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Nurse Anesthesia: Pros and Cons

10.27.2015 | By: Texas Wesleyan University
Pros and cons of becoming a nurse anesthesiologist.

Weighing the pros and cons of being a nurse anesthetist can help you decide if this is the right path for you. The pay is great and it's nice to be respected by your peers, but do you thrive under pressure?

Pros:

Pay

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median national pay for a nurse anesthetist is $158,900, with the top 10% earning more than $187,199. In Texas, the annual median pay is $161,740. By comparison, the median annual wage of registered nurses is $65,470, with the top 10% earning more than $94,720. The earning potential of nurse anesthetists is one factor that attracts professionals to the field in the first place.

Ability to Help Others

Many people think of nurse anesthetists as the people who administer anesthesia, but often forget that this is a major factor in pain management. Nurse anesthetists care for patients before, during and after surgical procedures, which means they get to know their patients and their needs to make them as comfortable as possible during every step. Nurse anesthetists are vital to successful surgeries, some which may be life-saving procedures.

Autonomy

Nursing is a fast-paced field and having the freedom to make decisions based on your education and experience is important. Being a nurse anesthetist allows you to make decisions on your own in order to protect the health and safety of patients. This freedom allows you to have more control over patient care.

Professional Respect

The title “nurse anesthetist” gives you a certain level of professional respect. Each day you will work with other nurses, surgeons, doctors and more, who rely on you for your expertise and advice. Many registered nurses look to advance their education and move into roles such as nurse anesthetist to have more responsibility, autonomy and respect.

Cons:

Responsibility

You’ve heard the horror stories of patients waking up during complicated and painful procedures. Part of having such an important position is dealing with the consequences of having a high level of responsibility. It is a possibility that you could be sued by a patient, or the family of a patient, which is why it is important to be insured.

Long Hours

Surgeries aren’t 15-minute procedures. Each one can last for hours, and not all of them will go as scheduled! 

Boredom

Your role may be important, but it’s not always exciting. Surgeries can last for hours, and while you need to be aware of how your patient is responding to anesthesia, you don’t always play an active role throughout the entire surgery. Many nurse anesthetists’ report that it is difficult to sit through long and boring surgeries.

Competition

This is a very competitive field. Not only are nurse anesthetist programs difficult to get into, but once you’ve earned your degree, you will need to impress interviewers in order to get hired.

If you’re ready to begin a competitive and respected program, reach out to one of our graduate admissions counselors to learn more about our Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia program.

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