The nurse anesthetist education pathways are becoming quite popular as one of the fastest growing career tracks for nurses is that of the nurse anesthetist. A nurse anesthetist administers anesthesia and monitors patients in a variety of medical settings. From in-office procedures, to day surgeries, to surgery floors in hospitals, nurse anesthetists are in high demand.
The essential anesthetist education pathway may seem elementary but there are a few things to consider on your way to fulfilling your certification and licensing as an anesthesia nurse. In addition to obtaining your masters in nursing anesthesia, you will need to meet a few more requirements. Here are 7 key requirements and points to be considered in addition to completing your master’s degree and becoming certified.
Requirements for Nurse Anesthetist Education Pathway
Springboard from an RN or BSN: As with any master’s program, you must already have obtained your bachelor’s degree in order to enroll. For those who have an RN only and have not received a bachelor’s of science in nursing, look for a school that offers a bridge program. That will enable you to take your experience as a registered nurse, or your non-science bachelor’s degree, and earn your BSN at an accelerated rate, then enroll in the master’s program.
Obtain OR Experience: You should absolutely get some experience in acute care and surgical care before you make the decision to commit to furthering your degree and becoming an anesthesia nurse. Surgical settings aren’t for everyone and that’s OK. In addition to helping you test the waters, an anesthetist education program will typically require you to have extensive experience in acute care and possibly surgical settings.
Be Ready for Quick Thinking, Dedication, and Lengthy Shifts: As an anesthesia nurse you will often be required to work beyond your normal shift. You will dedicate yourself to a patient from pre-op screening through recovery. There may be situations which arise that would require you to react quickly and respond. If you aren’t prepared to think and react in a speedy and thorough manner, reconsider your choice as nurse anesthetist.
Love People: You need to be able to enjoy working with people in order to be a successful anesthesia nurse. These patients are at their most vulnerable and need a comforting presence. You will be by their side a long time, and possibly have to field questions and concerns from loved ones and family members who are also vulnerable and afraid. Your bedside manner has the ability to ease minds and promote an atmosphere of compassion.
Find the Ideal School for You: Not all schools are equal when it comes to your education pathway. As mentioned above, you may need to find a school that offers a bridge program or an accelerated RN-to-BSN. Additionally, you’ll want a school that recognizes your goals and helps you to achieve them by offering clinical experience in your field. Beyond academics you may need your school to be close by so commuting isn’t a trial. Due diligence is necessary before you choose the most suitable program for you.
There’s High-Tech Involved: It’s likely you already know needles and IV’s will be involved, so if this makes you squeamish, change your direction. Today’s anesthesia departments rely on technology as well so be prepared to know your way around high-tech tools. You will need to become an expert at how to use many of these machines and a solid grasp of understanding when it comes to technology is necessary to becoming a nurse anesthetist.
You’ll Probably Be Working Solo: In most clinical and day surgery settings you will be the sole anesthetist assigned to a patient. Some larger hospitals and clinics may have a team of nurse anesthetists working with an anesthesiologist, but that is usually reserved for high-level surgeries and larger hospitals and OR settings.
Once You’ve Completed Your Program
Once you’ve achieved your certification as nurse anesthetist, you’ll no doubt be flooded with opportunities. Take your time and find the right position for your lifestyle. If you want to relocate to another state, you may need to meet a few additional requirements based on their state licensing and certification programs, so do your homework.
In addition to the wealth of opportunity that will open up to you, you ill also realize a much higher income than before. Although the financial benefit isn’t likely what drew you to a career in nursing, it’s nice to know that your income will rise. Especially if you have student debt!
It’s Your Decision; Choose Well
Ultimately only you know if you are cut out for a position in nursing anesthesia. It’s most assuredly much different than the role of a hospital nurse, or even a med-surg nurse. However, if you are thinking about a career as a nurse anesthetist review these 7 key factors before making your commitment to furthering your education. And good luck!