One of the benefits of beginning a career in nursing is the fact that you can often advance in your education when you feel ready. If you have a bachelor’s degree in nursing and you would like to take on more responsibility in a clinical setting, you may be interested in pursuing a nurse anesthesia degree in Washington. Nurse anesthetists are an important part of practice in many different hospital wards, including surgery, critical care, and labor and delivery.
Contact the CRNA schools in Washington to learn more about this exciting degree program.
Nurse anesthetists are highly respected advanced nursing professionals that have a range of experience and training. Because of the professional demands of this job, you must have an advanced nursing degree to begin working as a nurse anesthetist. As you complete your education and get established in your career, you may work with many different health care professionals, including anesthesiologists, surgeons, general practitioners, and nurse practitioners. In addition, you may take on a leadership role in your field of specialty, particularly with other nursing professionals. Because of these expectations, you should be cool under pressure, able to respond quickly to intense situations, and ready to jump into a leadership role.
Learning more about the field of nurse anesthesia can help you decide whether or not this is the right career for you. Keep reading to find out more about CRNA programs in Washington, then request program information from the schools you are interested in.
If you are considering becoming a nurse anesthetist, it is important to choose the right type of degree for your professional goals. Some students choose to earn a master’s degree, which takes between two and three years. This type of degree typically includes about 50 credits. If you want more experience, you may opt for a doctoral degree. You should plan on spending about five years in school to earn this degree, since you may earn close to 90 credits.
Whichever degree you decide is right for you, you must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Furthermore, you must have a valid nursing license in the state of Washington.
When you first get into your nurse anesthesia courses, you may start by taking core courses that give you experience in different advanced nursing roles. Courses in this category include Basic Principles of Anesthesia, Advanced Health Assessment, Chemistry & Physics for Anesthesia, and Advanced Pathophysiology. As you progress through your degree program and gain experience, you may take classes like Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics, Advanced Principles of Anesthesia, Epidemiology for Health Professions, and Clinical Practice in Nurse Anesthesia. The further you get in your degree program, the more time you may spend in a clinical setting. At minimum, you must complete 550 hours of clinical experience. However, quite a few schools exceed this requirement.
Applying for financial aid can be a good way to save money on your educational expenses and avoid taking out additional student loans, which may be particularly helpful if you are carrying student debt from your first degree. If you currently work as a registered nurse, you may wish to find out if your employer offers scholarships or tuition assistance for returning students. Washington offers quite a bit of financial support to its nursing students. The Washington Center for Nursing awards multiple scholarships each year to deserving students. If you join the Nursing Students of Washington State, you may be able to apply for several scholarships that they offer. The Washington State Nurses Foundation is also a popular local scholarship resource.
Once you’ve completed the impressive task of earning your nurse anesthesia degree, it is time to become licensed to work in this new setting. The first step is getting national certification, which lays the groundwork for you to become licensed in all 50 states. You must apply to take the national certification exam through the National Board of Certification & Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists. After you provide proof of your degree from an accredited school and pass your certification exam, you may then earn the title of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. From there, you can submit an application and proof of your certification status to the Washington State Department of Health, which oversees nurse licensing. After they send you your advanced practice license, you may officially begin practicing as a nurse anesthetist in the state of Washington.
As noted earlier, Washington offers quite a bit of support to its nursing professionals, including nurse anesthetists. The Washington Association of Nurse Anesthetists is one of the largest professional organizations for nurse anesthetists in the entire country. Joining this group may give you access to numerous career benefits, including continuing education courses, networking events, seminars, legislative advocacy, and legislative updates.
Washington may see a significant need for nurse anesthetists for several years to come. Through the year 2022, O*Net anticipates a 20 percent increase in CRNA jobs. Their estimates show that nurse anesthetists in this state earn an average of $165,300 per year (O*Net, 2013).
Nurse anesthesia may be the right field for you if you're ready to take charge in Washington’s health care industry. Learn more by contacting CRNA schools today.