Across California, there are hundreds of hospitals and medical centers that serve laboring women, patients experiencing medical trauma, and people who suffer from chronic pain. For many years, these patients relied on a pool of too-few anesthesiologists for appropriate pain relief. Now that nurse anesthetists are gaining more practice rights around the country, patients can benefit from timely, appropriate pain relief wherever they go.
If you're a Bachelor's-level nurse that wants to take the next step in your nursing career, nurse anesthesia may be ideal for you. This is a highly specialized nursing career that demands dedication to your career, a solid knowledge of pharmacology and anatomy, and ongoing education. By earning a Master's degree and working as a licensed CRNA, you may affect healthcare delivery in positive and meaningful ways.
In order to become a CRNA, you should be willing to work independently. Though teamwork is an important part of any nursing career, as a CRNA you may spend much of your time alone with patients and filling out documentation. You may take orders from doctors and other medical personnel, but much of the time, you will work autonomously. If you're ready to take on the responsibility of a nurse anesthesia career, contact schools today to learn more about CRNA programs in California.
There are multiple CRNA programs located throughout California. As a result, you may be able to look through the admissions requirements and required courses for various programs and choose one that best fits your skills and career goals. At minimum, you may need a 3.0 GPA at the bachelor's degree level to qualify for admission to a CRNA program. Some schools also require you to shadow a working CRNA for one or two days to ensure that this is a good degree choice for you. Work experience tends to be required at this level; some schools require as little as one year of nursing experience, while other schools require three years or more of critical care nursing.
Over the course of your education, you may complete about 60 graduate credits. For full-time students, this can take roughly three years. A handful of CRNA schools allow you to attend courses on a part-time basis. In the first one or two semesters of your program, you may take core advanced nursing courses like Advanced Pharmacology Across the Lifespan, Conceptual Basis for Advanced Nursing Practice, Advanced Pathophysiology, and Basic Principles of Nurse Anesthesia.
As you progress through your nursing courses, you may start higher-level nurse anesthesia courses like Physiologic Variables for Nurse Anesthesia Practice, Ethical Issues in Advanced Nursing Practice, Role of Advanced Practice Nurses, and Pharmacology of Anesthetics & Accessory Drugs.
Your practical CRNA experience may start in the first semester of your education. You need to get trained in a variety of settings and at many different levels. This may involve shadowing CRNAs, watching procedures in various medical specialties, and eventually participating in the administration of anesthesia. For the safety of your patients, a strong set of hands-on skills is important. As a result, you may spend over 500 hours with patients throughout the time you spend in an MSN program.
The process of becoming a nurse anesthetist can be fairly lengthy, so you may want to prepare for it as you approach the end of your degree. You must maintain your registered nursing license through the California Board of Registered Nursing. This is particularly important if you plan on working as an RN while earning your nurse anesthesia degree. Upon completing your education, you must pay a $75 application fee and fill out the Application for Nurse Anesthetist Certification. After you receive your license, you must renew it every two years to keep working in this field.
California may offer a promising job outlook to CRNAs. O*Net reports an anticipated 20 percent increase in Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist job openings from 2012 to 2022, a growth rate that is in line with the national average. This may lead to 200 new jobs throughout the state by 2022 (O*Net, 2012).
Nurse anesthetists in California earn a wide range of salaries, but generally speaking, nurses who go into this specialty may enjoy an increase in earning potential. O*Net notes that most CRNAs earn between $87,800 and $187,200 per year, with an average annual salary of $167,200. This is over $16,000 higher than the national average for nurse anesthetists (O*Net, 2013).
Though committing yourself to an MSN may require hard work and time, it may pay off in many ways. First, you can become a very important part of California's nursing community. Furthering your education and becoming trained in a specialty can encourage other nurses to continue their schooling and invest themselves in the care of their patients. This career path can also help you fulfill your professional potential and enjoy the impact you have on patients' lives. Becoming a CRNA may also help you build valuable professional connections, as CRNAs often work closely with anesthesiologists, charge nurses, nurse practitioners, surgeons, and other skilled medical personnel.
If you're ready to put your nursing skills, knowledge of pharmacology, and interest in higher education to use in a new career, it may be time to look for a master's degree program in nurse anesthesia. Use our school listings to find nurse anesthesia programs near you and take the first steps to becoming a CRNA in California.