For Healthcare Professionals

CRNAs: Proud Members of the Patient Care Team

CRNAs fulfill many responsibilities as a member of the patient care team, including:

  • Conduct a pre-anesthesia interview with the patient, administer the anesthetic, monitor and interpret the patient’s vital signs, manage the patient throughout surgery, and ensure the patient’s safe transfer to recovery.
  • Provide safe, holistic, patient-centered, evidence-based anesthesia and analgesia services.
  • Assess, identify, and manage the care of patients suffering from acute and/or chronic pain.
  • Select and administer anesthetic and other types of drugs to preserve life functions.
  • Respond quickly and appropriately in emergencies.
  • Ensure the comfort and safety of patients of all ages and at every acuity level.

For a concise summary of the primary elements of nurse anesthesia practice, click here.


CRNAs are highly qualified anesthesia experts who practice in the majority of North Carolina hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers where anesthesia is required for surgery, labor and delivery, trauma care, and pain management. They are the primary anesthesia providers in North Carolina’s rural and other medically underserved areas. Their steady, reliable presence ensures that patients have access to essential anesthesia services and helps facilities deliver exceptional anesthesia and related care efficiently and cost-effectively. 

• There are more than 3,400 licensed CRNAs in North Carolina.
• CRNAs provide anesthesia in all of North Carolina’s counties that have anesthesia services; there are no anesthesiologist-only counties.

Research Confirms CRNA Safety and Cost-Effectiveness
According to the National Academy of Medicine, anesthesia is one of the safest healthcare experiences a patient can undergo. All significant anesthesia-related research published since 2000 has confirmed the safety of anesthesia care delivered by CRNAs, including the following landmark studies:

Based on the research, patients who undergo surgical and other procedures in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers in CRNA-only counties can rest assured that they will receive the safest, most cost-effective anesthesia care available.

CRNA Education and Training
Total education and training:

  • 7-8 ½ years of nursing and anesthesia education and training
  • More than 9,000 clinical hours

Prior to entering nurse anesthesia program:

  • Attain bachelor’s degree in nursing, RN license, minimum 1 year of critical care experience
  • Average critical care experience: 2.9 years (CRNAs are the only anesthesia professionals who start their anesthesia education knowing how to manage critical events)

Prior to becoming a CRNA:

  • Graduate with master’s or doctorate degree from accredited nurse anesthesia educational program
  • Pass National Certification Exam

CRNAs embrace life-long learning, maintaining their certification through continuing education.

Need to Know Facts about Your CRNA Team Member
CRNAs and anesthesiologists provide anesthesia care using the same techniques and medications, to patients of all ages, in every type of healthcare setting, for every type of procedure that requires anesthesia.

CRNAs advocate for and specialize in Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS®). As healthcare professionals, policymakers, and other stakeholders continue to seek effective ways to combat the opioid crisis, CRNAs are doing their share to win the fight. ERAS is a collaborative approach to pain management which involves the patient, CRNA, and entire care team. This patient-centered strategy relies on robust patient communication and opioid-sparing techniques such as regional anesthesia, peripheral nerve blocks, and non-opioid medications. ERAS reduces the need for opioids, improves patient outcomes, and reduces healthcare costs.

Chronic pain afflicts millions of Americans. CRNAs are specifically educated and trained to care for pain patients by delivering anesthetic injections around nerves and other treatments.

Learn More about CRNAs

Highly Educated Professionals Providing Safe, Affordable, Accessible Care