What Nurse Anesthetists Do

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are advanced practice registered nurses with graduate-level experience and education in anesthesia. They provide anesthesia to patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, undergoing all types of surgical and diagnostic procedures. CRNAs collaborate with other healthcare providers, including surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and other perioperative personnel to deliver safe, effective anesthesia care.

Types of Work Environments

CRNAs practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; ketamine clinics; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists; and U.S. military, Public Health Services, and Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities.

Education and Training Requirements

Nurse anesthesia education is a graduate-level education program that leads to a master's or doctoral degree. Beginning in 2022, all nurse anesthesia programs will be at the doctoral level. Before beginning a program of anesthesia study, the applicant must be a baccalaureate-prepared Registered Nurse, with at least one year of critical care experience in the United States or one of its territories. Nurse anesthesia educational programs are a minimum of three years in length, and graduates must pass a national certifying examination to practice as a CRNA.

CRNAs have a rigorous recertification process that includes 100 continuing education credits every four years, four core modules based on current literature and evidence-based knowledge, current engagement in anesthesia practice, and a Continued Professional Certification Assessment taken every eight years.


According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median salary for nurse anesthetists is approximately $205,770 per year.

Professional Organization

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

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