What Do Nurse Anesthetists Do?
During surgery or other procedures, the nurse anesthetists are the ones that oversee the anesthesia process. They are responsible for reviewing the patient’s vital signs, actually administering the anesthesia, and helping during recovery as the effects wear off. It is most common for nurse anesthetists to assist surgeons, but it is also possible to work with other medical professionals, such as anesthesiologists, dentists, or general physicians. Before becoming a nurse anesthetist, you must be a registered nurse.
Nurse Anesthetists Skills and Abilities
The most important set of skills that nurse anesthetists need to have is medical. It is vital that they have experience in the field of medicine and have a complete understanding of what they are doing. This is usually not a problem because of the extensive nursing background that nearly all nurse anesthetists needed prior to working in this field. Secondly, an understanding of biology and chemistry is also very important. Finally, personal service experience will go a long way for these professionals. This includes communication, active listening, and problem solving skills.
Nurse Anesthetists Duties
There are many duties that nurse anesthetists need to perform on a daily basis. The primary duty is selecting, preparing, and using equipment, monitors, supplies, and drugs during the administration of anesthetics. They frequently also manage this equipment and drugs in between uses as well. They are also responsible for monitoring the patient’s state during operation. This includes managing the patient’s airway, blood pressure, heart rate, responses, and overall condition. The nurse anesthetist will create the anesthesia care plan, taking the patient’s medical history into consideration to predict their response to the anesthesia.
Nurse Anesthetists Tools and Technology
The tools that nurse anesthetists use on a daily basis include:
- Anesthesia inhalers, inhaler units, and accessories
- Cardiac output monitoring units and accessories
- Electronic stethoscopes
- Epidural anesthesia kit
- Arterial line catheters
Various medical software may also be employed.
Education and Training for Nurse Anesthetists
The overwhelming majority of nurse anesthetists that are currently employed have a Master’s degree. This makes up about 65% of professionals. Another 15% have a Bachelor’s degree, and 5% have an Associate’s degree. Together with the 11% that have a Doctoral degree, this means that over 95% of current nurse anesthetists have a college degree of some kind. Previous work as a registered nurse is also usually required. While it is possible to find work as a nurse anesthetist without a degree, it is incredibly uncommon and very few are ever able to do so.
Nurse Anesthetists Salary
Like most medical professionals, nurse anesthetists earn quite a high salary. The bottom 10%, on average, earns about $100,000 annually. This range goes all the way up to just under $200,000 each year, with a median of $150,000 annually. It is important to remember that your location will also influence your salary. For example, in states such as Nevada or Wyoming, the average salary is as high as $190,000.
Nurse Anesthetists Jobs by Geography
Consider which geographic locations will foster your work as a nurse anesthetist. The states with the highest number of jobs in this field are Florida, Virginia, Texas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. These states have nearly double the number of jobs as most other states. Regardless of how many jobs there currently are, the states that are anticipated to see employment rates increase significantly in the coming years are Utah, Arizona, Florida, Virginia, Texas, and Tennessee. These are the only states with a predicted increase higher than 30%. Meanwhile, the national average is anticipated to increase by 24.9%. No states are expected to decrease their employment rates, but the states with the lowest increase are Maryland and Michigan. These are only going to increase by about 10%. Overall, the numbers are looking good for nurse anesthetists.