What is a CRNA?

What is a CRNA?
Cancer Surgeon (middle), flanked by 2 CRNAs
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) have been around for over a hundred years.  We are advanced practice nurses who deliver safe anesthesia, whether it be general, regional, local, or monitored anesthesia care.

There is no significant difference as to who can deliver a safer anesthesia, whether it be a Medical Doctor of Anesthesiology (an 'MDA'), or a CRNA.

How Does One Become a CRNA?

CRNAs have a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and have varying years of ICU experiences.  Most CRNAs also complete a 2.5 year or 3 year Masters program from an accredited program.  There are over 50 programs in the U.S.  After completion of the Masters of Nurse Anesthesia program, the individual needs to take a state national CRNA board.  CRNAs can work independently or side by side with Anesthesiologists, depending on the state regulation.  Visit our CRNA Degree page for more detailed information on becoming a CRNA.

What we believe sets us apart from our colleagues is that we address each patient with an emphasis on human touch, along with our anesthesia knowledge.

Where Do You Find CRNAs?

CRNAs work in University hospitals, Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), private practices in metropolitan areas, as well as in rural settings.  Usually CRNAs are supervised by MDAs in a 3:1 ratio (CRNA to MDA) depending on the hospital's protocols.

Why CRNAs?

CRNAs are more cost effective than MDAs, since they do not have the same salaries and insurance requirements as MDAs.  The concept of CRNAs is similar to the concept of Nurse Practitioners.

CRNAs also help with lowering medical costs by relieving Residents of Anesthesiology at the end of the day.  Residents of Anesthesiology or 'doctors in training in anesthesiology' are required to have a maximum limit of 60 hours per week.  Beyond 60 hours per week would be considered unsafe practice.

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