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Oswego Career Ladders - Nurse Anesthetists

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Nurse Anesthetists

Industry: Healthcare
Area: Nursing and Direct Patient Care

Nurse Anesthetists are specially trained registered nurses who administer anesthetics to patients undergoing medical, dental, and obstetrical procedures. They are an important member of the surgical team, and usually work under the direction of the attending surgeon, dentist, or anesthesiologist. Some of their duties include getting supplies and equipment ready for procedures, studying and interpreting pre-surgical tests to determine how the anesthetic will affect the patient, and assuring that an adequate blood supply is on hand in case of an emergency. In addition to administering the prescribed anesthetic, nurse anesthetists are trained to monitor the patients vital signs and communicate the information to the physicians. They also perform other tasks during these medical procedures, such as inserting artificial airways, administering oxygen, and attempting to prevent surgical shock. They may also be called upon to explain the procedures to patients in an effort to secure cooperation and increase confidence in the procedure. The position of nurse anesthetist comes with an extraordinary amount of responsibility, and as a result, it is one of the highest paid nursing specialties. Anyone interested in this specialty of nursing should be intelligent, able to solve problems quickly, and able to handle stressful situations.

Work Settings

Nurse anesthetists usually work in a hospital operating room, but their combination of nursing skills and knowledge of anesthetics also allows them to work in birthing centers/obstetrics departments, dental offices, emergency rooms, plastic surgery centers, and outpatient surgery facilities.


Individuals interested in entering a nurse anesthetist program must first obtain a B.S. in nursing, be a licensed registered nurse (RN), and have at least one year of critical-care nursing experience. Most programs last 24 to 36 months and consist of demanding graduate level course-work in anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and pharmacology. To become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), an individual must complete an accredited program and pass a national certification exam. They must also be recertified every two years through continuing education programs.

Central New York BSN Programs:

Elmira College
Keuka College
SUNY Binghamton
SUNY Upstate Medical Center
SUNY Institute of Technology
Utica College of Syracuse

Job Outlook

Employment opportunities for registered nurses are excellent and are expected to grow 21%- 35% through the end of the decade. This statistic also applies to nursing specialists such as nurse anesthetists.


Average Annual Salary $103,200

Work Schedule

Nurse anesthetists have critical skills and expertise and provide functions in unique situations under dynamic working conditions that include unpredictable or unavoidable occurrences at unscheduled intervals often requiring immediate action. For example, being on 24-hour call with unpredictable caseloads, irregular hours and fluctuating daily workloads, as well as having responsibilities for emergency intubations and resuscitation, newborn resuscitation, and availability for emergency surgical and obstetrical procedures and trauma stabilization.

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