According to the Bureau of Labors Statistics, certified registered nurses anesthetists (CRNAs) administer anesthesia, monitor patient's vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia. CRNAs may assist anesthesiologists, surgeons, other physicians, or dentists and must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.
In the U.S., CRNAs work alongside physicians or act autonomously in a clinic or hospital setting. CRNAs work in a variety of settings, including ambulatory surgical centers, dentist offices, plastic surgery clinics and public health services. They are licensed to practice in all 50 states.
The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) is an educational and legislative group that represents many CRNAs nationwide. One major issue facing this specialty is that various groups are asking that CRNAs be required to earn a Doctorate of Nursing degree to be accredited after 2015.
CRNA programs typically require applicants to have a RN license and some work experience, although requirements can vary. Graduates must pass a national examination and re-certify themselves every two years.