Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) Week kicked off on January 19th and recognizes this specialized area of nursing. Sponsored by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), the week honors all these nurses do.
CRNAs recently received a public recognition of their career path when U.S. News and World Report published a Best 25 Jobs of 2020 and nurse anesthetist came in at the number 21 slot.
This nursing career has a lot going for it. It pays well, is constantly changing, and has lots of patient interaction. Nurse anesthetists often assist during surgery or may be in charge of the patient’s entire anesthesia plan and process. In fact, in some places, including rural areas or on the frontlines of the military, nurse anesthetists are often the main providers of anesthesia care to a patient.
Nurse anesthetists bring home a large paycheck. Although the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the amount will vary based on location, an average annual salary comes in at $167,950. Nurses interested in this path will complete a rigorous educational training. After your early nursing career, a typical path starts out in a critical care role, such as the intensive care unit, where they gain valuable training on evaluating and caring for patients with life-threatening injuring or illnesses. These nurses often have a masters’ degree, but more and more nurse anesthetists earn doctoral degrees. Beginning in 2022, all nurses entering accredited anesthesia programs will be required to earn a doctorate in the specialty.
This role requires initial certification and continued professional certification as the field changes rapidly. Lifelong learning in this specialty is essential for providing the best nursing care and ensuring the best patient safety.
Because of their role in providing essential care, nurse anesthetists routinely work in many areas, so finding a role that suits your career plans and your lifestyle is possible. Flexibility within this role isn’t as common as within other nursing roles, but because there is such a high demand for this role, the job variety is excellent.
According to the AANA, nurse anesthetists provide care to patients in varied locations and settings. From a chaotic battlefield to an organized dental office, nurse anesthetists are required to provide focused, deliberate, and incredibly precise anesthesia care. This role is also essential in pain management clinics and in surgical settings.
CRNAs also play an active and important role in the policies and regulations surrounding the patient care and the professional standards of this specialty. The CRNA Political Action Committee represents the interests of CRNAs and their patients in Washington and in the political establishment of each state.
Nursing leaders and those who take an active role in political decisions can offer a perspective that speaks to ensuring patients have equal access to the best care possible, no matter where they live or their income. These nurses are also proficient in speaking about veterans’ affairs, the opioid crisis, and patient safety.
CRNAs are a vital part of patient care. This week is acknowledgement of all they do.
Nursing is a career that offers incredible personal satisfaction and consistent job growth. People generally go into a nursing career because they know the job is a good match for their goals and capabilities. But the field also offers a job security seen in few other fields.
A recent 25 Best Jobs of 2020 report by U.S. News and World Report rated some of the top jobs in the United States and three nursing jobs made the list. Although many nurses know how valuable their skills are in the job market, seeing three distinct nursing paths represented shows the breadth of the nursing industry.
Of the three nursing positions, a job as a nurse anesthetist came in at number 21 based in part on the high salary (an average of $167,950) and the high demand for nurses in this specialty. Nurse anesthetists also may see a 17 percent increase in employment openings between now and 2028.
Registered nurses come in at number 13 on the list. This career will see an estimated 12 percent increase in jobs by 2028, with nearly 372,000 possible job openings. The sheer number of job openings reflects a need for RNs across the country. RNs will be able to find opportunities in all areas, with rural nurses in particular need. Those in gerontological nursing are also in increasing demand to meet the growing senior population as Baby Boomers reach milestone birthdays over 65.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) will also be in high demand over the next decade, says U.S. News. Nurse practitioners can expect incredibly robust job growth in the next eight years, with a 28 percent jump predicted. That amounts to just over 53,000 estimated additional job openings. Nurse practitioners are needed across the nursing spectrum, and their salary reflects the additional demand and educational preparation required for this role. NPs command an average annual salary of $107,030, landing this career on another list of jobs paying more than $100,000 per year.
With three diverse nursing positions making the top 25 job list for the year, a nursing career path offers job security, excellent salaries, career growth, and personal satisfaction. The three positions on the list all require different academic paths and responsibilities, meaning that the nursing industry has a place for those who are devoted to caring for others and helping to improve the health of the public and who may not take the same steps to get there.
Across the board, nurses can take pride in the recognition of an industry in demand. Nurses save lives, educate patients and families, support their healthcare teams, encourage community health, and provide a village for other nurses. Seeing so much potential for job growth is exciting and reaffirming for those in the nursing industry.
As 2019 winds to a close, several issues in the nursing industry remain prominently in the news and in the ongoing conversation around nursing as a profession.
What are some of the top issues of 2019 that will carry over into 2020?
80 Percent in 2020
The next year marks the end goal time period for the 2010 Future of Nursing report by the Institute of Medicine that called for 80 percent of registered nurses to have BSN credentials by 2020. According to the Campaign for Action, the ambitious goal won’t be met, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t made a difference. The recap says that RNs with a BSN are at the highest percentage ever with 56 percent having the degree. That’s a seven percentage point increase since the initial report was issued. Even though the goal hasn’t been realized, there’s progress and that bodes well for the entire nursing industry.
Violence in the Workplace
The rate of violence against healthcare workers is skyrocketing. The thought of healthcare providers helping people and becoming targets of violent acts from patients and their social circles, disgruntled workers, or even random perpetrators is terrifying. Luckily, the government has recognized the problem and introduced H.R.1309 – Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act to require organizations to develop and implement plans to protect workers. This bill passed in the House in November and is now under consideration by the Senate.
There is a lot of media attention on a projected nursing shortage over the next decade. As Baby Boomers continue to age and require more healthcare services, nurses will be a big part of that picture. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NCBI) the nursing workforce is also aging, spurring a shortage as it also provides a fantastic job market for nurses of almost any specialty. The issue will continue to attract attention.
