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Difference Between Anesthesiologist and CRNA

Anesthesiologist Vs CRNA

There’s a small confusion between the practice of an anesthesiologist and a CRNA because they both deal with the usage of anesthetics. Nevertheless, they have distinct roles which are equally important. That’s why they collaborate with each other in caring for their patients.

CRNAs, which is the acronym for Certified Registered Anesthetist Nurse, refers to nurses who underwent a degree of specialization on the proper induction of anesthetics in patients. As such, they are being supervised by anesthesiologists who are the actual doctors and the anesthetic specialists themselves.

With regards to their duties, the anesthesiologist is responsible for doing the pre-op interview to spot for any preexisting illnesses in the patient. He is also the one who determines the dose of anesthesia to be given. Under the direct supervision of the anesthesiologist, the CRNA will have to induce the drug(s) himself and carefully monitor the condition of the patient throughout the operation. He can also adjust the amount of anesthesia given whenever it becomes necessary. For the postoperative phase, the CRNA has the bigger task of tending to the patient’s needs, which runs up to the recovery phase.

Both the CRNA and anesthesiologist can be stationed at any work environment where anesthesia will have to be used. In tandem with oral surgeons or dentists, they are tasked to induce the correct proportion of the anesthetic medications. The same goes with their partnership with the vet and, of course, the surgeons at the hospital.

The educational requirements for a CRNA include a 4-year Bachelor’s degree and several more years (usually two) of specializing in anesthetics as a form of masteral degree. The graduate of the Bachelor’s degree in Nursing would have to pass the NCLEX-RN exam, which is the qualifying exam for nurses in the U.S. (for them to be licensed). The anesthesiologist is a medical doctor (MD) so a lengthier educational preparation needs to be undertaken.

Because of the high level of preparation needed to get certified as either an anesthesiologist or a CRNA, their salaries often tend to be bigger than many other jobs. Based on a survey done in mid-2010, CRNAs earn as much as $154,000 median yearly pay, while anesthesiologists earn more at $339,000. Both jobs are expected to gain momentum and will receive annual growth demand as far as until 2018.

1. A CRNA is a registered nurse (RN) who specializes in anesthetics, while an anesthesiologist is a medical doctor (MD) who specializes in the same field.
2. An anesthesiologist acts as the supervisor of the CRNA in a collaborative work set-up.
3. The anesthesiologist typically earns more than twice more compared to the CRNA.


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1 Comment

  1. Wow, there are a lot of inaccuracies here, please consider re-writing. In response to the below, CRNA’s perform the pre-op interview, administer all anesthetics and determine their dosing, induce/intubate the patient, monitor intra- and post-operatively, identify risks to the patient, and in many states can work independently from any physician at all. CRNA’s perform all of these mentioned tasks daily. It has been proven CRNAs are just as safe as providers as MDAs (MD Anesthesiologists) and CRNA’s administer approximately 70% of all anesthesia in the United States and they do so safely, effectively, and affordability. In larger hospitals, MDA’s and CRNA’s work collaboratively and in some states “supervision” is mandated, and in other states “supervision” is not a requirement. Collaboration, and not “supervision” is the key here, although as stated, the terminology used is per state. In rural America, CRNA’s perform an even greater percentage of care alone/independently, where access to any anesthesia services may be limited. I strongly request that this page be revised after more careful and accurate research.

    “The anesthesiologist is responsible for doing the pre-op interview to spot for any preexisting illnesses in the patient. He…determines the dose of anesthesia .. direct supervision of the anesthesiologist, the CRNA will have to induce the drug(s) himself and carefully monitor the condition of the patient throughout the operation. He can also adjust the amount of anesthesia given whenever it becomes necessary. For the postoperative phase, the CRNA has the bigger task of tending to the patient’s needs, which runs up to the recovery phase.

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