Health care is in a state of change right now, particularly in rural southern states like Louisiana. Here, a growing number of people finally have access to the health care they need, but growth in health care occupations isn't keeping up with patient demand. As a registered nurse, you may be in a great position to take your education to the next level and explore advanced nursing career opportunities. Nurse anesthetists, who provide anesthesia services to people in different medical situations, are often touted as a way to minimize health care costs and improve patient outcomes. If you have a bachelor's degree in nursing and a few years of nursing experience, you might be interested in learning more about this career option. Contact those schools that offer CRNA programs to learn more about your options today.
If you are confident in your nursing skills, becoming a nurse anesthetist may allow you to practice more independently and give you the freedom to make important clinical decisions. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists reports that CRNAs often work autonomously and command professional respect within the nursing field. The first step to becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist is learning more about this degree option and reaching out to CRNA schools in Louisiana for detailed program information.
CRNA programs in Louisiana are meant to prepare you for practice in many different settings. As a result, you may need to prove yourself in several different ways before you can be considered for admission to a nurse anesthetist program. A Bachelor's degree in nursing is a core requirement, unless you are looking into an RN-to-MSN program that focuses on nurse anesthesia. You must also have at least one year of work experience in a critical care setting. Emergency room experience may be beneficial, as well as ICU or OR nursing knowledge. You may have to demonstrate your dedication to the field of nursing through essays, employer and peer letters of recommendation, and proof of strong academic performance.
Learning outcomes are a major way that instructors may assess your performance as you move through a CRNA program. As you progress, you should demonstrate growth in clinical decision making and show that you can act as a leader in a nursing field. Instructors may look at your ability to integrate nursing research into your practice, while also verifying that you can work effectively and ethically with different health care providers. Clinical work is a major route to meeting these learning goals. At minimum, you must work with over 550 patients, although many schools provide even more hands-on experience.
The courses you take are tailored to the learning outcomes of your nursing school. Courses that may occur early in your CRNA curriculum may include Nursing Research Design, Structure and Function for Advanced Nursing Practice, and Professional Aspects of Anesthesia. As you build up your body of experience and knowledge, you may move on to courses like Principles of Anesthesia Practice, Pharmacology of Anesthesia Drugs, Advanced Physical Assessment, and Disease Processes for Advanced Practice.
Applying for scholarships and grants is a popular way to make your tuition money go a little farther. The NURSE Corps Scholarship is well-suited to students that agree to work in a medically underserved area. You may also wish to apply for scholarships after joining the Louisiana Association of Student Nurses. The Louisiana State Nurses Association funds numerous scholarships for advanced nursing students.
The field of nurse anesthesia is highly regulated across the country, so you may have to go through a somewhat complicated licensing procedure before you begin working as a CRNA in Louisiana. The first step is applying for certification, which occurs on a national level through the National Board of Certification & Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists. They verify that you have a degree from an approved school and administer a thorough nurse anesthesia exam. Upon successfully passing this exam, you can become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. The next step requires you to go to the Louisiana State Board of Nursing for your state-level license. You can submit proof of certification through the NBCRNA, your school transcripts, and a completed application. Once they approve your application, they can license you as a nurse anesthetist.
Job openings for nurse anesthetists are increasing in Louisiana, much like they are in most parts of the country. O*Net believes that job openings in this field may increase by 16 percent between 2012 and 2022, leading to roughly 50 new jobs in the state per year.
As a nurse anesthetist, you may find that you can earn a competitive range of salaries. In fact, nurse anesthesia is often regarded as the highest-paying nursing specialty. The full reported salary range goes from $98,800 per year to $187,200 per year (O*Net, 2013). The average salary for a Louisiana nurse anesthetist is $143,000 per year (O*Net, 2013).
It's important to stay on top of changes, developments, and expectations within your field if you want to stay relevant. That's why the NBCRNA has stringent continuing education requirements. You must complete 40 units of approved continuing education each year before you renew your certification. This helps you stay informed of new techniques, ongoing research, and legislative changes in Louisiana.
Becoming a nurse anesthetist can be a great way to impact the nursing field, reach patients in a positive way, and explore an advanced career option. Contact CRNA schools in Louisiana to explore this career further.