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia, in which your records will be looked at for disciplinary actions. You will be screened to make sure there is nothing that would impair your work, such as substance abuse.

Duties Performed By a CRNA:

  • Assess medical history.
  • Informing patients and loved ones about operations.
  • Making a plan by assessing the patient for anesthetics.
  • Explaining side effects of anesthesia and expectations of the application.
  • Give different anesthetics forms (intravenous, spinal, local, and sedation).
  • Maintaining anesthesia throughout procedures.
  • Constant monitoring of the patient's status during the procedure.
  • Applying necessary medications, such as fluids or other treatments.
  • While procedures are taking place, they are to monitor vital signs.
  • Implement a strict protocol for infection control.
  • Giving epidurals, spinal or nerve blocks.
  • Conversing with multi-medical professionals ensures the best care is to be delivered.
  • Helping discharge a patient and educating them on follow-up anesthetic care.

What's The Average CRNA Salary?

As of May 2022, the average CRNA salary is $195,610, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook. A CRNA's salary rate will vary based on location, experience, etc. 

PRN CRNA Jobs:

Working as a PRN CRNA, you can select the hours you choose. Working PRN, you still need to set a schedule. Instead, you pick up jobs and create your own schedule. Since you are not an employee of the facility, you won't receive benefits such as call-in sick days, vacation, insurance, or 401K, but working as a PRN, you make a lot more money for the days you choose to work. The experience of working for different facilities will give you an excellent resume.

How To Find CRNA Jobs?

There is a significant healthcare worker shortage in the nation, so finding a job should be relatively easy. Having a good resume and experience helps tremendously, but there are facilities willing to train—some quick ways to find CRNA jobs include searching online or using a PRN staffing app.

Advancing from a registered nurse to a CRNA will bring you a whole new career. With this comes a lot of hard work, commitment, and time. Making this move to advance is rewarding in several ways, from your paycheck to the prestige of the job. As a certified registered nurse anesthetist, you will receive a lot of respect due to your responsibilities and the major importance of the job.

Jeremy Booher
Blog published on:
December 4, 2022

Meet Jeremy, a contributing copywriter, editor, and publisher at Nursa who specializes in topics around licensing, clinician salaries, and per diem job locations.

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