Washington is a beautiful state located in the upper Northwest corner of the United States. It is well known for its unique culture and natural wonders. If you live in Washington and are interested in pursuing a career as a certified registered nurse anesthetist, this article may be helpful to you. There is currently one school in Washington which offers a CRNA training program. This is Gonzaga University and Sacred Heart Medical Center located in Spokane. While Washington only has one CRNA school, several nearby states also have schools offering CRNA programs including Oregon and California. This article will give you more information about how to become a CRNA and information specifically about being a CRNA in the state of Washington.
Basic Steps to Become a CRNA
In order to work as a CRNA one must first obtain the proper education and certification. CRNAs are highly trained and skilled advanced practice nurses and thus are required to obtain a specified masters or doctorate degree as well as pass a certification exam.
The first step towards becoming a CRNA is becoming a registered nurse. Most CRNA schools require that applicants have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, although some do allow degrees in other related or applied science fields. The next step, in order to apply to CRNA school, is to obtain experience as an RN working in a critical care or intensive care unit environment. Most CRNA schools require one to two years of experience in a critical care environment, but each program has different guidelines for what type of work experience meets this specific requirement.
The next step in becoming a CRNA is to apply to and attend a CRNA education program. Each CRNA school will have specific admission requirements, but generally, once an applicant has a bachelor’s degree in nursing, has obtained a license as an RN, and has completed the required work experience, he or she may be ready to apply to CRNA school. The application process can be very competitive and some CRNA programs have many more applicants than available spots. They may also have additional application requirements such as letters of recommendation, additional medical certifications, GPA or GRE minimums or in-person interviews. Applying to and getting accepted by a CRNA program is a great accomplishment.
CRNA Program Overview
A typical CRNA program will last anywhere from 24 to 36 months. CRNA programs are usually completed through full-time on-campus study, although there are some programs that offer some distance learning components and others that may have part-time options. Generally, however, CRNA school is very labor intensive and thus require s that the student be fully committed to full-time study. CRNA programs consist of an academic or classroom learning portion as well as a clinical rotation which is a hands-on learning experience. Some schools have their students complete all of the classroom study in the first half of the program and the clinical portion in the last half while others integrate the two different types of study throughout the program. According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the average CRNA student will complete 2,500 clinical hours and administer 850 anesthetics during their time in CRNA school.
Once a student passes a CRNA program, he or she is then eligible to take the National Certification Exam (NCE). The NCE is administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) and is given in testing facilities located across the country. It is an electronic test and includes a variety of question types. Subject matter covered by the NCE includes basic sciences, equipment, instrumentation and technology, basic principles of anesthesia and advanced principles of anesthesia. Candidates who take the test receive an initial preliminary pass/fail report as soon as they leave the testing center and official results are sent in the mail two to four weeks after the testing date. Once a student receives a passing score on the National Certification Examination, he or she is certified and can practice as a CRNA.
CRNAs in Washington
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 report, CRNAs who practice in the state of Washington make an average annual salary of $163,280. This is on par with other states such as California, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. While the salary is not the only reason to become a CRNA, it is certainly an important factor. CRNAs are well-compensated and make more than traditional RNs or CNAs because they have more training and perform more specialized tasks. CRNAs provide very important services to patients in all types of medical facilities across Washington and are integral in providing safe, reliable, and effective anesthesia care.
Washington CRNA Schools
Sacred Heart Medical Center Spokane & Gonzaga University CRNA Education Program
502 E. Boone Avenue
Tilford Center Suite 312
Spokane, WA 99258