It takes at least 12 years to become an Anesthesiologist.
There are four years of undergrad education to get your bachelors, four years of medical school to become a doctor, and four years of residency to become a fully qualified Anesthesiologist.
That’s a lot of time.
Time that the industry cannot dispense with the exponential growth of our population, the current aging generations, and the demand for surgical intervention in this particular culture.
These factors converge to create a hugely growing need for Anesthesia professionals and because it takes so long for new Anesthesiologists to enter the workforce, subsequently there must be another profession to fill the time gaps when there isn’t enough supply.
This is where CRNAs come into the equation.
Playing off of the ability to develop into a CRNA from an RN, it allows the industry to procure Anesthesia professionals more quickly and easily to accommodate the demand of medicine.
Although Nurse Anesthetists have been administering anesthesia for 150 years, the CRNA credential came into existence in 1956.
Attracting a larger number of people into the space due to smaller educational requirements, it alleviates the stressful demand for more Anesthesiologists.
However, becoming a CRNA is not an easy task either.
Generally, A CRNA needs to complete four years of Nursing school (bachelor’s degree), a master’s degree in a CRNA program, and another year in critical care training adding up to about 8 years.
Interestingly, CRNAs are administering anesthesia similarly to Anesthesiologists, albeit, usually under mild supervision, but they are given a great deal of increasing responsibility.
Again, another role must be present to assist this high-end medical profession with a slightly shorter educational requirement than a CRNA.
Anesthesiologist Assistants are trained extensively in the maintenance and delivery of anesthesia care and additionally in advanced patient monitoring techniques. The existence of this profession was conceived precisely to alleviate the shortage of Anesthesiologists in the 1960s.
Demand for Anesthesiologist Assistants are expected to increase over the next few years as well, not necessarily due to an Anesthesiologist shortage, but to now accommodate the ever growing patient count.
In business, when your company grows, so does your departments and the teams within them. Similarly, the need for Anesthesiologists will continue to rise corresponding to an exponential population, an aging generation, and surgical demand.
This in turn requires more CRNAs and anesthesiologist assistants to share the load and promote a balance in the Anesthesia field.