Anesthetist versus Anesthesiologist

If you've been exploring nursing career opportunities and are interested in becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), you may be wondering what the difference is between a CRNA vs. anesthesiologist position. Understanding the role of an anesthetist vs. anesthesiologist can help you make the right choice for selecting your career path and choosing a role that you will find rewarding in the long-term. CRNAS are currently the sole providers of anesthesia in almost all rural hospitals, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and are in high demand in hospitals, surgery centers and other healthcare facilities.

Comparing CRNA to Anesthesiologist

Job duties of both CRNAs and anesthesiologists involve anesthesia administration but there are some key differences between these two positions. The anesthesiologist is responsible for interviewing the patient before surgery and selecting the appropriate amount of anesthesia that will be delivered. The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is responsible for the actual administration of the anesthesia through an injection or IV. Anesthesia can only be delivered under the supervision of an anesthesiologist and the CRNA must follow the anesthesiologist's directions and recommendations for adjusting the level of anesthesia being delivered throughout the process.

The CRNA works under the supervision of an anesthesiologist but both work with surgeons and physicians who will be performing the surgery. If you are already a registered nurse, the next position up to further your career will be that of a CRNA. Anesthesiologists are doctors and have completed training at a medical school. Anesthesiologists typically earn a much higher salary than CRNAs and are trained to help patients through the surgery and also address some of the side effects of anesthesia by prescribing medication as needed.

Understanding the Role of an Anesthetist vs Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologists are trained to deliver anesthesia from a medical perspective and typically work with doctors and physicians to determine exactly what dosage of anesthesia will be needed for the surgery. The anesthetist is then responsible for delivering the actual anesthesia and must follow strict guidelines and protocol to deliver the recommended amount of anesthesia correctly.

Anesthetists work under the supervision of an anesthesiologist and must follow the anesthesiologist's specific instructions and dosing requirements.

Both CRNAs and anesthesiologists must complete rigorous training programs that involve hands-on work experience so that they have a high level of expertise in anesthesiology administration. While one serves as the primary decision-maker for the amount of anesthesia that needs to be administered, the other learns the standard protocol and guidelines for delivering anesthesia as safely and effectively as possible. Both anesthetists and anesthesiologists must be comfortable working in a medical environment and working with different types of patients. They both learn how to work with a team of physicians and surgeons effectively and also work in a high-pressure environment.

CRNAs and anesthesiologists can find positions in hospitals, surgery centers, nursing care facilities, private clinics and medical centers around the country. There are only a few subtle differences between these two roles, but both have different job descriptions and key duties and responsibilities in a medical setting.