What is a Typical Day Like for Nurse Anesthetists?

A nurse anesthetist is a registered nurse who specializes in administering anesthesia to a wide variety of patients for surgical procedures. These individuals commonly complete graduate-level education and board certification from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. Nurse anesthetists practice in an array of medical settings, such as large hospitals, outpatient care centers, and private physician’s offices. Individuals interested in entering this profession commonly ask what is a typical day like for a nurse anesthetist. While the exact duties vary by position and employer, most nurse anesthetists review and record in patient charts, participate in surgical procedures, monitor patients during recovery, and communicate with patients and caregivers.

Patient Charts

At the start of the day, nurse anesthetists review each patient’s chart to gain an understanding of the medical history and any allergies or reactions to medications. Often times, nurse anesthetists interview patients to discuss anesthesia options and create a plan for the best choice based on the procedure and medical history of the patient. They explain the procedure and the risks of anesthesia. They also make sure patients have followed the necessary preparations, such as no eating or drinking for certain amounts of time prior to procedures. Nurse anesthetists commonly have patients or guardians sign consent forms for anesthesia to be used during a surgical procedure. They make appropriate notes in patient charts regarding the types of medications used and how patients responded to the anesthesia and surgical procedures. Nurse anesthetists record all observations before, during, and after procedures and document all types of administered medications.

Surgical Procedures

Nurse anesthetists participate in multiple surgical procedures on a daily basis, depending on their location and needs of the facility. They set up for each procedure and attend to the patient as needed. They make sure all safety precautions are taken and position patients on operating tables. They assemble their supplies and equipment and make sure all machines are working properly. They also make sure appropriate blood is available just in case it is needed during the procedure. During the surgical procedure, nurse anesthetists administer the selected anesthesia and they monitor the patient closely to ensure the patient is stable and the dosage of the medication is sufficient. They look for differences in the patient’s condition, such as pupil dilation or skin color changes. Nurse anesthetists also provide assistance with any emergency procedures. After the surgical procedure, many nurse anesthetists clean and sterilize the tools and equipments according to the established safety standards.

Recovery and Communication

After the surgical procedure is finished, many nurse anesthetists monitor patients as they are in recovery. They assist in transporting patients to the recovery area and observe their physical condition as well as behavior. They provide information and instructions to the patient and caregivers about possible side effects and after treatment.

In today’s healthcare field, nurse anesthetists practice in all 50 states. This profession is a great choice for individuals seeking to pursue advanced nursing education and would like to be on the frontline of surgical procedures. A master’s degree in nursing is an ideal starting point for becoming a nurse anesthetist.