As a working registered nurse, you likely understand the importance of properly-administered anesthesia in many different situations. Whether a patient is being put under for surgery or receiving pain relief during labor, anesthesia can make medical procedures safer, less painful, and more sanitary. In fact, improved access to anesthesia and greater training requirements for those providing anesthesia are two of the main ways in which the health care field has improved patient outcomes. If you've ever considered taking your nursing education further, you may wish to consider becoming a CRNA to serve the people of Colorado. Contact the schools that offer nursing anesthesia programs in Colorado to learn more about your options.
Working as a nurse anesthetist may give you the opportunity to have a major impact on Colorado health care. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists reports that CRNAs provide over two-thirds of the anesthetic services offered in rural areas. While working as a registered nurse may require you to work with many patients in a short time frame, becoming a CRNA may also allow you to work more closely with your patients. Nurse anesthetists stay with patients prior to a procedure, administer anesthesia, monitor the patient throughout their care, and wait with the patient post-surgery to ensure their safety. Because of the extensive amount of time you spend with each patient, you can be extremely important to the safety of procedures. Though you may spend a considerable amount of time with each of your patients, this specialty can still allow you to work with lots of different people. Those who benefit from the services of CRNAs include laboring women, trauma victims, and people of all ages who are undergoing surgical procedures.
If you're ready to delve into the world of anesthesia and learn about how to properly administer pain relief to patients with varying medical needs, you may want to start looking into CRNA programs in Colorado. Earning a Master's degree in nurse anesthesia can put you in the position to become an in-demand anesthesia professional in Colorado. Contact local schools to get started.
It's important to note that CRNA programs in Colorado can be fairly competitive, so it may be worth your time to be highly detailed on your application to make it as strong as possible. Work experience is required—typically one to three years in an acute care setting. Furthermore, you may need to have a strong reputation at your place of employment, as some schools require letters of recommendation from employers and coworkers. This is, of course, in addition to a BSN from an accredited school. Generally speaking, working hard at school and as an RN can show your dedication to nursing and your desire to further your education in the industry.
When you start the curriculum for your CRNA degree, you may start with core nursing courses that introduce you to the world of advanced practice nursing. Courses in this category include Pathophysiology in Advanced Practice Nursing, Foundations of Advanced Nursing Practice, and Theory & Concept Analysis in Nursing. You may also take courses in nursing assessment and pharmacology, both of which often require clinical hours or lab hours.
As you approach the second year of your program, you may start focusing exclusively on nurse anesthesia courses. These classes teach you specifically about the pharmacology of narcotics and pain relief, give you the proper tools and techniques for the administration of anesthesia, and test your knowledge in a clinical setting. You may take classes like Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia, Clinical Physiology & Anesthetic Applications, Advanced Pharmacology for Nurse Anesthesia, and Nurse Anesthesia Clinical Residency. In total, these courses total 60 to 70 credits. Most Colorado CRNA programs last about 28 months.
As a CRNA student, you may qualify for multiple scholarships across Colorado. The Colorado Nurses Association is a good resource, as are the Friends of Nursing in Colorado. The Central Colorado AHEC offers awards to those who are willing to stay and work in Colorado after graduation.
Once you have completed your nurse anesthesia program and earned the appropriate amount of clinical experience, it's time to begin the licensure process. If you've maintained your RN licensure throughout your education, this process may be easier for you. Otherwise, you must apply for an RN license and then start the CRNA process. The Colorado Board of Nursing requires CRNAs to pass a national certification exam and fill our an advanced license application. You may need to submit several types of documentation, including an official transcript, a letter from your school, and a background check.
In Colorado, you may find that the job outlook for nurse anesthetists is fairly positive. In the years from 2012 to 2022, O*Net anticipates a 21 percent increase in CRNA job openings. This is in line with job growth expected across the country (O*Net, 2012).
Salaries for Colorado nursing professionals tend to be slightly higher than the national average. O*Net reports that the average salary for a Colorado nurse anesthetist is $167,700 per year, which is over $16,000 higher than the national average.
If you are passionate about the field of nursing and about your patients, becoming a nurse anesthetist may be the best thing to ever happen to your career. Your advanced knowledge may contribute to better patient outcomes, higher rates of patient satisfaction, and a renewed interest in advanced education amongst other nurses.
Are you ready to find out what becoming a CRNA can do for you? Get started now by contacting CRNA programs in Colorado you find listed on our site.