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Penn Nursing > Nurse Anesthesia Program > Why Become A CRNA

Nurse Anesthesia Program
Why become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist?

What is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)?

Nurses have been delivering anesthesia care to patients since the creation of the science of anesthesiology in the late 1800s. Since then, nurse anesthetists have collaborated with physicians and surgeons to deliver anesthesia care to patients of all ages for nearly 150 years.

They work with patients to assess, diagnose, manage, evaluate and educate, to implement a plan of care to best meet individual needs. Nurse Anesthetists have a unique approach to patient care, grounded in a nursing perspective. The approach acknowledges the blend of pharmacology and physiology. But most importantly, it provides care for individuals in their time of vulnerability and need.  As patient advocates, CRNAs provide emotional support while collaborating with other health care practitioners to optimize the anesthetic experience.

CRNAs are advanced practice nurses. They work with a high degree of autonomy and professional respect, and their salaries reflect their added responsibility.   

There is a great demand for Nurse Anesthetists. They are sought after for all types of surgical specialties including Cardiothoracic, Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and Trauma. They are recruited for a wide variety of practice settings, and geographical locations, as well as for research, policy making, and education.

According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), CRNAs are the primary anesthesia providers in rural areas, making it possible for healthcare facilities in medically underserved areas to offer access to obstetrical, surgical, and trauma stabilization services. In some regions, CRNAs are the sole providers in nearly 100% of the rural hospitals.



"Penn’s nurse anesthesia program affords students with autonomy, great regional experience, and a vast array of large cases you will not see anywhere else.  The didactic and clinical experiences prepare you to make a comfortable transition from SRNA to a CRNA." 

Shana Gliniecki, CRNA Class of 2006


Learn more about CRNA careers, by visiting:

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
The Pennsylvania Association of the AANA