What Does A Nurse Anesthetist Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Nurse Anesthetists

Nurse Anesthetists administer anesthesia, monitor patient's vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia. May assist anesthesiologists, surgeons, other physicians, or dentists. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.

Salary
$189190
Becoming One
Very Hard
Education
Master's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality
Interest Match





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Nurse Anesthetists administer anesthesia, monitor patient's vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia. May assist anesthesiologists, surgeons, other physicians, or dentists. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.

  • Manage patients’ airway or pulmonary status, using techniques such as endotracheal intubation, mechanical ventilation, pharmacological support, respiratory therapy, and extubation.
  • Select, prepare, or use equipment, monitors, supplies, or drugs for the administration of anesthetics.
  • Select, order, or administer anesthetics, adjuvant drugs, accessory drugs, fluids, or blood products as necessary.
  • Monitor patients’ responses, including skin color, pupil dilation, pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, ventilation, or urine output, using invasive and noninvasive techniques.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Nurse Anesthetists perform pre-anesthetic screenings, including physical evaluations and patient interviews, and document results. They assess patients’ medical histories to predict anesthesia response.

A typical day for a Nurse Anesthetist will also include:

  • Obtain informed consent from patients for anesthesia procedures.
  • Select and prescribe post-anesthesia medications or treatments to patients.
  • Select, order, or administer pre-anesthetic medications.
  • Develop anesthesia care plans.
  • Manage patients’ airway or pulmonary status, using techniques such as endotracheal intubation, mechanical ventilation, pharmacological support, respiratory therapy, and extubation.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Nurse Anesthetists also insert arterial catheters or perform arterial punctures to obtain arterial blood samples. They may also read current literature, talk with colleagues, and participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in nursing.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Nurse Anesthetists perform or manage regional anesthetic techniques, such as local, spinal, epidural, caudal, nerve blocks and intravenous blocks. They might also respond to emergency situations by providing airway management, administering emergency fluids or drugs, or using basic or advanced cardiac life support techniques.

In addition, they request anesthesia equipment repairs, adjustments, or safety tests.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them instruct nurses, residents, interns, students, or other staff on topics such as anesthetic techniques, pain management and emergency responses.

To some Nurse Anesthetists, it is also their responsibility to prepare prescribed solutions and administer local, intravenous, spinal, or other anesthetics, following specified methods and procedures.

Freedom to make decisions

How much decision making freedom does this job offer?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
3%

Some freedom
10%

A lot of freedom
87%

Structured vs unstructured work

To what extent is this job structured for you versus allowing you to determine your own tasks, priorities, and goals?

No freedom
0%

Very little freedom
0%

Limited freedom
3%

Some freedom
32%

A lot of freedom
65%


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What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Very High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

74% said they were satisfied with their job and 82% said they found their job meaningful.


Rosecella Chambers
Surgery centers

I am a nurse anesthetist also referred to as a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist). I am a nurse that gives anesthesia. I work in surgery centers and not a hospital. I give anesthesia to patients for different types of procedures and surgeries. A typical day can be giving anesthesia to 5 to 20 patients for colonoscopies to 1 to 3 patients for breast augmentations or abdominoplasties.

Pros

I have a lot of autonomy in my job. I actually get to make the anesthesia plan for my patients. The patients are generally very grateful to be taken care of by anesthesia and really appreciate the sleep.

Cons

The con is that you are responsible for someone’s life. It is your responsibility to keep that patient alive while the doctor does their surgery or procedure. So my job is 95% boring 5% major stress to make sure a patient doesn’t die.


Pros

Suitable for people who like to solve problems mentally.

Suitable for people who want to work in a supportive work environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

One of the fastest-growing careers.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to start and carry out projects.

It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skills, knowledge, and experience are required for this career.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$189190 per year

Average hourly wage

$91 per hour

Entry-level Nurse Anesthetists with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $133,970 to $154,540 per year or $64 to $74 per hour.

Salary range Hourly Annual
Highest (Top 10%) $100+ $208,000+
Senior (Top 25%) $100+ $208,000+
Middle (Mid 50%) $88 $183,580
Junior (Bottom 25%) $74 $154,540
No experience (Bottom 10%) $64 $133,970

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
0%

40 hours
23%

More than 40 hours
77%

Working schedule

68%

29%

3%

Work with group or team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Not important at all
3%

Fairly important
0%

Important
0%

Very important
26%

Extremely important
71%

Deal with external customers

How important is it to work with customers in this job?

Not important at all
10%

Fairly important
3%

Important
10%

Very important
29%

Extremely important
48%

Manage or lead others

How important is it to coordinate or lead others in completing work activities in this job?

Not important at all
3%

Fairly important
0%

Important
19%

Very important
35%

Extremely important
42%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
26%

Every day
55%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
16%

Every day
58%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
0%

Every day
100%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
16%

Once a year
55%

Once a month
16%

Once a week
10%

Every day
3%

Frequency of conflict situations

How often are there conflict situations in this job?

Never
0%

Once a year
13%

Once a month
16%

Once a week
32%

Every day
39%

Dealing with angry people

How often do you have to deal with angry, unpleasant, or discourteous individuals in this job?

Never
0%

Once a year
13%

Once a month
23%

Once a week
52%

Every day
13%

Dealing with physically aggressive people

How often do you have to deal with physically aggressive people in this job?

Never
3%

Once a year
65%

Once a month
26%

Once a week
6%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
3%

Slightly competitive
3%

Moderately competitive
16%

Highly competitive
48%

Extremely competitive
29%

Repetition in this job

How important is repeating the same type of task over and over in this job?

Not important at all
13%

Fairly important
7%

Important
17%

Very Important
20%

Extremely Important
43%

Impact of decisions on co-workers or company results

What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the reputation or financial resources of your employer?

No impact
0%

Minor impact
3%

Moderate impact
3%

Important impact
16%

Very important impact
77%

Frequency of decision making

How frequently do you have to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the reputation of the company?

Never
3%

Once a year
3%

Once a month
10%

Once a week
13%

Every day
71%

Responsibility for others’ health and safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

No responsibility
0%

Limited responsibility
0%

Moderate responsibility
26%

High responsibility
26%

Very high responsibility
48%

Responsibility for outcomes and results

How much responsibility is there for the work outcomes and results of other workers?

No responsibility
0%

Limited responsibility
7%

Moderate responsibility
41%

High responsibility
21%

Very high responsibility
31%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
0%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
100%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
87%

Once a year or more
13%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
100%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
100%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Very Hard
You will need an extensive amount of skill, knowledge, and experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require graduate school and more than five years of experience. These careers usually involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Similar careers include Pharmacists, Lawyers, Astronomers, Neurologists, and Veterinarians.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
0%

Post-Secondary Certificate
0%

Some College Courses
0%

Associate’s Degree or similar
0%

Bachelor’s Degree
3%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
3%

Master’s Degree
77%

Post-Master’s Certificate
3%

First Professional Degree
6%

Doctoral Degree
6%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
10%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
3%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
0%

1 to 2 years
19%

2 to 4 years
61%

4 to 6 years
6%

6 to 8 years
0%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
42%

1 month
23%

1 to 3 months
10%

3 to 6 months
13%

6 months to 1 year
3%

1 to 2 years
0%

2 to 4 years
10%

4 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality for this career
The Thinker

People with this personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.

71%

95%

24%

62%

19%

38%

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

FAQ


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