Get to know your CRNA - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Get to know your CRNA

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It's a health care job that sometimes is forgotten, quite literally.  Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists joke that it's their job to put people to sleep, but they do want people to know more about their impact on health care.

Nationally, this is CRNA week, an opportunity for these health care providers to get out in the community and introduce themselves to the patients they serve.

Jim Albrecht, with the Wisconsin Association of Nurse Anesthetists, says CRNAs help keep health expenses down and provide much needed care to rural areas, which are often underserved.  CRNAs allow those rural areas to offer obstetrical, surgical, pain management and trauma stabilization services. 

Nurse anesthetists have been providing anesthesia care to patients in the United States for 150 years.  The credential CRNA came into existence in 1956.
 
So who is a CRNA?  Albrecht says they're anesthesia professionals who safely administer more than 34 million anesthetics to patients each year.  In some states, CRNAs are the sole providers in nearly 100 percent of the rural hospitals.  Albrecht says CRNAs are also helping to make anesthesia care safer.
 
CRNAs provide anesthesia in collaboration with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists, and other qualified healthcare professionals. When anesthesia is administered by a nurse anesthetist, it is recognized as the practice of nursing; when administered by an anesthesiologist, it is recognized as the practice of medicine.  They are advanced practice registered nurses and practice with substantial autonomy.
 
CRNAs practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists; and U.S. military, Public Health Services, and Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities.
 
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