Nurse anesthetists assist medical teams during surgery or other minor procedures to provide anesthesia-related care to patients during and surrounding a surgery.
As a nurse anesthetist, you’ll work with a patient leading up to surgery to help prepare them from the anesthesia, as well as monitor a patient after the procedure, but most of the work you’ll do is during the actual surgery. Nurse anesthetists can work as part of an anesthesia team, but in all states, being a certified registered nurse anesthetist in this field means that you can also work solo, providing complete anesthesia care to a patient. You can also help doctors create a pain management plan for a recovering patients.
Salary and Career Options
Nurse anesthetists earn the highest salaries of all nurses, on average. This this kind of education and experience, you can easily earn a six figure salary, and many nurse anesthetists earn $120,000 to $150,000 annually. Most nurse anesthetists work as general staff nurses, surgical nurses, or anesthetist assistants before working as a nurse anesthetist. You can also make more money by working with special-needs patients where anesthesia administration is more complicated, such as working with children or people with allergies.
In order to work as a nurse anesthetist, you must first get licensed as an RN, which requires at least an associate’s degree in nursing. You’ll need to earn a BSN eventually, which you can do from the start (skipping the associate’s degree), or with you can do through an RN-to-BSN program. After working in the field, you’ll need to earn a masters degree in nursing, specializing in anesthesia, and some nurses opt to earn a doctorate. Once you have experience in the field as an RN and earn at least your master’s degree, you’ll need to take the certification exam offered by the the National Board on Certification & Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists, which allows you to begin working as a certified nurse anesthetist.
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