Career Awareness

Real Life Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

MARITA--I love that even though you're always working in a team with the anesthesiologist and the surgical team, you have your own space as well and you're completely responsible for making sure that the patient is comfortable throughout the surgery.

During surgery, I'm in charge of monitoring patients' vital signs, anesthetic level, ventilation and position. Depending on what their vital signs look like, we give them any drugs they would need. We may change the anesthesia that we're delivering based on the process of the surgery, we give them pain medication, and we're also in charge of starting the IV and any invasive monitoring.

In the morning I come in and review the history of my first patient. I interview the patient, set up my room, the anesthesia machine and all of the drugs I plan on using for the case. After I've talked with the anesthesiologist and the surgical team, we get the patient, put them to sleep, and I sit with the patient throughout the case. After surgery, we extubate them and help to wake them up. Usually, we do two to four surgical cases a day.

To be a certified registered nurse anesthetist I think you have to care for people. You can't do the job without caring that this patient is going to be comfortable. Other characteristics include: good communication skills, critical care thinking skills, general common sense and leadership. Lastly, you have to be able to stand up for your patients, even if other people disagree, because this is what's best for the patient.

It's important to really think about what you would like to do with your life. What is a career that would fulfill you? What do you really love doing? What do you have a passion for? If you really feel like you want to help people, definitely start looking at medical fields.

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