Perianesthesia Nurse: Salary, Job Description & Certification

Perianesthesia nurses primarily work in hospitals and are involved with caring for patients before, during and after surgical procedures. This article explores their specific role and responsibilities, as well as the certification options for this career.

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Career Definition of a Perianesthesia Nurse

Perianesthesia nurses work with patients who are receiving anesthesia for surgical procedures. They ensure patients are ready to receive anesthesia. They also observe them during surgical procedures. After surgery they continue to monitor patients. Their role is to identify any side effects patients experience from anesthesia.

Once patients start to wake up after surgery the perianesthesia nurse will talk to them. They ensure that patients remain calm. They may give patients medication if they are in pain. Perianesthesia nurses are qualified to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other life-saving procedures if patients have serious complications from anesthesia. These nurses also keep other medical professionals informed of any concerns about a patient's condition. They arrange to have patients transported to other hospital rooms and ensure patients know how to care for themselves following their procedure.

Educational Requirements Diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree; license; experience; certification
Job Skills Level-headed, observation skills, attention to detail, analytical skills, decision-making skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills
Median Salary (2016)* $160,270 (for all nurse anesthetists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 16% (for all nurse anesthetists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Perianesthia nurses must be registered nurses. This means that they must earn a postsecondary diploma, associate's degree or bachelor's degree in nursing and have a valid nursing license. Perianesthia nurses must also be certified. In order to qualify for certification they must gain practical experience. Perianesthesia nurses may pass an exam to become a Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse (CPAN) or a Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse (CAPA).

Required Skills

Perianesthesia nurses need to have excellent observation skills and must pay attention to details to note any changes in a patient's condition that might be cause for concern. They need strong communication skills so that they can talk to patients when they are waking up and prepare them to be discharged or transferred. They also need to have good decision-making skills in order to respond effectively to potential medical emergencies.

Career Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that from 2016 to 2026 all nurse anesthetists would see jobs increase by 16%. The BLS also reported that nurse anesthetists earned a median annual salary of $160,270 in 2016.

Related Careers

Those considering a career as a perianesthesia nurse may also be interested in other nursing specialties, such as being a surgical nurse or a hospice nurse, or other medical careers involving anesthesia. Learn more about some similar career options through the articles linked to here.

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