CRNAs provide quality care in Alabama

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, January 26, 2012

Alabama is fortunate to be home to more than 1,400 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists who live and work all across our state. Despite our numbers and the fact that CRNAs have been caring for patients in America for around 150 years, few people outside the healthcare industry know much about the formidable role nurse anesthetists play in our medical community or the proven, quality care we give to Alabama patients every day.

That is one reason why Alabama’s CRNAs, and thousands of our colleagues from across the nation, are celebrating National Nurse Anesthetist Week January 22-28 and using the week-long event to increase public understanding about the work we do, the rigor of our education and training, the number of patients we serve, and the uncompromising skill and proven safety with which we serve them.

Nurse anesthetists are integral to the healthcare process as evidenced by the fact that these 44,000 advanced practice nurses and student nurse anesthetists across the nation administer approximately 32 million anesthetics each year. Each CRNA is a highly trained healthcare professional trained to serve in every setting where anesthesia is delivered – from treating patients in traditional hospital surgery or ambulatory surgery centers and obstetrical delivery rooms to caring for injured soldiers on the front lines at war time. Nurse anesthetists care for patients of all ages, from newborn babies to great grandparents.

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Since many forms of anesthesia are administered by both nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists, it is important for patients to know that regardless of whether we are trained as nurses or physicians, all anesthesia professionals undergo extensive anesthesia education and patient care is a top priority.

In addition to having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, or other appropriate undergraduate degree, any CRNA who cares for you or a member of your family will have practiced for at least one year as a registered nurse in an intensive care setting, graduated from an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program, which normally requires another thirty months of study, completed their clinical training, and passed the national certification exam. During the course of our careers, CRNAs also must obtain at least 40 hours of approved continuing education every two years.

It is no doubt a result of our dedication and extensive training in anesthetic management that Alabama’s CRNAs have achieved the “highest standards in patient safety,” according to the Alabama Board of Nursing.

In addition to our proven track record for safety and uncompromising quality care, CRNAs are the sole providers of much-needed anesthesia care in many rural counties in Alabama. Access to CRNAs in these medically underserved areas of our state, allows local healthcare facilities to serve their communities with obstetrical and surgical services and trauma stabilization care, when they otherwise would have no anesthesia access for many miles

If they haven’t already, chances are good that a nurse anesthetist will one day be called upon to care for you or someone in your family. Before that day comes, please take time to learn about anesthesia safety, know the questions to ask prior to undergoing an anesthetic, and understand the benefits of receiving anesthesia from a nurse anesthetist. That information and more is available online from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists at and the Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists at

No matter where you live in Alabama, there are dedicated Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists who live and work in or near your community. If you know a CRNA, please thank them for their hard work and for their commitment to safe, compassionate, and quality patient care.



David Hambright


Alabama Association of Nurse Anesthetists