What does a Nurse Anesthetist do?

Administer anesthesia, monitor patient's vital signs, and oversee patient recovery from anesthesia. May assist anesthesiologists, surgeons, other physicians, or dentists. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education.

Jobs Roles

  • Administer post-anesthesia medications or fluids to support patients' cardiovascular systems.
  • Evaluate patients' post-surgical or post-anesthesia responses, taking appropriate corrective actions or requesting consultation if complications occur.
  • Perform pre-anesthetic screenings, including physical evaluations and patient interviews, and document results.
  • Select and prescribe post-anesthesia medications or treatments to patients.
  • Select, order, or administer pre-anesthetic medications.
  • Discharge patients from post-anesthesia care.
  • Perform or evaluate the results of diagnostic tests such as radiographs (x-rays) and electrocardiograms (EKGs).
  • Manage patients' airway or pulmonary status using techniques such as endotracheal intubation, mechanical ventilation, pharmacological support, respiratory therapy, and extubation.
  • Monitor patients' responses, including skin color, pupil dilation, pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, ventilation, or urine output, using invasive and noninvasive techniques.
  • Perform or manage regional anesthetic techniques such as local, spinal, epidural, caudal, nerve blocks and intravenous blocks.
  • Prepare prescribed solutions and administer local, intravenous, spinal, or other anesthetics following specified methods and procedures.
  • Respond to emergency situations by providing airway management, administering emergency fluids or drugs, or using basic or advanced cardiac life support techniques.
  • Select, order, or administer anesthetics, adjuvant drugs, accessory drugs, fluids or blood products as necessary.
  • Assess patients' medical histories to predict anesthesia response.
  • Develop anesthesia care plans.
  • Obtain informed consent from patients for anesthesia procedures.
  • Select, prepare, or use equipment, monitors, supplies, or drugs for the administration of anesthetics.
  • Calibrate and test anesthesia equipment.
  • Disassemble and clean anesthesia equipment.
  • Insert arterial catheters or perform arterial punctures to obtain arterial blood samples.
  • Insert peripheral or central intravenous catheters.
  • Instruct nurses, residents, interns, students or other staff on topics such as anesthetic techniques, pain management and emergency responses.
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, and participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in nursing.
  • Request anesthesia equipment repairs, adjustments, or safety tests.
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