Nurse Anesthetists in Healthcare

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With all of the different specialties in healthcare, some get overlooked or may be under the radar. An uncommon and often disregarded career choice in healthcare is that of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist or a Doctorate of Nurse Anesthesia Practice. Although not many people know about these healthcare careers, they play a vital role within the healthcare team. This field is growing rapidly and the likelihood of coming into contact with a nurse anesthetist during a hospital stay is on the rise. Knowing the history, education, responsibilities, and career outlook for a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist or a Doctorate of Nurse Anesthesia Practice can aide in understanding their very specific role in the care of patients.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and Doctorate of Nurse Anesthesia Practice, also known as CRNAs and DNAPs, first appeared in healthcare about one-hundred and fifty years ago. The first official CRNA in the United States was Sister Mary Bernard, who worked for St. Vincent Hospital in 1877. St. Vincent Hospital, known for being a faith based hospital, was the first to provide schooling and education for CRNAs in 1909. The course only lasted about seven months. (AANA 2009), (History of Nurse Anesthesia Practice. 2010, May), (Thatcher, V.S. 1953).
Another very important woman in history for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists was Alice Magaw. Her achievements opened the doors to nurse anesthetists. She paved the road for innovation and helped evolve the nurse’s role in anesthesia. Although she had many achievements, her chief accomplishment was her mastery of the open-drop inhalation anesthesia technique that used chloroform and ether as the sedative. For this great achievement she was given th...

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