A nurse anesthetist is a profession whereby someone trained as a nurse specializes further in administering anesthesia to patients in surgical rooms, obstetrical units, dentists’ office and so forth.
For those who want to be nurse anesthetists in the US, need to have a CRNA certification. The full form being CRNA, such a qualification has several pre existing clauses which need to be satisfied for one to enroll for such a certification program. The AANA or American Association of NA issues this certificate and currently has more than 40,000 certified NA registered in the US.
So what are the educational requirements for enrolling in nurse anesthetist education programs?
The mandatory requirements are the same throughout the US. One needs to have a starting bachelor’s degree in Nursing also known as BSN. Equivalent baccalaureate degree also suffices. One needs to be registered as a practicing nurse and should ideally have at least one year of experience in acute care such as ER, ICU and others. These pre requisites are enough to get enrolled in NA education programs. These programs in turn are of 2 to 3 years of duration and offer nurses a master’s degree at the end with specialization in anesthesia application. These programs are coupled with extensive training at community or universities based hospitals and hence, prepare the individuals for their specialization completely.
On successful completion of nurse anesthetist education programs one can apply for CRNA and pass the national level examination to become a CRNA.
The NA education programs are certified by the Council on Accreditation. No matter which college you take the course, this Council lays down the curriculum, policies and procedures, mode of instruction and so forth for the various colleges throughout US who administer such courses. Any college which provides nurse anesthetist education programs needs to comply with the standards set by the Council.
The accreditation of a college is approved by the Council after a site visit and self evaluation of the program contents. Every ten years the process is repeated to ensure compliance of the various colleges conducting NA education programs.
The list of colleges which offer the accredited NA education programs in every state is listed on the AANA website. One can apply for the same in such colleges, and once such a course is successfully undertaken and completed, one can be assured of being one step away from being a CRNA certified nurse anesthetist.