Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are legally licensed as registered nurses in all 50 states and certified nationally in the specialty of anesthesia. In addition to being the primary providers of anesthesia services in rural America, CRNAs constitute approximately half of the professionals qualified to administer anesthesia in urban areas.
As a CRNA, you might work in psychiatric wards, emergency rooms, or intensive care settings. You might work for dentists, dental specialists, podiatrists, plastic surgeons, or the increasingly common ambulatory surgical centers, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), and other alternative care facilities.
Currently, 47 percent of all CRNAs are employed by hospitals, 38 percent by physicians, and 12 percent contract their services independently. Still others serve in the U.S. Military and Veterans Administration system.
The rewards of being a nurse anesthetist are many. You enjoy the opportunity to get involved in research that advances the science of anesthesia, enjoy the chance to broaden your clinical knowledge, and enjoy the potential to teach others about anesthesia. You also receive a great deal of satisfaction from knowing you are making a direct contribution to your patients' well-being. Finally, you practice in one of the highest-paying nursing specialties.