Advocacy in Nurse Anesthesia: For Our Patients, and the Profession

CRNA week graphic that reads, "Every breath. Every beat. Every second. We are there. Celebrate National CRNA Week. January 20-26, 2019."

Nurses first provided anesthesia care in the United States during the Civil War. Our profession of nurse anesthesia has grown to over 53,000 professional certified registered nurse anesthetists and student nurse anesthetists nationwide.

For the Record

It is important to be an advocate for our profession as we provide safe, quality, accessible anesthesia care. Our record speaks volumes for the professional services we offer on a daily basis. The education behind a CRNA not only requires an intensive care nursing background, but a rigorous didactic and clinical curriculum.

By 2022, all Nurse Anesthesia Programs will have fulfilled the requirements for a Doctoral degree. This includes a research-intensive, evidence-based best practice focus, both in and out of the classroom.  With a great need for anesthesia services, CRNAs provide a full scope of anesthesia services, including regional, general and sedation anesthesia. 

The Cost of Health Care

Rising health care costs and the increased need for anesthesia services demands nurse anesthetists as a solution. We provide over 95 percent of rural anesthesia needs in the U.S. and are an integral part of the anesthesia team within all health care institutions, such as out-patient ambulatory centers, suburban and urban hospitals, and pain management centers.

Many Americans would not have access to anesthesia services if it wasn’t for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists because of our availability, accessibility and safety record. Our presence in the braches of the U.S. military is beyond necessary, sacrificing for freedom and democracy around the world, providing the care necessary to our service men and women.

The Profession of Nursing

As one of the most trustworthy professions, our nursing background places us at a significant advantage for caring for patients within the holistic model. This includes evidence-based research, standards of care, and the totality of the patient‘s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. CRNAs work tirelessly taking on the responsibility of anesthetizing not only the routine day-to-day needs of our patients, but the complex advanced disease processes and unknowing challenges of unexpected traumas. Across the lifespan, we care for all individuals no matter race, creed, friend or foe.  

Advocacy for nurse anesthesia is not just about identifying our profession. It is educating others on who we are, where we’ve been, and what we have to offer. It is defining our place in health care to influence positive outcomes, provide service to others, and improve the overall wellbeing of our community with our knowledge and art of anesthesia.

As we start off CRNA Week 2019, we proudly proclaim:

Every Breath, Every Beat, And Every Second: WE ARE THERE!

Congratulations to my fellow colleagues and grad students,

Cheryl Spulecki, DNAP, ACNP, CRNA
Clinical Assistant Professor, University at Buffalo School of Nursing
Immediate Past President, New York State Association of Nurse Anesthetists

Current Bills Impacting CRNA Practice in NYS*

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