Master's degree programs in nurse anesthesia train aspiring nurse anesthetists to work with patients and support anesthesiologists before, during, and after the administration of anesthesia. They learn to monitor vital signs and administer various forms of anesthesia in different medical situations. These programs include both theoretical coursework and clinical practica, where student gain hands-on experience working under the supervision of professionals in the field.
Applicants to master's degree programs in nurse anesthesia must possess a bachelor's degree in nursing or a related field. In addition, they must have an active registered nurse (RN) license. Most programs prefer applicants who have professional nursing experience in a critical care environment. Students must also submit letters of recommendation or professional references.
Master's Degree in Nurse Anesthesia
Common course topics in these programs include:
- Principles of anesthesia
- Anesthesia pharmacology
- Anatomy and physiology for nurse anesthesia
- Special issues in anesthesia
- Legal issues in nurse anesthesia
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Roughly 39,410 nurse anesthetists were employed in 2015, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). In May 2015, the BLS reported that nurse anesthetists earned a median annual wage of $157,140. Employment for all RNs is expected to grow 16% between 2014 and 2024.
Continuing Education Information
Certification has been required for nurse anesthetists since 1945, with 40,000 of the 44,000 nurse anesthetists in the United States being certified by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA). In order to take the AANA certification exam, , students must hold a registered nurse (RN) license, accumulate at least one year of professional nursing experience in an acute care environment, and graduate from a master's degree program in nurse anesthesia.
In conclusion, experienced nurses can direct their careers toward anesthesia by earning a master's degree in the field. With the theoretical and practical training that these program offer, students gain the necessary preparation for professional certification in the field.