Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) are advanced practice nurses who administer anesthesia to patients during medical procedures. They are specially trained to interpret tests to determine how the anesthetics will affect the patient. CRNAs are also responsible for monitoring the patient’s vital signs before, during and after the procedure to make sure they recover from the anesthesia.
Nurse anesthetists can work with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists and other health professionals. They typically serve as part of the surgical team in hospital operating rooms, but may also work in dental offices, birthing centers and surgical centers. CRNAs keep a regular work week and have the option for night, weekend or on-call hours. In most states, they must work under the supervision of a physician, but Iowa allows them to practice independently.
A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree, licensure as a registered nurse and at least one year of critical care nursing experience are required to become a CRNA. Nurse anesthesia programs last two to three years and lead to a master’s or doctorate degree.
The University of Iowa is the only school in the state that has a nurse anesthetist program. It offers both a master's degree and a doctorate.
Licensure and Certification
Graduates of accredited programs must pass a national certification exam through the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) to practice.
Career Outlook Map of Iowa
There are not a lot of nurse anesthetist positions available in Iowa, but the field is expected to grow by 9%.