What Does a Nurse Anesthetist Do?


Nurse anesthetists (a.k.a. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, CRNA) work with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, and other medical professionals to ensure the safe administration of anesthesia. They see their patient through all phases of anesthesia – from administration throughout their recovery.
Although it may not sound like there are a lot of tasks involved with this position, the CRNA actually has a major responsibility. Their tasks include:

  • Prescribing, preparing, administering, and monitoring anesthetic solutions based on specific methods and procedures
  • Keeping doctors informed while the patient is under anesthesia
  • Pre and post-anesthesia visits with patients
  • Documenting patient records and watching for any known allergies then discussing them with their patients
  • Performing epidurals and nerve blocks

Typically, a CRNA will report to a manager who has extensive experience working with anesthesia. This role is known as a Chief Nurse Anesthetist.

Education Required for Nurse Anesthetists
A nurse anesthetist is an advanced nursing career that carries with it some weighty responsibilities. In other words, you must first go to school for four years to earn your BA as a registered nurse. Afterwards, you must spend a year working as a registered nurse before entering a CRNA program. This program will take another two to three years depending on the program you choose. So, in total, you’ll spend 7 – 8 years in school.

Once you graduate from school you can get a job in one of several places including:

  • Hospitals including medical, surgical, and critical access
  • Mobile surgery centers
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Doctors’ offices including dentists, plastic surgeons, ophthalmologists, and pain management specialists
  • U.S. military medical facilities

Earnings as a Nurse Anesthesist
The average nurse anesthetist salary NC ranges from $158,110 – $187,651 per year with most nurse anesthetists earning $131K which is about $50 per hour or better. This doesn’t include any bonuses or benefits they may also receive. It also doesn’t include factors like which industry you work in, the size of the company, how many years of experience you have, or the level of education you’ve obtained.

Comparing Salaries Across the US
Although this is really good money, it’s interesting to note that this is about 5% less than what nurse anesthetists earn throughout the United States today. In fact, North Carolina ranks 26th in terms of salary for this position here. This is true even if you work for a major company in the area such as AllCare Clinical Associates, Novant, Park Ridge Health, or Wayne Memorial Hospital.

The job outlook for this position is also really good. In fact, it’s predicted that over the next decade we’ll see a 31% growth for this job position. This is actually a lot higher than for a lot of other occupations within the medical field today, as well as for many other industries in the United States.

There are a few different factors influencing this job growth. The main reason is that there will always be a need for pain relief. Coupled with the fact that America is currently faced with a shortage of nurses, this position is one that’s highly sought after. As such, this really is a job position that’s worth considering getting into if you’re interested in working in the healthcare field today.


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