Nurse anaesthetists administer anaesthesia to patients during invasive medical procedures, such as heart or stomach surgery or obstetrical operations. They provide preoperative care by explaining to patients the nature of the procedure and the likely outcome. A nurse anaesthetist assesses patients’ vital signs, aids physicians in the operating theatre and helps patients recover from the effects of anaesthesia. Nurse anaesthetists work in hospitals, health care clinics, pain clinics and dental surgeries. The average salary of a nurse anaesthetist as of June 2010 ranges from £65,911 to £100,510, according to the Pay Scale career advice website.
To be eligible for a position as a nurse anaesthetist, you must first attain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). These degrees are offered at community colleges and universities throughout the United States and typically take 4 years to complete. Alternatively, you can undertake an associate degree, which takes three years to complete but offers a less comprehensive program in nursing care than the bachelor’s program. You also can enrol in a 2-year diploma course. Such courses are conducted in hospitals and provide significant clinical experience. The BSN course typically provides candidates with the greatest opportunities for career advancement.
After you graduate, you must become eligible to practice as a nurse by passing the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN). This will allow you to take on entry-level nursing roles in hospitals and health care facilities in the state where you have registered.
After you complete your undergraduate education, you should enrol in a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia program, as stated on the Education Online Search career and degree advice website. The courses are accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. As of February 2008, there were 109 nurse anaesthesia programs available at nursing schools and universities across the United States, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) website. The master’s program typically takes two to three years and covers a range of medical areas including human anatomy, pharmacology, chemistry and physiology. It also teaches students about the surgical techniques used in a range of operations.
After the MSN program has been completed, you must pass a national licensing exam to become a fully qualified certified registered nurse anaesthetist (CRNA). The examination is administered by the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists (CCNA).
Nurse anaesthetists are required to be recertified every two years by the Council on Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists. The council assess the validity of a candidate’s nursing license, evidence of her continuing education in the field of anaesthesia and evidence she has had significant employment as a nurse anaesthetist during the preceding two years.