There are so many great things about being a nurse anesthetist. Apart from the high salary, you will also have the chance to work in different healthcare settings. You can apply for a job at the hospital or you can be more adventurous and become a military nurse anesthetist.
Now, for you to actually become a skilled CRNA, choosing the best nurse anesthetist programs is necessary. Without the right foundation and skills, you won’t be able to get the job done properly and safely.
For you to have your CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist) degree, there are few requirements you need to fulfill first. These include passing the NCLEX-RN and rendering your services to an acute/critical care unit for at least one year. Once you accomplish these things, choosing the best nurse anesthetist program will be the next in line.
For the record, there are currently very few graduate programs in the US that offer CRNA degrees and all of them have very strict requirements. As anyone can expect, nurse anesthetist education is both expensive and time-consuming. It takes 2 to 3 years to complete.
This is why choosing the best nurse anesthetist program is one of the most crucial decisions you can make from the get-go.
Here are four practical reminders to make sure you end up with the best nurse anesthetist program:
Tip # 1: Ensure that the nurse anesthetist program combines theory and practical application
Nurse anesthetists are among the highest-paid professionals in the health care sector. But along with the huge paycheck comes the burden of responsibility.
This is because nurse anesthetists are tasked to administer precise amounts of anesthesia to operative patients. They are also responsible for monitoring the patient’s health status before, during, and after drug administration.
So, it goes without saying that the quality of training you receive can make or break your CRNA career.
To have an idea of how reliable a training program is, review the most recent research projects of the school/hospital. Also, ask previous graduates on how comprehensive the training program can become.
An ideal nurse anesthetist program should combine theory with practice. By doing so, it will not only protect the reputation of the CRNA but ensure safety for the patients as well.
Tip # 2: Find out if it is accredited by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)
Make sure that the hospital or educational institution offering the program has the go signal from national organizations. The AANA/CANAEP is responsible for issuing accreditation to nurse anesthetist programs all over the US.
Please take note that the accredited programs are grouped according to US states. In addition to that, some programs may be marketed under a hospital name although they are actually offered by a university.
Tip # 3: Choose nurse anesthetist programs offered by schools with a proven track record
At this point, you should already have a list of potential nurse anesthesia programs that suit your needs and location. To trim down your choices, do a background check on the schools offering the program. Ask recent graduates and review the school’s track records.
To help you out, here’s a list of some of the best nurse anesthetist schools in the US as ranked US News and World Report.
Tip # 4: Remember the three main indicators of a good nurse anesthetist program
Nurse anesthetist program is one of the toughest graduate programs for registered nurses. These programs have three major characteristics:
- There are fewer schools offering them compared to other nursing specialty tracks
- Admission to the program is very competitive as candidates must hold a BSN degree in addition to at least 1-year clinical experience in an acute care setting
- Nurse anesthetist programs are full-time in nature (minimum of 2 years)
So far, no US program is offering the specialty course through a distance learning. Some subjects can be offered online but most of the time, students are required to do hands-on training.
Tip # 5: Determine the cost of completing a CRNA program
CRNA programs can be quite expensive. While some of them may be offered for free, others can cost as much as $100,000.
If you are picking a CRNA program, find one that meets your budget. Remember, apart from tuition fees, you also have to consider the cost of transportation, school supplies, housing, and food.
It’s also ideal to look at the scholarships and financial aid available. You may also want to look into getting a student loan.