When it comes to nursing, there are over a dozen specialties and advanced nursing fields that you can study if you have a bachelor's degree in nursing. One of the fastest-growing nursing specialties in the United States is nurse anesthesia. This specialty, which allows practitioners to offer cost-effective, efficient pain relief to patients, is particularly useful in states like Maryland where people tend to rely on the services of small hospitals and clinics.
Nurse anesthesia is a field that has existed in some form since the 1800s, when doctors realized that having a medical professional dedicated strictly to anesthesia could improve patient outcomes and lower the risk of infection. Nurses, as professionals in patient care and medical care, were the natural choice. Now, this is a licensed field that requires a Master's degree and permits you to work independently in many different care settings.
This may be the next logical step in your nursing career if you are ready to work hard at a master's degree, delve into the pharmacology of pain medications, and perfect a variety of anesthetic techniques. If you think you would be a good fit for a career in nurse anesthesia, contact nurse anesthetist schools in Maryland today.
Looking over the admissions requirements for CRNA programs in Maryland may be intimidating, but you likely already meet some of the items on the list. You must have a Bachelor's degree in nursing, during which you should have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Generally, the higher your nursing GPA is, the more qualified you may be for a CRNA program. The type of work experience you have is equally important. Typically, schools insist on at least one year of experience, although more selective schools may ask for up to three years. This experience should be in a relevant setting, such as an emergency room or trauma ward.
It's essential to plan appropriately for your new degree. A MSN in nurse anesthesia takes approximately three years of full-time study, including summers. Upon graduation, you should have more than 50 credits in nursing theory, clinical anesthesia practice, and leadership coursework. Some of your time may be spent in the laboratory, working with different types of anesthesia and other medications. Clinical experience is, of course, absolutely crucial. You need to work with more than 550 patients throughout the course of your education to be eligible for nurse anesthesia certification.
The courses required in this advanced program can help you develop skills in anesthesia, pharmacology, physiology, nursing ethics, and Maryland standards. Early courses in your curriculum may include Pathophysiology for Advanced Nursing, Basic Principles of Anesthesia, Applied Physiology, and Advanced Pharmacology. These courses lay the groundwork for advanced anesthesia courses like Applied Pharmacology, Advanced Principles of Nurse Anesthesia, and Ethics in Advanced Nursing Practice.
When you have been accepted to a nurse anesthesia program, you can begin applying for scholarships and grants in Maryland. The Maryland Nurses Association offers information on several different financial aid options, although you may need to join the association to be able to apply for scholarships. MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center is a local employer that funds grants for employees and nursing students. The Maryland Higher Education Commission offers financial aid awards to those that take on a service obligation in Maryland.
As you get involved in this field and start looking for job openings, you may find that the job outlook is stable for Maryland nurse anesthetists. O*Net reports an anticipated 6% increase in nurse anesthetist jobs from 2012 to 2022.
In addition, you may earn a range of competitive salaries as a nurse anesthetist. O*Net reports that the average salary for a nurse anesthetist in Maryland is $184,300 per year, which is over $30,000 higher than the national average. Those at the top 10 percent of the pay scale earn more than $187,200 per year (O*Net, 2013).
Nurse anesthetists have access to many professional resources in Maryland. The Maryland Association of Nurse Anesthetists serves as a professional organization for CRNAs at different levels of experience. As a member of this group, you may be able to attend continuing education events, take part in networking meetings, get legislative updates, and learn about new employment opportunities.
Of course, you must meet Maryland's licensure and certification standards before you can start working as a nurse anesthetist. When you graduate from your CRNA program, you can apply to take the CRNA exam, which is administered by the National Board of Certification & Recertification in Nurse Anesthetists. Passing this exam allows you to apply for a Maryland license through the Maryland Board of Nursing. You must submit an application for advanced practice licensure and provide proof of your educational accomplishments.
If you're ready to make a difference in Maryland nursing, becoming a nurse anesthetist may be the way to do it. Health care is expensive, but advanced nursing professionals can make it more affordable for people of all budgets.
With nursing growing every day, now may be the right time to start your education. Reach out to CRNA schools in Maryland to get started.