A nurse anesthetist administers pain-blocking drugs during surgical procedures and monitors the patient's status before and after surgery. Specially trained, advanced-practice nurses are in charge of giving and monitoring the anesthesia in more than half of the medical interventions in the country. A role established in the late 19th century, nurse anesthetist was the first clinical nursing specialty.
There is a high demand for professionals in this field, and graduates from accredited programs face little difficulty in finding employment. The median salary for nurse anesthetists is around $148,000.
There are just over 110 nurse anesthetist programs in the country. The Council for Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) is the accreditation body for this field. Graduates from accredited programs become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (C.R.N.A.s) by taking the national exam administered by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (A.A.N.A.).
Nurse Anesthetist Master's Programs
In order to become a nurse anesthetist, a student must complete a program of graduate studies, participating in either a master's program or a doctoral program. Completing the nurse anesthetist master's program takes around two to two-and-a-half years. In most cases, a student who intends to enter a nurse anesthetist program must already have earned a bachelor's of nursing (B.S.N.). Some schools, however, accept students with an associate's degree in nursing (A.D.N.) if those students also have a B.S. in a different, related field.
Also required for admission is a year of clinical practice as an R.N. in an emergency room, cardiac cath lab, operating room or other acute care setting. Nurse anesthetist schools ask that applicants submit standardized test results, usually the G.R.E., but in some cases the M.A.T. The accreditation board requires that applicants be certified in advanced life support methods, such as A.C.L.S. and P.A.L.S..
Beyond these general standards, each school has its own particular requirements for admission, such as a minimum GPA for the bachelor's degree or the completion of an undergraduate course in statistics. Competition to enter nurse anesthetist programs is intense. A good grade point average from the undergraduate years, as well as strong letters of recommendation, give applicants a great advantage.
The curriculum of a nurse anesthetist program increases the R.N.'s familiarity with aspects of anatomy and physiology that have bearing on the use of pain-blocking drugs. In addition, pharmacology becomes an important focus of study.
Institutions that provide up-to-date facilities and serve a diverse population provide useful experience in real-world issues. The hours of clinical practice give nurse anesthetist students valuable experience with various methods and tools. Working in a wide variety of clinical sites, with many different sorts of patients, also helps to expand the nurse's knowledge set.
A nurse anesthetist with a master's degree may seek a position in a number of different settings.
Doctoral Degree as a Nurse Anesthetist
Over the next decade, upon the advice of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (A.A.C.N.), the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) will be phased in as the entry-level degree for nurse anesthetists. In anticipation of this change, many schools have eliminated the M.S.N. program in favor of implementing a D.N.P. program. Around 80 schools now offer D.N.P. or comparable curriculums (D.N.A.P., Dr.N.A.P., or D.M.N.A.P.). This degree is suited to individuals who intend to seek leadership positions within the field, or to work as clinical faculty at universities or nursing colleges. It takes around two years to earn a D.N.P.
Coursework for the D.N.P. includes classes that deal both with subjects directly related to patient care and classes that provide a wider look at healthcare practices and management.
Ph.D. as a Nurse Anesthetist
A Ph.D. in the field involves additional hours of research, and is sought by nurse scientists who intend to work in academia or research institutions as teachers or administrators. This degree requires a dissertation, and takes around five-and-a-half years to complete. Some schools offer combined programs that unite the specialization of the D.N.P. with the research of the Ph.D.
Coursework for the PhD is much like that for the D.N.P., but with the addition of research-focused classes leading to the completion of a dissertation.
Earning a doctoral degree in nursing anesthesia prepares the student for a number of professional roles.
We found 41 schools offering nurse anesthetist degree programs in the U.S.
|Xavier University of Louisiana||New Orleans||LA||3797|
|Webster University||Saint Louis||MO||13783|
|Wayne State University||Detroit||MI||30408|
|Virginia Commonwealth University||Richmond||VA||24066|
|University of Southern California||Los Angeles||CA||29194|
|University of Pittsburgh - Main Campus||Pittsburgh||PA||26329|
|University of New England||Biddeford||ME||2684|
|University of Minnesota - Twin Cities||Minneapolis||MN||45481|
|University of Michigan - Flint||Flint||MI||6316|
|University of Kansas Medical Center||Kansas City||KS||2409|
|University of Detroit Mercy||Detroit||MI||6023|
|University of Cincinnati - Main Campus||Cincinnati||OH||27327|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||Birmingham||AL||14951|
|Uniformed Services University of the Health Sci||Bethesda||MD||843|
|Truman Medical Center School for Nurse Anesthesia||Kansas City||MO||33|
|The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston||Houston||TX||3143|
|Texas Wesleyan University||Fort Worth||TX||3133|
|Suny Health Science Center at Brooklyn||Brooklyn||NY||1470|
|Suny at Buffalo||Buffalo||NY||24830|
|Southern Illinois University Edwardsville||Edwardsville||IL||12193|
|Samuel Merritt College||Oakland||CA||693|
|Saint Marys University of Minnesota||Winona||MN||5010|
|Saint Mary S University of Minnesota||Minneapolis||MN||3200|
|Saint Josephs University||Philadelphia||PA||6961|
|Saint John Fisher College||Rochester||NY||2739|
|Ravenswood Hospital Medical Center - Sch of Anesth||Chicago||IL||24|
|Oakland University||Rochester Hills||MI||15235|
|Mount Marty College||Yankton||SD||1125|
|Montgomery Hospital School of Nursing Anesthesia||Norristown||PA||No Data|
|Missouri State University||Springfield||MO||17703|
|Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia Inc||Madison||TN||112|
|Medical College of Georgia||Augusta||GA||1932|
|Mcp Hahnemann University||Philadelphia||PA||2500|
|Mayo School of Health Related Sciences||Rochester||MN||248|
|Gooding Institute of Nurse Anesthesia||Panama City||FL||20|
|Case Western Reserve University||Cleveland||OH||9304|
|Baylor College of Medicine||Houston||TX||1192|