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Graduating with your CRNA Nursing Pin and Becoming a Nurse Anesthetist

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Graduating with your CRNA Nursing Pin is a big deal! It’s a nursing pin and degree that is in very high demand. Nurse anesthetists are essentially nurses who administer anesthesia and its related care in a variety of healthcare facilities. Their responsibilities involve pre-anesthetic preparation to preanesthetic functions, and can be done in hospitals or in private practices, including the dentist’s office. While these responsibilities seem clear and concise enough, getting certified as a nurse anesthetist takes time, as this nursing specialty requires a master’s level of training in the field.

If you have your heart set on becoming a nurse anesthetist, then these are the steps in which you can achieve that goal:

1. Start with an RN and a BSN.

A bachelor’s degree isn’t really necessary to become a registered nurse (RN). However, if you plan to pursue further education, or become a nurse anesthetist, then you’ll need to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing or BSN. If you’re still planning to take up a nursing course, you can go through the “traditional” route of applying to a BSN program directly, and then take the exam to become a licensed registered nurse. Pass the NCLEX licensure exam too. If you’re already an RN without a BSN, there are now a lot of programs offered by various nursing schools that will help you earn your BSN degree.

2. Obtain relevant nursing experience.

Most nurse anesthesia programs require at least some experience before application or admission, so getting relevant nursing experience is necessary not only for more exposure to the field. This experience as a student nurse can be in a clinical setting such as the emergency room, intensive care unit, or cardiac care unit, or it can be through shadowing a practicing nurse anesthetist.

3. Get a feel for needles and equipments.

Part of learning to become a nurse anesthetist is to have a clear understanding of the pharmacology of anesthesia, which can come in several forms. There’s also some highly technical machinery to get used to, which are commonly utilized to monitor patients from the start of anesthesia all the way through recovery.

4. Enroll in an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program.

While there are certainly more than a handful of accredited nurse anesthesia educational programs, admission to any of them can be highly competitive, so it’s best to do your research early on which program best suits your current situation and future goals so that you may also start preparing your application early as well. An accredited nurse anesthetist program typically takes around 24 to 36 months to complete, with students graduating with a minimum of a master’s degree (and another nursing pin, depending on your nursing school).

5. Pass the certification exam.

Graduating from an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program isn’t the end of the journey just yet – you’ll have the pass the National Certification Examination or NCE in order to become a full-fledged CRNA. This exam is done on a computer, and takes three hours on average. Once you’ve overcome this last hurdle, you’re well on your way towards becoming the best Certified Nurse Anesthetist that you can be.

It’s a long journey being a nursing student, but well worth it in the end. Being a nurse anesthetist is not easy, and can at times even be extremely challenging. Not only that, it requires ample preparation. Still, at the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like going up to a patient’s family after a successful procedure with the aid of anesthesia and seeing the relieved looks on their faces.


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