Though recent legislation has made health care more available and affordable to patients across the United States, many patients still struggle to get the care they need. This is due to a shortage of health care professionals, particularly in rural states like Tennessee. Specialists in the field of anesthesiology may be hard to come by or retain, leaving some patients waiting for lifesaving surgery or other procedures. One piece of the solution to this problem is an increase in the amount of nurse anesthetists, highly-trained nursing professionals that can administer numerous types of anesthesia to patients.
To become a nurse anesthetist, you should already be a registered nurse with some experience in this field. Becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist may put you in a leadership position in the nursing community of Tennessee, so it's important to feel confident in your nursing skills. As you proceed through your education and begin your career, you may work with patients with diverse medical needs. Prior nursing experience can be particularly helpful as you learn about the different specialties served by nurse anesthetists.
To become a nurse anesthetist, you should be willing to get an advanced degree in nursing. If it's time for you to take your bachelor's degree in nursing to the next level, discover how you can become a nurse anesthetist with CRNA programs in Tennessee. Please take some time to request information from the schools you see offering CRNA programs on our site to learn more.
Before you begin the process of applying to nurse anesthesia programs in Tennessee, you must decide which type of advanced nursing degree is right for you. A master's degree is a popular option. CRNA master's degree programs tend to require the completion of 40 to 50 credits, which takes most students about three years of full-time study. If you decide to earn a doctoral degree, you may spend up to six years as a full-time student. This degree tends to require the completion of 50 to 80 credits.
Both program types require you to have a bachelor's degree in nursing before applying. You also need at least one year of full-time nursing experience. Some schools may have even more specific requirements, as they require students to have worked in critical care, emergency care, or trauma nursing.
Your curriculum should help you develop a strong knowledge of nursing theory, build on what you already know from prior nursing coursework, and build up your practical nurse anesthesia skills. Core courses include Basic Principles of Nurse Anesthesia, Pharmacokinetics & Dynamics of Anesthetic Agents, and Chemistry & Physics for Anesthesia. Some of the more advanced courses that may be part of your curriculum include Advanced Principles of Anesthesia, Clinical Practice, Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics, Epidemiology for Health Professions, and Pathophysiology of Human Disease.
A variety of nursing scholarships and grants are available through Tennessee nursing employers, schools, and associations. School-specific scholarships include the Elizabeth Club Scholarship, the Marie E. Buckley Scholarship, and the Absher Memorial Scholarship. The Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program is provided by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation. You may get assistance with loan repayment by agreeing to work in Tennessee. If you live in the eastern part of Tennessee, consider looking for financial aid through the East Tennessee Foundation Scholarship. There are several scholarships specifically for nursing students.
Once you have completed your nurse anesthetist degree, you're probably very excited to start your career and begin working with patients in anesthesia. However, you do have to meet the licensing standards of Tennessee to call yourself a nurse anesthetist. Before you get licensed in Tennessee, you can get your national certification through the National Board of Certification & Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.They administer a rigorous anesthesia exam, and upon passing that exam, you can become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Getting this professional title qualifies you for advanced licensure through the Tennessee Board of Nursing. With a passing test score and a filled out application, you can turn your registered nursing license into an advanced practice nursing license.
Tennessee may be a great place to begin your CRNA career. The demand for nurse anesthetists is high across the country, but it's particularly high in Tennessee. From 2012 to 2022, O*Net anticipates a 32 percent increase in nurse anesthetist jobs. This job growth rate is 7 percent higher than the national average (O*Net, 2012). In general, nursing salaries in Tennessee are fairly similar to those reported across the country. O*Net reports that nurse anesthetists earn an average salary of $136,600 per year in Tennessee (O*Net, 2013).
Even if you've been in the nursing field for years, it can be intimidating to take on a new role and get started in a new specialty. You may want to give yourself a boost by joining the Tennessee Association of Nurse Anesthetists. You may learn more about what is expected of nurse anesthetists in Tennessee, network with those who are established in their nurse anesthesia careers, and attend continuing education events to get more out of your career. Furthermore, this group may provide you with legislative updates that affect the field of nurse anesthesia.
Now could be the right time to advance your nursing career. If you want to learn more about nurse anesthesia programs in your area, contact CRNA schools in Tennessee to find out what your options are.