CNN Reports Nurse Anesthetists Salary Outpacing Primary Care Doctors
According to the latest annual salary report from Merritt Hawkins and Associates, a physician recruiting and consulting firm, certified nurse anesthetists, CRNA’s, are currently offered a base salary greater than that offered to primary care physicians.
The report states that in 2009 primary care doctors were offered an average base salary of 173,000. CRNA’s, on average, were paid $189,000. The firm predicts for 2010 that the figures may come closer to matching, but CRNA’s will likely continue to be paid more.
"It's the fourth year in a row that CRNAs were recruited at a higher pay than a family doctor," said Kurt Mosley, staffing expert with Merritt Hawkins & Associates.
Although most physicians have more years of medical training than CRNA’s, the increasing number of surgical procedures has increased demand for the nursing specialists. The field is currently one of the top 10 recruited health care specialties.
Nurse anesthetists practice in any setting where anesthesia is administered including hospital operating rooms, obstetrical delivery rooms, and outpatient surgery centers. Some also work in private medical offices, such as dental offices, podiatrists, ophthalmologists and plastic surgeon offices. The CRNA’s role includes taking care of a patient’s anesthesia needs before, during, and after surgery or obstetrical procedure.
The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) estimates that CRNA’s administer 65% of the 32 million anesthetics given each year to patients in the United States. Unlike other nursing careers, about 40-45% of CRNA’s are men.
The Certified Nurse Anesthetists is an advanced practice nursing specialty that requires a master’s degree in nurse anesthesia and successful completion of a certification exam. Prior to acceptance into a nurse anesthesia academic program, one must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, have a current license as a registered nurse, and have at least one year of practice in an acute care setting. Academic programs are approximately two to three years in length and include clinical training. There are currently 109 accredited nurse anesthesia education programs in the United States.