Lokum Discusses Recent Changes Impacting CRNAs

Recent Changes Impacting CRNAs

We’ve all witnessed substantial shifts in the CRNA market over the past couple of years. This reality is one that many healthcare organizations and anesthesia groups have directly encountered.

As indicated by labor statistics (BLS), organizations’s needs for CRNAs are projected to increase by 14% from 2019 to 2029.

The severe shortage of CRNAs has significantly shifted demand, impacting healthcare facilities and CRNAs themselves.

Lokum’s CRNA Founder, Joy Ademuyewo [tag] who witnessed this shift firsthand and in response has curated a contemporary, convenient, and unobtrusive marketplace that bridges the gap between anesthesia professionals and facilities in need of their services all while fostering a sense of community among CRNAs, and eliminating the dependence on middle-men.

The national demand for CRNAs is propelling an increase in salaries

When the pandemic hit, a lot of hospitals put elective surgeries on hold, which meant furloughs for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and other surgical staff.

As most entities have resumed elective surgeries and are dealing with backlog, and as an aging population also increases the demand for anesthesia services…The market is booming, offering lucrative career opportunities for CRNAs.

To give you an idea, data from the BLS in May 2020 showed the average salary for CRNAs was $189,190. Fast forward to today, and we’re seeing advertised starting salaries ranging from $185,000 to over $300,000 annually. The role of a CRNA has been recognized as the sixth-best job in healthcare, not to mention it’s the fifth highest-paying profession.

CRNAs are outnumbering other anesthesia professionals

The AANA states that over half of the anesthesia workforce in the U.S. is comprised of certified registered nurse anesthetists, a claim supported by federal data.

There are about 41,960 CRNAs actively practicing in the U.S., outnumbering the 28,590 physician anesthesiologists.

New Educational Requirements for CRNAs

Currently, CRNAs in practice need at least a master’s degree from a nurse anesthesia program accredited by the Council of Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). However, since January 1, 2022, any new student entering an accredited program is required to enroll in a doctoral program.

By 2025, it will be mandatory for all practicing CRNAs to hold a doctoral degree from an accredited program.

The COA confirmed that there are approximately 122 accredited nurse anesthesia programs in the United States.

The AANA states that over half of the anesthesia workforce in the U.S. is comprised of certified registered nurse anesthetists, a claim supported by federal data.

Recent statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (as of May 2020) suggest there are 41,960 CRNAs actively practicing in the U.S., outnumbering the 28,590 physician anesthesiologists.

CRNAs as Nurse Anesthesiologists

In August 2021, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), which represents certified registered nurse anesthetists and student registered nurse anesthetists (SRNAs) in the US, underwent a name change after 90 years.

The organization is now known as the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology. According to AANA’s website, this change is part of a yearlong rebranding effort aimed at promoting the science of nurse anesthesiology and advocating for certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs).

Some physician groups have argued that the term ‘anesthesiology’ is being misused. However, Steven M. Sertich, CRNA, MAE, JD, Esquire, AANA’s former president, stated in a press release, “Nurse anesthesiology was the first profession to be responsible for administering anesthesia.” He further stated, “Our new name accurately represents who we are, what we do, and our values.”

During its virtual annual congress held from August 13-17, the association also introduced its new logo and core purpose: “CRNA focused. CRNA inspired.”

CRNAs are transitioning to independent practice

The COVID-19 pandemic, kicking off in 2020, triggered temporary shifts that might cast lasting impacts on nurse anesthetists and independent practice.

As the virus took hold, the federal government put a pause on the CMS physician supervision rule for CRNAs, as reported by the AANA. This pause was mirrored in several states, paired with some restrictions on CRNAs’ scope of practice.

Fast forward to early 2022, and we see 18 states stepping away from the federal Medicare requirement for physician oversight of CRNAs. As a result, a good number of nurse anesthetists are veering towards states free from such supervision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>