Nurse Anesthetists

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) have been providing anesthesia care in the United States (US) for nearly 150 years. But historically, anesthesia care for surgical patients was mainly provided by trained nurses under the supervision of surgeons; until the establishment of anesthesiology as a medical specialty in the US.

Currently, all 50 US states utilize CRNAs to perform various kinds of anesthesia care, either under the medical supervision of anesthesiologists in most states, or independently without medical supervision in 16 states; the latter has become an on-going source of conflict between anesthesiologists and CRNAs. Understanding the history and current conditions of anesthesia practice in the US is crucial for countries in which the shortage of anesthesia care providers has become a national issue.

On behalf of the more than 53,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs); the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) has released an official statement, titled “CRNAs: We are the Answer”; ” which highlights evidenced-based analysis of CRNAs, physician anesthesiologists; and anesthesiologist assistants in today’s healthcare system.

The invaluable role of CRNAs

Development of “We are the Answer” was motivated by the American Society of Anesthesiologists House of Delegates;’ adoption in October 2018 of an amended version of the “Statement on the Anesthesia Care Team”; but that inaccurately portrays and seeks to minimize the invaluable role of CRNAs; and student registered nurse anesthetists in the U.S. healthcare system; while overinflating the role and value of physician anesthesiologists.

“CRNAs are well-prepared anesthesia providers who are licensed by states; and authorized by law and regulation to practice nurse anesthesia in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. But going forward, CRNAs will continue to provide access to safe, quality anesthesia care, everyday across the country”; said AANA President, Garry Brydges, PhD, DNP, MBA, ACNP-BC, CRNA, FAAN.

Anesthesia for surgery

As advanced practice nurses, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists; (also recognized by the titles CRNA, nurse anesthetist, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist, and nurse anesthesiologist); are proud to be part of America’s most trusted profession. Patients who require anesthesia for surgery, labor and delivery; emergency care, or pain management know they can count on a CRNA.

But to stay with them throughout their procedure, advocate on their behalf; and provide high-quality, patient-centered care. Likewise, healthcare facilities depend on CRNAs to serve the most patients for the least cost; deliver quality care to rural and other medically underserved areas; and positively impact the nation’s growing healthcare cost crisis. CRNAs are the answer to achieving a safer healthcare environment and more cost-efficient healthcare economy.