Today the Army Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) Program continues its mission establishing its roots during the civil war, with more formal education as our country entered WWI and WWII. The program continues today as our country attends to the current conflicts just as it did with these trained nurses being part of the field maneuvers. The nurses are committed to practicing in every setting where aesthetics are needed, whether our armed forces are at war on battlefields, peace time at health care centers or civil disorder environments. The program nowadays provides education in nursing and medicine, ensuring the administration of anesthesia is delivered consistently the same way at all times.
Over the years CRNAs have been the exclusive support in many rural hospitals, working in under-served facilities and trauma centers in need of these specialized services. During the early 1900s a landmark decision classified the administering of anesthetics as a legal aspect of nursing. Licensed CRNAs are certified to practice their training and required to re-certify every 2 years.
Army CRNA Program Overview
The US Army Programs have educated and certified practicing nurses for over 50 years, preparing these nurses with the necessary knowledge and skill to handle all potential encounters presented on completion of the program. As graduates, over the 36 month program, nurses learn their trade in preparation to pass the certification examination for Nurse Anesthetists. Once the first phase is completed, the next phase of education is a doctoral level of education at one of their CRNA schools, covering unique leadership skills with the ability to make critical decisions, while maintaining quality patient care in all environments.
• First phase involves learning the art and science of nursing anesthesia.
• The next phase is spent in military hospitals and clinical sites, gaining field and regional experience.
The overall educational duty is to educate qualified professionals in the complexities of nursing practices at doctoral levels, proficient in delivering unique anesthesia nursing skills. There are a few distinctions between military installations and civilian institutions – these trained professional graduates must be ready to be deployed when needed
CRNA or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist is a professional that is advanced in nature. In falls in the nursing profession and is a recognized anesthesia specialty. CRNAs were one of the first nursing groups to have a specialty and, as such, the field is a demanding one that has various qualifications and requirements. To become a CRNA, a candidate must fulfill the following requirements.
Basic Requirements to Become a CRNA
- Graduation from COA accredited nurse anesthesia programs or predecessor of the institution is a must.
- BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing and other similar baccalaureate degrees are needed under this.
- Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists’ (or predecessor institutions) certification exam should also be passed.
- CRNAs need to have at least 1 year of experience in critical care as registered nurses.
- Candidates need to be currently registered as a nurse and must possess a current license.
Education of CRNAs
In the US, there are around 114 nurse anesthesia programs that are accredited and various academic institutions are operating these educational programs, many of which are at CRNA schools in Texas. The length of such programs 2 years to 2 ½ years, depending on the requirements of the affiliated University. All these programs start at master’s degree level or above. The system is highly sophisticated and not only offers foundation of graduate level to the students but also prepares them for becoming competent CRNAs with the help of experience in clinical anesthesia.
This clinical training is carried out in large hospitals or the university. Most programs by COA fulfill the basic requirements and go above and beyond them. Additional training, topics, foundations and concepts are also covered.
Re-certification Requirements for CRNAs
For re-certification, CRNAs must finish 40 hours of continued education (approved) every 2 years, maintain licensure, and substantially document anesthesia practice. They must also certify that they haven’t developed and are not suffering from any condition that would stop them from practicing anesthesia effectively and efficiently. These requirements prepare a CRNA candidate to administer anesthesia in clinical support and perianesthetic areas, preanesthetic evaluation and preparation, induction, emergence and maintenance of anesthesia, and care in postanesthesia areas.