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CRNA: National Certification: A nurse anesthetist must successfully pass the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists (CCNA) certification examination in order to practice as a CRNA in at least 47 states and the District of Columbia. In the few states that do not explicitly require such certification, employers generally require such certification as a practical matter. Nurse anesthetists are not eligible to take their certification exam until they have graduated from their nurse anesthesia program. (Medicare requires nurse anesthetists to be certified and recertified in order to qualify for reimbursement.) National Certification Prerequisites: Current, unrestricted licensure as an RN, successful completion of an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program, and successful completion of the CCNA exam.
AA: National Certification: Anesthesiologist Assistants are eligible to take the NCCAA examination up to 180 days before graduation. Anesthesiologist Assistants may practice without certification, unless it is required by their employer or state law. (Medicare does not require that Anesthesiologist Assistants be certified or recertified in order to qualify for reimbursement.)
CRNA: National Certification Prerequisites: Current, unrestricted licensure as an RN, successful completion of an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program, and successful completion of the CCNA exam.
AA: National Certification Prerequisites: Successful completion of an accredited Anesthesiologist Assistant program and passage of the NCCAA certification exam.
CRNA: Recertification: Every two years based on evidence of 40 continuing education credits, current and unrestricted RN or advanced practice registered nurse licensure, and verification of active practice.
AA: Renewal of Certification: Every two years based on evidence of 40 continuing medical education (CME) hours. In addition, passing scores on a Continued Demonstration of Qualifications Examination every six years.
CRNA: Standards and Ethics: AANA publishes a scope of practice statement, standards and guidelines for practice, and a code of ethics.
AA: Standards and Ethics: AAAA publishes a statement on the functions and responsibilities of the Anesthesiologist Assistant; it also publishes guidelines for ethical standards.
CRNA: Nature of Relationship with Physicians: CRNAs work cooperatively with all types of physicians.
AA: Nature of Relationship with Physicians: The Anesthesiologist Assistant functions as an assistant to an anesthesiologist identically to CRNA's in a urban hospital setting. The ratios are typically 4 Anesthesiologist Assistants to 1 Anesthesiologist. The 4:1 ration is identical for CRNA's in urban hospital settings.
CRNA: Autonomy in Practice: Practices with a significant degree of autonomy. The ration is 4 CRNA's to 1 Anesthesiologist for CRNA's commonly seen in urban hospital settings.
AA: Autonomy in Practice: Works in the Anesthesia Care Team under the supervision of an anesthesiologist in a ration of 4:1. Same as the CRNA.
CRNA: Flexibility of Practice: Capable of working in urban and rural areas, and across all types of practice settings (e.g., ambulatory care, clinics, and hospitals).
AA: Flexibility of Practice: Usually practices in hospitals that use the anesthesia care team approach, always supervised by anesthesiologists, and usually in an urban setting identically to CRNA's in an urban setting.