What Is a Nurse Anesthetist?
A nurse anesthetist or certified registered anesthetist (CRNA) is a person who is trained in the administration of anesthesia. They provide the same services as an anesthesiologist, and work closely with surgeons, dentists, and other medical professionals. From the beginning of a procedure to the time when the patient is deemed all-clear, the nurse anesthetist remains by their side, ensuring they are comfortable during the procedure and heading off any complications.
To become a nurse anesthetist, you must first become a qualified registered nurse, a process which takes three to four years through college or university, and then you need to get some hands-on experience working in an acute care or emergency setting. Once you have the requisite experience you can then apply to a CRNA school for a Master's of Nurse Anesthesia.
While it can take five years to become a nurse anesthetist the financial rewards are significant, as the average annual salary for a nurse anesthetist in 2008 was $163,467.