CRNA refers to Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. In the US, CRNAs have been offering anesthesia to patients for over 150 years. According to a survey by AANA in 2013, these professionals in anesthesia administer anesthetics to the tune of 34 million every year in the US. CRNA was introduced in 1950s (late) and nurses were the first people responsible for patient care. CRNAs were provided advanced and professional training in the field of anesthesia nursing.
Responsibilities of a CRNA
CRNA refers to an advanced practice registered nurse who works together with medical professionals, physicians, surgeons and anesthesiologists for delivering anesthesia to surgical and medical procedures. The work of a CRNA begins before the patent undergoes a medical procedure or surgery, continues during such a procedure or surgery is performed, and lasts after such a procedure or surgery is finished.
Before the patient is prepped for surgery or medical procedure, a CRNA performs patient assessment beforehand. The CRNA also prepares the patient for receiving anesthesia. During the procedure or surgery, the CRNA’s job is to not only administer the anesthesia but also maintain it. The CRNA ensures that pain management and sedation are properly performed. After the surgery or procedure is finished, the CRNA oversees the recovery of the patient. It is also in a CRNA’s job description to fulfill all the post-op needs of a patient.
The environment that CRNAs work in the current times is the same as that of anesthesiologists who work in pain management, pain management clinics, with podiatrists and plastic surgeons, ophthalmologists, dental offices, OPD centers, ICUs and critical floors, delivery and labor units, operating rooms in hospitals et al. In fact, the job of CRNAs in military areas is unmatched and unparalleled since they are the only anesthesia specialists there at most times. CRNAs also get to interact and work in close association with the family of patients and offer comfort and care.
Currently, millions of rural patients CRNAs are cared for by CRNAs who are the primary anesthesia providers in rural communities. In various medically under served areas too, CRNAs offer their services.