Given the topics that are prominently in the news about nursing, it’s no surprise that nurses experience sometimes crippling job stress and burnout. When there aren’t enough nurses to care for a rising number of patients with increasingly complex conditions, the stage is set for nurses taking on too much. When that happens, their physical and mental health can suffer and that means patients aren’t getting the best care possible. This topic garners lots of attention by nurses themselves and by the organizations who recruit, hire, employ, and want to retain them.
Nursing as a Vibrant Profession
Nurses have professional pull. Routinely ranked as the most trusted profession, the nursing industry enjoys good salaries, opportunities for professional growth, respect, and increased independence. As an industry, nursing is committed to a more diverse, more educated, and more representative workforce and takes steps to meet those goals.
With 2020 on the doorstep, let’s see how these topics gains team in the next year.
The end of a year always seems to spark personal reflection about what you’ve accomplished in your personal life. But taking some time for professional reflection now will help guide what you do next year in your nursing career.
Here are five points to consider when thinking about your nursing career and where it’s going.
1. Are you happy in your job?
This question is more complex than it seems. If you’re happy with your current job, that’s a good spot to be in. If you’re not happy with your job, the important part is deciding why. Is it your hours? Your salary? Your colleagues? Your supervisor? Your commute? Your specialty? There are so many factors that go into being happy in your current role. Pinpointing what’s making you unhappy will help you decide your next steps.
2. What accomplishment are you most proud of this year?
If you’re initially stumped by this question, it means you probably haven’t been keeping track of when things went right this year. A nursing career is busy and often incredibly hectic, and it’s not easy to add one more thing to the professional task list. But keeping track of tasks you are proud of, things that made a difference, or an incident that made you remember why you became a nurse in the first place will bring your career into a clearer focus. Start with a notebook, a word doc, or just notes on your phone so you can remember how you’ve progressed this year. This kind of list is an excellent tool for your annual review as well.
3. What areas do you want to improve?
Nurses are always learning. Advanced technology, new research, updated medication guidelines—the list of information you need to stay current is long. When you look back over the year, are there certain areas where you wish you had more knowledge? Are there certain tasks you want to get better at? Create a list and be specific.
4. How will you make those improvements come to life?
Now that you’ve identified where you want to improve in your nursing career, it’s time to plan how to do that. Do you need to take a class? Look into where it’s offered, when, and how much it costs. Is there a new certification that will help you? Find out how to accomplish that. Do you want to get a promotion? Ask your supervisor (or someone you trust), what qualifications you’ll need to move up in your organization. Do you want to shift gears and move into management or academia or a new specialty? There’s a way to make it happen—it starts will planning your steps.
5. Was there a time this year that made you grateful to be a professional nurse?
Hopefully you’ll be able to list several times when this happened. Over the years, this will be a nice reminder of the impact you’ve had as a nurse. This list will look different for every nurse because the profession is so varied. Whatever your list includes, know your work as a nurses changes lives and take pride in that.
There are lots of questions to think about when you’re taking an assessment of your professional year, but taking purposeful action to improve each and every year will bring you the results you want.
Most of us know the benefits of being out in nature, but did you know there’s a difference between being in a green space and a blue space? Being in a green park or near blue water bring different feelings of peace that can supply mental and physical health benefits.
With the holiday season rush packing already busy schedules, nurses should take some time to decompress. Having a busy, engaging, and exhausting job is something nurses typically thrive on, but even the most energized nurse can get worn out during these next few weeks.
Maybe you need a little green or blue space to quiet your mind and energize your soul. If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or a general low mood in the winter, getting outside helps.
It’s obvious to just about anyone—being outside boosts your mood. But depending on where you live, you can’t always have access to green or blue space when you want it. Landlocked states don’t have the ocean’s coastline, but there are other ways you can reap the benefits of blue space—even if you’ve never seen the ocean. Green space is a little easier to find, and finding a new green space is always fun.
Green space can be as big as an open prairie or as small as a garden near your workplace—the important result is how it makes you feel. Urban green spaces are essential for city dwellers who may not have easy access to larger green areas.
A few minutes spent breathing in the fresh air, seeing the open sky, hearing birds or the wind in the trees, and feeling the green grass brings a sense of well-being and peace. Parks, open landscapes, and your own backyard all occupy the green space definition and bring a host of positive feelings.
Blue spaces are different. Open oceans, waterscapes, lakes, rivers, ponds, shorelines, even a fountain offer an interaction with water that is soothing. Even states hundreds of miles from the ocean will have bodies of water that offer similar benefits.
Blue spaces, with all their beautiful views, sounds, and positive ions from the water, also tend to encourage physical activity. Any kind of outdoor exercise is good for getting the heart rate up and bringing a sense of calm, and people tend to congregate around water to get moving. Walking, playing in the water, jogging along the shore, or swimming all help bring a sense of calm and lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and offer a protective benefit for mental health.
As a nurse, you can seek out green or blue spaces and see if it helps your stress levels or see if it boosts your feelings of well-being. Patients might find the correlation between green and blue spaces and better overall mental health interesting enough to ask for more information. And it’s fairly easy to incorporate into your routine. Walk through a park on your lunch break, take in a scenic vista whenever you can, take a trip to your local pond for a picnic. Even a visit to your local greenhouse or an indoor botanical garden can surround you with enough of a natural view that you’ll feel yourself relaxing.
During stressful or busy times, remember the benefits of green or blue space and make a point to get it on your schedule.