Nurse Anesthetist

Job Description


Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) provide safe anesthetics for more than 32 million patients. These advanced practice nurses are a vital part of advanced care teams, such as trauma care, surgical or obstetrical teams in the United States.

They can administer anesthesia of any type and work in every type of practice setting to provide care during any type of operation or procedure, from simple pain management programs to open heart surgical teams.




CRNAs collaborate with other members of the health care team, such as anesthesiologists, surgeons, podiatrists, dentists and others.

Since they are registered nurses capable of advanced practice, CRNAs are given a high degree of professional respect and autonomy.

Anesthesia has been provided to patients by nurse anesthetists for over 125 years in the United States. The practice began with their care of wounded soldiers during the American Civil War.

Today, the United States is home to more than 36,000 nurse anesthetists. While only 8 percent of the nursing profession as a whole is made up of men, approximately 45 percent of the CRNAs in the U.S. are men.

In approximately two-thirds of the rural hospitals in the U.S., CRNAs are the sole providers of anesthesia to the facility’s patients.

This enables these rural health care facilities to offer services they may not otherwise be able to provide, such as obstetrics, surgical and trauma stabilization.

CRNAs are the sole providers of anesthesia services in nearly all of the rural hospitals in some states.





Must know and be able to recall information about drugs and their uses. You must remember what side effects certain drugs have and possible interactions. You must be able to recall everything you learned in school and keep current on practices.

Attention to Detail

Must pay attention. If you get the anesthetic wrong, you could kill somebody. It's important that you strive for perfection and are methodical about your practices.

Math & Science

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Preparing Anesthesia

Must know how to prepare and administer anesthesia.

Drug Knowledge

Must know how most drugs work, what they interact with, side effects, generic names, administration, alternatives, and allergic reactions.


Must possess the skills and ability to communicate with people of all walks of life on any given day.


Working Conditions


CRNAs may be found working in any of the following positions where anesthesia is delivered:

  • Hospital general surgical departments

  • Delivery rooms in obstetrics

  • Critical access hospitals

  • Outpatient and ambulatory treatment centers

  • Dentists offices

  • Podiatrist offices

  • Ophthalmologist offices

  • Plastic surgeons offices

  • Pain management centers

  • U.S. military health care facilities, Veterans’ Affairs and Public Health Service

Job opportunities for CRNAs are expected to be abundant for the foreseeable future. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predicts there to be a significant and growing need for CRNAs in all areas of the country.

Because of the heavy load of responsibility carried by a CRNA, they are generally compensated accordingly. 



Salary Outlook