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CRNA's And AA's Straight Talk

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JCole View Drop Down
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Joined: 03 Oct 2007
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    Posted: 27 Aug 2009 at 10:31pm
CRNA's And AA's Straight Talk

I am currently working on my FNP with the goal of working in Pain Management. However, I have learned to keep my options open [few mid-levels are used in Pain around these parts] and mid-level anesthesia is always appealing. But since I work in Pain management now, I would have to quit my job and work a year in the ICU if I decided to go to CRNA school.

No thanks. I fail to see how a year of "total patient care" prepares me to work as a mid-level anesthesia provider!

As for an accelerated BSN program not stacking up to a four year BSN program, you are absolutely correct. All of the basic sciences classes were prerequisites to get into the program, so instead my one year was spent entirely on nursing. For me, it was boring. The basic sciences I took in my first bachelor's degree was more exciting.

Now with the program at UMKC, the situation should be different. From what I was told initially, the students in the CRNA program and those from the AA program will probably take the same classes [cue westside story music]. So yes, I could do either the CRNA or AA program and be confident that I am getting a solid basic science foundation. Good news, since that was one of my major concerns.

But in addition to the ICU requirement, my other issue is with CRNA advocacy. When nurses in the state attempt to block legislation that would allow AA's to practice in the face of the growing shortage of anesthesia providers, it is appalling. What's even worse is that these groups argue that AA's lack the necessary training because they don't have experience on the floor as nurses.

I am not saying that Anesthesiologist Assistant's are better than CRNA's just because I said in my experience, premed classes were harder and higher-level than nursing classes I took [or were required for my program]. After all, is the area where I am at, AA's and CRNA's take pretty much the same basic science classes at UMKC. What I am saying is that I would rather gain experience performing mid-level anesthesia by actually performing mid-level anesthesia [versus working as a nurse in the ICU]. In addition, I also strongly believe that in our country, we vote with our dollar. I find the actions of the nursing groups that actively attempt to block the practice of AA's disgraceful, thus I would rather spend my money and effort in a manner that reflects my values and ethics.


you hit the nail on the head. I wish you where in my class this upcoming June. As a newly accepted Anesthesiologist Assistant student I also feel that the tactics being used by the AANA are deplorable. In contrast it feels real good as a professional to be supported by an organization like AnestaWeb, Inc. that in the face of constant negativity has consistently taken the high road. I have followed both professions very closely over the last 2 years and have rarely if ever seen the AA profession take a swipe at nurses or CRNA's. Yet it seems like the leadership at the AANA never hesitates to put down a fellow anesthetist.

True story, I was out a few months ago enjoying the great nightlife down here in South Florida. I bumped into an old coworker who had become a pediatric nurse and was working at University of Miami - Jackson Memorial Hospital (that’s the big L1 trauma center down here). I told her I wanted to be an Anesthesiologist Assistant because I love the science of anesthesia. She asked me why not become a CRNA and be able to work independently and potentially make more money. I didn’t even think and said, “I just have a soft spot in my heart for the AA profession”. She looked at me like I was a weirdo or something. I really didn’t care. She has no idea what’s it’s like to be studying your butt off in the library night after night to get into AA school and during a break have to pull up a story on how the AANA is trying to not have AA considered anesthetists. One of the reasons why I choose to be an Anesthesiologist Assistant is the simple fact that why I believe most CRNA’s do an absolutely outstanding job of providing anesthesia care I’d simply rather not be represented by the AANA.


As I had said before Anesthesiologist Assistants and CRNAs are doing the same exact job when giving Anesthesia, whether your in the ACT model or working under any physician out side the ACT model.

As I have said before in the past It's the way AA-C school teaches on how to give Anesthesia and the way CRNA school teaches on how to give Anesthesia. Same techniques, same induction, sames gases given Sevo etc., giving the same medications.

As I have said before when you put down an Anesthesiologist Assistant you are "disrespecting" one of your own fellow Nurses that once worked in a I.C.U. with you. FACT: There are BSN and ADN with a Bachelor's of Science in another major besides nursing who have gone the AA program route vs. CRNA program for different reasons.

In reality the Anesthesiologist Assistant who is a nurse will still function as both a nurse and anesthetist (NA) as a Allied Health Profession Anesthetist. Why the vast majority of CRNAs (not all) are so "gong ho" on titles?...yes you should be proud of your accomplishments just as a Anesthesiologist Assistant should be in obtaining a Master degree in Anesthesia.

But I must ask why the arrogance, ignorance and dirty tactics that your Association (AANA) uses to block Anesthesiologist Assistants from practicing in all 50 states? And most of all why do CRNAs (not all) feel that you are Superior?



CRNA's are going to be trained at the doctorate level (DNAP) in approx 10 years, making the masters a thing of the past. Some schools are already making the transition. This will be giving CRNA's 48-60 months of anesthesia training...double the level AA's are trained at, and more than physician anesthesia providers.

Finally, if you look at the research, the patient's of CRNA's have a better outcome than those of physicians....where do AA's rank??

And anyone that really thinks ICU experience is not an important prerequisite for anesthesia education is seriously mistaking. I have had physician anesthetists tell me that CRNA's do better because of there experience in the unit. Where else will you be learning about hemodynamic monitoring and vasoactive medications? Did any of you Anesthesiologist Assistant's even know which receptor sites neo or levo act on before entering school? I would guess not. Now ask someone entering CRNA school the same thing.
CRNA's value advanced education and will generally look down on providers that have less experience. Having minimal education creates a dangerous precedent. If you want to be respected, encourage your organization to increase its educational standards, just as CRNA's have.


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Edited by JCole - 26 Jan 2010 at 8:30am
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