Career Sphere

Nurse anesthetists: Demand is up and the secret is out

anesthetists anesthesia career

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) were once called the “best kept secret in health care,” but not today.
With the U.S. population aging and more surgical procedures being performed in ambulatory surgical centers and physicians’ offices, the demand for anesthesia care is growing. And nurses are entering the field in increasing numbers. In 1999, 948 nurse anesthetists graduated from 83 nurse anesthesia educational programs. In 2007, 2,021 graduated from 106 programs.
This influx of new nurse anesthetists in a short period was needed. At the turn of the century, both the vacancy rate and median age for CRNAs were rising—trends the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), an ANA organizational affiliate, needed to quickly reverse. The challenge was daunting, but efforts to increase educational programs, clinical sites, and faculty paid off with fewer job vacancies and a lower median age today. Still, it will be years before the supply of CRNAs outpaces the demand.
Why is nursing anesthesia a hot career choice?
• One-to-one patient care: CRNAs administer anesthesia to one patient at a time, ensuring the patient’s safety throughout the procedure.
•      Compensation: Nursing anesthesia is a highly paid specialty.
•      Opportunity: CRNAs work in every type of facility and provide anesthesia for every type of surgery.
•      High tech: Anesthetic drugs and equipment are cutting edge.
•      Respect: CRNAs practice with a high degree of autonomy and professional respect.
•      AANA: This professional association ensures that members have a seat at the table with legislators, regulators, and other decision makers and that members are recognized by the public as valuable contributors to the U.S. healthcare system.
This year, some 37,000 nurse anesthetists will provide about 30 million anesthetics to patients. The secret is out.
To learn more, visit www.aana.com.


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