The difference between a registered nurse and a nurse anesthetist

What is the difference between a registered nurse and nurse anesthetist ?

Registered nurses (RNs) are among the most versatile and valuable professionals in the health care system. They are the health care equivalent of a Swiss army knife, with training that gives them the intellectual tools to play a supporting or leadership role in almost any area of clinical care. More ambitious nurses can acquire the education and additional skills to become advanced practice nurses, such as certified nurse anesthetists or CRNA.

nurse difference

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses enter the profession by acquiring a bachelor’s degree in nursing and passing a national licensing exam. Their role in most health care organizations begins with basic patient care, at the basic level. Motivated nurses can achieve progress through time and experience, gradually focusing on management or areas of clinical practice of special interest. For example, some become perioperative nurses and spend their time caring for surgical patients. Others may opt for pediatrics or oncology. A handful pursues a master’s degree or a doctorate in nursing, becoming advanced practice nurses.

Nurse training

There are three educational paths to becoming a nurse. One way is to have a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing science from an accredited university. The second way is to attend a community college for two to three years and obtain an associate’s degree in nursing. Some hospitals, as a third option, offer a three-year certification program like Certified Cursing Assistant Practice Test. To be a plant nurse, you are eligible after completing your education and becoming a graduate.

Nurse certified anesthetists

Certified nurse anesthetists are one of the four categories of advanced practice nurses, along with nurse-midwives, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists. CRNAs earn a master’s degree in anesthesia and can provide full anesthesia services during surgical procedures without the supervision of a physician. They are responsible for supervising the patient’s condition while under anesthesia, preparing patients for anesthesia, and contributing their knowledge about pain management during patient recovery. Outside of anesthesia services, CRNAs are limited to nursing practice, while anesthetists, being doctors, often treat cardiopulmonary diseases and other medical conditions.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average annual income of $ 69,110 for registered nurses, as of May 2011. Separated by percentages, 25% of nurses with lower incomes earned up to $ 53.77 thousand per year. The median income, or middle point, was $ 65,950 per year, and the top 25 percent reported income of $ 80,390 or more. However, nurse anesthetists are in a totally different salary range. The medical staff firm Locum, in a 2011 survey, reported an average salary of $ 168,998 per year for CRNAs. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists reported an average income of $ 182,000 in 2009.

Employment prospects

The health care system employed more than 2.7 million registered nurses in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the number is expected to increase significantly. The agency projects a 26 percent increase in the number of registered nurses between 2010 and 2020, much higher than the average for all occupations. The demand for nurse anesthetists is expected to be even higher, due in large part to the increase in the number of surgical procedures performed in outpatient clinics and clinics. A 2010 article in the Becker’s Hospital Review noted a shortage of 5,000 nurse anesthetists, indicating strong short-term demand as well.

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