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Career Profile: Nurse Anesthetists

Administer anesthesia, monitor patient's vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia. May assist anesthesiologists, surgeons, other physicians, or dentists. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 44,200 people employed as nurse anesthetists in the United States. The median annual salary is $183,600. Entry level employees earn approximately $133,970 per year and senior employees earn approximately $208,000 (or more) per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Manage patients' airway or pulmonary status, using techniques such as endotracheal intubation, mechanical ventilation, pharmacological support, respiratory therapy, and extubation.
  • Respond to emergency situations by providing airway management, administering emergency fluids or drugs, or using basic or advanced cardiac life support techniques.
  • Monitor patients' responses, including skin color, pupil dilation, pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, ventilation, or urine output, using invasive and noninvasive techniques.
  • Select, order, or administer anesthetics, adjuvant drugs, accessory drugs, fluids or blood products as necessary.
  • Select, prepare, or use equipment, monitors, supplies, or drugs for the administration of anesthetics.
  • Assess patients' medical histories to predict anesthesia response.
  • Perform or manage regional anesthetic techniques, such as local, spinal, epidural, caudal, nerve blocks and intravenous blocks.
  • Develop anesthesia care plans.
  • Obtain informed consent from patients for anesthesia procedures.
  • Prepare prescribed solutions and administer local, intravenous, spinal, or other anesthetics, following specified methods and procedures.
  • Perform pre-anesthetic screenings, including physical evaluations and patient interviews, and document results.
  • Calibrate and test anesthesia equipment.
  • Select and prescribe post-anesthesia medications or treatments to patients.
  • Perform or evaluate the results of diagnostic tests, such as radiographs (x-rays) and electrocardiograms (EKGs).
  • Select, order, or administer pre-anesthetic medications.
  • Insert peripheral or central intravenous catheters.
  • Insert arterial catheters or perform arterial punctures to obtain arterial blood samples.
  • Discharge patients from post-anesthesia care.
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, and participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in nursing.
  • Request anesthesia equipment repairs, adjustments, or safety tests.
  • Instruct nurses, residents, interns, students, or other staff on topics such as anesthetic techniques, pain management and emergency responses.
  • Disassemble and clean anesthesia equipment.
  • Evaluate patients' post-surgical or post-anesthesia responses, taking appropriate corrective actions or requesting consultation if complications occur.
  • Administer post-anesthesia medications or fluids to support patients' cardiovascular systems.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
44,200
Annual Openings:
2,900
Increase in Openings by 2030:
13%
Annual Salary Range:
$133,970 - $208,000
Education Requirements:
Master's degree or higher