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Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

Cynthia Keyfauver

Cynthia Keyfauver, CRNA

Cynthia Keyfauver, CRNA, is a 1996 graduate of the University of Wyoming School of Nursing. She tells directly below why she gravitated toward the nurse anesthetist career and how she prepared for such. Following that paragraph Keyfauver answers other crucial questions for students in regard to CRNA careers.

Why a CRNA career and how did I prepare?...

I am a 1966 grad of the UW School of Nursing. I completed my nursing practicum at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne during my final semester at UW. During the practicum, I had several opportunities to follow an Air Force CRNA. I enjoyed the autonomy and variety that the CRNA had in his day and knew that was the career for me. I served in the US Air Force at Travis Air Force as a critical care RN from 1996-2000. After a few years as a critical care RN at University of Colorado Hospital, I continued my education and received my MS in Nurse Anesthesiology from Albany Medical College in Albany, New York in 2005. Since my graduate education, I worked at McKee Medical Center in Loveland, Colorado for 6 years, then became an independent contractor/locum tenens CRNA in 2012. Since 2012, I have had the opportunity to travel throughout the country as a locum tenens (travel) CRNA.

What is a CRNA?

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are Master's- or Doctorate-prepared advanced practice nurses who enjoy a high degree of autonomy. Nurse anesthetists have been providing anesthesia care to patients in the United States for more than 150 years. There are more than 52,000 CRNAs and student registered nurse anesthetists in the U.S.

Where does a CRNA work?

CRNAs provide anesthetics to patients in many practice settings: operating room, obstetrics, ambulatory surgery centers, office-based (dental, plastic surgery, podiatry, pain management), and the military. CRNAs are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America. CRNAs are also the primary providers of anesthesia to U.S. military personnel on the front lines.

Who do CRNAs work for?

CRNAs may work directly for a hospital, a private anesthesia group consisting of anesthesiologists and CRNAs or CRNA-only groups, an anesthesia management company, or as an independent contractor. Depending on the practice and state, CRNAs may work with or without an anesthesiologist's supervision. In 2001, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) changed the federal physician supervision rule for nurse anesthetists to allow state governors to opt out of this facility reimbursement requirement. There are 17 states that have opted out of the federal supervision requirement, including: Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Kansas, North Dakota, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Montana, South Dakota, Wisconsin, California, Colorado, and Kentucky.

How much does a CRNA make?

The annual CRNA salary is >$150,000 and depends on specialization within the field, location, years of experience, self-employment, and many other factors.

What are the education requirements to apply for a CRNA program?

  • A baccalaureate degree in nursing

  • Registered Nurse licensure

  • A minimum of one year of full-time work experience as a registered nurse in a critical care setting. Most nurse anesthesia programs require at least two years of critical care experience. The majority of programs require the critical care area to be the intensive care unit, but some programs allow emergency room experience, cardiac cath/electrophysiology lab, and PACU.

  • Each program has their own undergraduate course requirements. Some programs require courses such as biochemistry and organic chemistry that may not have been required for your undergraduate degree in nursing.

Where are nurse anesthesia educational programs located?

As of August 2017, there are 120 accredited nurse anesthesia programs in the United States. 62 nursing programs award a doctoral degree. Nurse anesthesia programs range from 24-42 months. Nurse anesthesia programs may be through a school of nursing, medical college, military or hospital. A complete list of programs can be found at Click on CE & Education, then Education, then CRNA School Search.

Story placed: 11/20/2017 


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