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Staff Writers
Updated March 24, 2021

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A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, or CRNA, is a nurse who monitors and manages the pain levels of patients during surgery or other medical procedures. They also monitor vital functions to ensure patients' systems are functioning normally. It is an advanced nursing position that requires graduate-level training beyond a Bachelor's or other nursing degrees. If you are wishing to become a CRNA, you can expect to spend two to three more years in school after earning your nursing degree. You will pursue in-depth academic coursework, as well as a clinical experience.

Job Responsibilities

A CRNA has a number of specialized job responsibilities beyond those of an LPN or RN. These nurses specialize in the anesthetizing process of patients during medical procedures. A CRNA talks to a patient both before and after the administering of anesthesia to ensure they understand what will occur and that they are responding well to the anesthetic. They also take the time to assess any risk factors patients may face due being put under with anesthesia such as overdose or allergic reactions. It is the job of nurse anesthetists to determine the correct dosage of anesthesia to give a patient based on a variety of factors like weight, gender, and individual medical history. Throughout the medical procedure, the CRNA will monitor vital functions to be sure there is no crisis or cause for alarm. These are just a sampling of the duties you can look forward to performing in this job.

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Necessary Qualities and Characteristics

There are some qualities, skills and personal characteristics that you should ideally possess if you want to become a CRNA. This is a job that carries with it a great deal of responsibility. You need to be able to work and think well under pressure. Strong decision-making ability and problem-solving skills are a must.You should be good at math in order to perform biometric calculations on the spot while monitoring patients. You will also need to excel at multi-tasking and following complicated directions. A certified registered nurse anesthetist should always be on alert and ready to step in when needed. You also must be a strong communicator and enjoy interacting with people; you'll be explaining medical procedures and sedation process to both patients and their families.

Work Environment

Nurse anesthetists can work in lots of settings, using their skills in a number of ways. In a hospital, you'll find these nurses working in the emergency room, cardiac care unit and intensive care unit. Not all nurse anesthetists are employed in hospitals, though. They can also work in the offices of dentists and oral surgeons, as well as in outpatient medical facilities where procedures are done that require anesthesia. Some specialized types of physicians will need nurse anesthetists in their private practices to assist with outpatient procedures also.

These nursing professionals carry a great deal of responsibility and must always be alert. Becoming a nurse anesthetist is a great career for you if you are dedicated to helping people and possess the skills needed for this fast-paced position.

See also: Most Affordable Online MSN Programs

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