Nursing is an in-demand occupation, and with such a demand for people to fill nursing positions, it is no surprise that nurses can typically expect to be paid well. To have even more earning power, nurses often decide to continue their education and specialize in a particular area. Depending on demand, location, and company, pay increases can vary, but some specialties do tend to pay better than others. One of these specialties is Nurse Anesthetist, which given the great amount of responsibility the position requires, is one of the highest paying. According to Salary.com, the median expected salary for a typical Certified Nurse Anesthetist in the United States is $146,521, with a range of $136,000 to $156,814.
Nurse Anesthetists administer anesthesia to patients before they go through medical, obstetrical, or dental procedures. These nurses are specially trained to administer the prescribed amount of anesthesia and monitor patient's vital signs. They may perform duties such as preparing supplies and equipment, making sure an adequate supply of blood is readily available in case of emergency, determining how anesthetic will affect patients, administering oxygen, inserting artificial airways, and preventing surgical shock. A vital part of a surgical team these nurses work under surgeons, anesthesiologists and dentists, and communicate important information about the patient's condition to them.
When you hear the word anesthesia, the first thing that may come to your mind is an operating room, but nurse anesthetists can work in many other environments like hospital labor and delivery departments, birthing centers, military and government medical facilities, plastic surgery practices, emergency rooms, dental offices, and healthcare clinics. Given the wide variety of work environments they are needed in, this is an occupation with many job opportunities as well as career mobility. Because of the serious nature of the position, anyone interested in this nursing specialty should not only be intelligent, but also able to solve problems quickly and handle stressful situations.
If you are interested in becoming a Nurse Anesthetist, you must first earn a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing, as well as become a licensed registered nurse. After earning some experience working in the area of critical care, enroll in a nurse anesthesia educational program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. Most of these programs will last 24 to 36 months and include graduate courses in physiology, pharmacology, anatomy, and chemistry. You will then be eligible to take the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Exam, and upon passing can begin your career as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.