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Nurse Anesthetists Career

Career Description

Administer anesthesia, monitor patient's vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia. May assist anesthesiologists, surgeons, other physicians, or dentists. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.

What Job Titles Nurse Anesthetists Might Have

  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Staff Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (Staff CRNA)
  • Staff Nurse Anesthetist

What Nurse Anesthetists Do

  • Manage patients' airway or pulmonary status using techniques such as endotracheal intubation, mechanical ventilation, pharmacological support, respiratory therapy, and extubation.
  • Select, prepare, or use equipment, monitors, supplies, or drugs for the administration of anesthetics.
  • Select, order, or administer anesthetics, adjuvant drugs, accessory drugs, fluids or blood products as necessary.
  • Monitor patients' responses, including skin color, pupil dilation, pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, ventilation, or urine output, using invasive and noninvasive techniques.
  • Perform pre-anesthetic screenings, including physical evaluations and patient interviews, and document results.
  • Respond to emergency situations by providing airway management, administering emergency fluids or drugs, or using basic or advanced cardiac life support techniques.
  • Develop anesthesia care plans.
  • Obtain informed consent from patients for anesthesia procedures.
  • Assess patients' medical histories to predict anesthesia response.
  • Select, order, or administer pre-anesthetic medications.
  • Perform or evaluate the results of diagnostic tests such as radiographs (x-rays) and electrocardiograms (EKGs).
  • Perform or manage regional anesthetic techniques such as local, spinal, epidural, caudal, nerve blocks and intravenous blocks.
  • Prepare prescribed solutions and administer local, intravenous, spinal, or other anesthetics following specified methods and procedures.
  • Administer post-anesthesia medications or fluids to support patients' cardiovascular systems.
  • Calibrate and test anesthesia equipment.
  • Evaluate patients' post-surgical or post-anesthesia responses, taking appropriate corrective actions or requesting consultation if complications occur.
  • Select and prescribe post-anesthesia medications or treatments to patients.
  • Insert peripheral or central intravenous catheters.
  • Discharge patients from post-anesthesia care.
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, and participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in nursing.
  • Request anesthesia equipment repairs, adjustments, or safety tests.
  • Insert arterial catheters or perform arterial punctures to obtain arterial blood samples.
  • Instruct nurses, residents, interns, students or other staff on topics such as anesthetic techniques, pain management and emergency responses.
  • Disassemble and clean anesthesia equipment.

What Nurse Anesthetists Should Be Good At

  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

What Nurse Anesthetists Should Be Interested In

  • Investigative - Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

What Nurse Anesthetists Need to Learn

  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Chemistry - Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Sun iconThis career has a bright outlook.
Diploma iconThis career requires a graduate degree.
Median Salary: $160,270

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.