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Nurse Anesthetist

Anesthesia is administered to patients who are undergoing otherwise stressful or painful medical procedures, such as operations or tooth extractions. The anesthesia blocks pain and renders the patient unconscious so that the health care professional may work without concern over the patient’s discomfort or interference. Nurse anesthetists work either independently or under the supervision of a physician or anesthesiologist. They administer the anesthetics, adhering to the plan plotted by the anesthesiologist or physician. The nurses must be careful and precise as giving too little anesthesia can be just as detrimental as giving too much. Nurse anesthetists work in a variety of health care settings, including dental, podiatric, and obstetrician offices, as well as hospitals.

Nurses specializing in anesthesia must be registered nurses (RNs) because of the complexity and sensitivity of the duties. Though one can become an RN by completing either a diploma program from a nursing school, an associate degree in nursing, or a bachelor’s degree in nursing and successfully passing the NCLEX-RN examination, those wishing to go into anesthetics must obtain a graduate nursing degree. Nurse anesthetists must earn at least a master’s degree in health care, have experience working as an RN, and enroll in a nurse anesthetist program. After completing the anesthetist program, nurses must pass an examination given by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, which will gain them certification and licensure to practice.

As the health care field grows, the demand for medical services will grow as well. While many medical services are routine and non-invasive, more than 26 million people in the country undergo medical procedures that require anesthesia, according to the Mayo Clinic. With these numbers, the need for nurse anesthetists is clear. As the population climbs, the increase in the number of patients flowing into physician offices every day will also boost the need for more nurse anesthetists. Nurse anesthetists earn varying salaries depending on their level of experience. Nurses who have less than a year of experience earn about $112,190 annually, whereas nurses who have five to nine years of experience earn about $132,368 annually.