CERTIFIED REGISTERED NURSE ANESTHETISTS (CRNAs or Nurse Anesthetists) are advanced practice nurses who provide anesthesia to surgical, trauma, dental, and obstetric patients. In nearly half of the United States, CRNAs may practice autonomously without the direct supervision of a physician Anesthesiologist. A CRNA has either a masters or doctorate level of education, and must maintain continuing education and recertification every two years via the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). Nurse Anesthetists administer every type of anesthetic, treat patients of all ages, and provide care during all types of operations and procedures. CRNAs work in hospital operating rooms, ambulatory surgery centers (ASC), mobile surgery centers, and private offices with surgical suites. Responsibilities of the CRNA may include pre-anesthetic preparation and evaluation, induction and maintenance of anesthesia, emergence, and post-anesthesia (PACU) care. They may also perform epidural, spinal, and regional nerve blocks.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist expert witnesses are often called to provide expert testimony on surgical cases where a CRNA participated in the procedure, though liability may also be apportioned to the supervising Anesthesiologist if one was present or statutorily required.