In Missouri, 48% of the counties with hospitals providing surgical services offer anesthesia provided solely by CRNAs. CRNA-only anesthesia services are especially predominant in the rural, medically under-served areas of the state. Restricting our practice would cause rural patients to travel long distances to urban areas, or in some cases forgo needed care.
As advanced practice registered nurses, CRNAs practice with a high degree of autonomy and professional respect. We take the responsibility of safe anesthesia care very seriously.
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CRNAs practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: Trauma centers; traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists; and U.S. military, Public Health Services, and Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare facilities.
Without CRNAs, critical access hospitals will not be able to provide health care access to surgical services, trauma stabilization and emergency services including labor and delivery. We are proud to serve the healthcare needs of the state’s citizens.
The RTI study published in Health Affairs (8/2010) confirmed that there are no differences in patient outcomes when anesthesia services are provided by CRNAs or physician anesthesiologists.
CRNAs provide anesthesia in collaboration with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists, and other qualified healthcare professionals. Regardless of whether their educational background is in nursing or medicine, all anesthesia professionals give anesthesia the same way. CRNAs are not required to work with an anesthesiologist.
Please know that these are just examples and not necessarily recommendations or an endorsement by the association. These protocols can and should be designed and customized by the CRNA, and the facility. It is important that these protocols incorporate established mechanisms for approval and a policy and procedure for review on a regular basis to ensure currency in practice as well as consistency with the formulary available in the facility.