Being a nurse is a very exciting and challenging job. This profession involves providing care from the beginning of life until death. Like other health care professions, there are also sub-specializations for this field. One of the most popular and high-paying area is being a nurse anesthetist. If you are aspiring to be one, keep reading this article and be knowledgeable on what steps to take and how to become a nurse anesthetist.
How to become a nurse anesthetist
1 Obtain a degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
This is a 4-year course which involves classroom discussions, return demonstrations and hospital exposures that will give you adequate experience and basic knowledge on the fundamentals and vital aspects of the nursing profession. Emphasis on anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, nursing care plans and etc. would be tackled. Nursing principles and theories would also be given importance in collaboration to science and technology. Make sure that you enroll in a school that is accredited in giving quality nursing education.
2 Get licensed.
Pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) in order for you to become a Registered Nurse and obtain a license to practice. Examination questions and topics are usually about infection control, health maintenance, keeping a safe environment, nursing theories, psychosocial and physiological integrity.
Requirements for the examination would depend on the state you wish to work. However, common requirements set are the following:
- Valid Identification
- Valid Authorization to test
- Registration through Pearson VUE (can be done through the phone, mail or online)
- Registration fee of $200
- Completion of at least one to four years accredited training program (varied per state)
3 Gain experience as a staff nurse.
Look for potential employers and apply as a staff nurse in an acute care setting for at least a year. This is one of the most important requirements in order for you to proceed with enrollment in a nurse anesthesia education program. If you would like to seek further guidance regarding admission requirements and acute care information, you may consult with the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs (COA).
4 Take the GRE.
Take and pass the Graduate Record Examination which is a pre-requisite in any graduate programs. This is conducted in order to assess your capabilities through testing your verbal reasoning skills, analytic writing, quantitative reasoning and critical thinking skills. You can either take up the test through computer-based or paper-based examinations offered and administered by accredited review and testing centers.
5 Begin education for your specialty.
Submit an application and enroll for your preferred School of Nurse Anesthesia. Make sure that this institution is accredited by with the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs (COA). Oftentimes, you would also undergo an interview before you application is subjected for checking and approval. This is also to ensure that you are not showing any behavioral or mental problems which could possibly affect the efficiency of your work performance.
The program includes clinical exposure and classroom discussions which would last for 24 to 36 months to complete. Subjects of focus involve pathophysiology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and chemistry which are all related and important in handling and administering anesthesia. During your clinical exposures and practice, you would be able to gain knowledge and hands-on experience in performing certain anesthesia techniques and nursing procedures which could be important and applicable to all types of surgical procedures.
6 Get certified.
Gain a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) title by passing the national certification examination conducted by the National Board on Certification and Re-certification on Nurse Anesthetist. The Nurse Anesthesia Education Program Director is the one responsible for imparting information regarding the examination. Before you are allowed to take the test, you would be requested to submit a Certification Eligibility Notification and at least two valid identifications.
7 Renewal of Certification is done every two years.
This is conducted by the Council on Re-certification of Nurse Anesthetist in compliance of the following requirements:
- Any evidence of anesthesia administration for the past two years
- At least 40 credit units of continuing education program
- Active or renewed license as a registered nurse
- Absence of any physical or mental disturbance which could affect performance of duty
According to labor surveys and statistics, job opportunities for nurse anesthetists are expected to project an excellent increase until the year 2014. Since this is an advanced practice in the nursing profession, the salary is also glamorous. Nurse anesthetists have an annual salary of more than $100,000 depending on their location, years of experience, area of specialization, educational attainment and credentials. This is indeed a challenging job since it shoulders a lot of risks for the patient. If you would like to become a nurse anesthetist, make sure that you are really interested and willing to learn the necessary knowledge and skills since the life of your patients depend in your hands.
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