In the most basic terms, an anesthetist is a nurse and anesthesiologist is a doctor. Both anesthetist and anesthesiologist put patients under anesthesia for surgical requirements but according to medical associations and state laws, there are some specific kinds of surgeries where only anesthesiologists or medical doctors might be needed.
Anesthetists vs. Anesthesiologists
Educational Differences – Anesthetists are nurses who finish a nursing degree and obtain their Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist licensure, lasting for a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 4 years. On top of that, these registered nurses finish a training program of 2 years (requirement is 1 year), pass the certification exam and get certified. Anesthesiologists, on the other hand, are licensed doctors who finish their medical school degree like most other doctors. During their pre-med, they do some amount of undergrad work and later get their medical degrees in the field of anesthesia.
Practice Differences – While the process of putting a patient under anesthesia might be the same for both anesthetists and anesthesiologists, there are practical differences in the professions of both in certain states. In some states, the law requires a medical doctor to be present while the anesthetist administers anesthesia. Anesthesiologists have no such regulations and requirements. This is why it is common for anesthetist nurses to administer anesthesia in clinics and practices where they routinely work while anesthesiologists tend to move between various facilities during their work.
Facility Differences – Anesthetists are most often seen in small clinics, small hospitals and small surgical practices because of cost factors. Anesthesiologists are pretty common in big hospitals and large facilities because there services are needed regularly and these hospitals also deal with various complex cases where an anesthesiologist might be more appropriate.
In terms of safety standards, the records for both anesthetists and anesthesiologists are similar according to various studies. A 2010 article on Boston.com by Elizabeth Cooney noted this which led to about 14 states calling for change or opting out of the law that states anesthetists need to be supervised by a medical doctor while administering anesthesia for the purpose of Medicare coverage. While the care of an anesthetist should rival that of an anesthesiologist, it may be a wise for an anesthetist to be surprised when providing anesthesia for a patient with Aspergers or Autism.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) need malpractice insurance. CRNAs have work duties during surgical procedures that make them responsible for a patient’s vital functions and pain levels, while sedated. Nurse anesthetists must be careful to calculate the precise dosage of anesthetic medicines. Nurse anesthetics hold patient’s lives in their hands. There is a higher liability risk when dealing with patients ,both before, during, and after surgery. It is possible that there may be a complication and a nurse anesthetist gets sued. Of course it is possible to get sued without anything having gone wrong. Hence, nurse anesthetists need to have malpractice insurance while practicing. The main reason is to provide legal defense for a complaint against a nurse anesthetic’s license.
Employee Covered Malpractice Insurance
Nurse anesthetics can be covered by an individual coverage or by an employer’s policy. Most employers will provide nurse anesthetists with malpractice insurance. The malpractice insurance covered by an employer may or may not be enough. However, every employer will have loyalty to its organization or institution. In case of a claim, an employer’s policy will not have a nurse anesthetic’s interest at heart. The majority of nurse anesthetics have not even seen their employer’s policy. Those without their own personal malpractice insurance can find themselves unaware of final dispositions. It is therefore recommended that nurse anesthetists purchase their own malpractice insurance. Malpractice insurance is important if a nurse anesthetic has a claim made and needs legal representation. The best investment a nurse anesthetist can make is on themselves, by purchasing their own malpractice insurance to protect their license.
Regardless of who purchases the malpractice insurance nurse anesthetics need it. Nurse anesthetics should also have knowledge of malpractice insurance. Nurse anesthetics must understand malpractice insurance to protect their practice and assets. A malpractice insurance policy allows nurse anesthetics to work in a limitless number of hours. There are various different aspects of malpractice insurance one must consider. Things to consider include which insurer to select, types of policies, and liability limits. All of these factors will play an important role if there is ever a claim made.
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.