May 1, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Anaesthesia is a crucial component of any surgery. Without it, surgeries would be too painful to be actually possible. Nurse anaesthetists are responsible for giving anaesthesia and anaesthesia-related care to patients before, during, and after surgery. The career path to becoming a Nurse Anaesthetist is an intensive one. This is because so many different complicated situations may develop at any time during or after the anaesthesia is administered and these professionals need to be alert and well prepared for a wide variety of situations. It is also why Nurse Anaesthetists are among the most in-demand and highest-paid of all nursing professions.
Nurse anaesthetists perform a number of critical duties before, during, and after the administration of anaesthesia.
Before any type of anaesthesia is administered, the nurse anaesthetist must first try to determine which anaesthetic would be best for each patient. This would generally depend on the patient’s medical history and any known allergies as well as the type of procedure the patient is scheduled to undergo.
A nurse anaesthetist would also be responsible for explaining to patients about the anaesthetic process – how it works and what to expect during the procedure as well as any risks associated with that particular anaesthetic.
Before the surgery, the nurse anaesthetist will make all necessary preparations for the administration of anaesthetics. This may involve various tasks such as assembling and sterilizing equipment and supplies and readying the patient. Once the patient is prepped and ready, a nurse anaesthetist may also need to administer an anaesthetic and stay in the operating theatre throughout the procedure where along with the rest of the anaesthesia care team, they monitor the patient to ensure they are not having a bad reaction by keeping an eye on the patient’s vital signs.
At the end of the surgery, the nurse anaesthetist will help transport patients to the recovery room, where they will continue to monitor them to ensure that they come out of the anaesthesia without any serious complications. These nurses are also responsible for administering post-surgery care.
You would first have to become certified as an RN or registered nurse, which involves passing the (NCLEX-RN) or National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. After a few years experience as a registered nurse, you can then make the decision to continue your nursing education and go on to become a nurse anaesthetist, which is an advanced nursing role.
To enter this profession, you would need a degree in general nursing with a focus on anaesthesia. If your aim is to work in a sub-specialty of this field, such as obstetrics or paediatrics, you may also need to complete an internship, fellowship, or practicum. Before you can start working as part of an anaesthesia care team, you should also become certified as a nurse anaesthetist by taking the National Certification Exam (NCE) and becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anaesthetist (CRNA)
Nurse anaesthetist jobs are most commonly found in hospitals that have a surgical unit. However, these professionals might also be employed by clinics or even private practices that perform routine procedures that require light anaesthesia or sedation.
Medical employers are always on the lookout for skilled professionals trained to administer anaesthesia and because of this, a nurse anaesthetist career can make you more in-demand than you ever imagined.