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Definition: A CRNA is an advanced practice registered nurse specializing in nurse anesthesia. CRNAs are professional registered nurses (RNs) who have obtained, through additional education and successful completion of a national examination, certification as anesthesia nursing specialists.

Definition: According to the American Association of Anesthesiologist Assistants (AAAA), the AA is an allied health professional specializing in anesthesia who works under the direction of an anesthesiologist in the anesthesia care team environment as described by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). The Anesthesiologist Assistant may take the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA) examination to become an Anesthesiologist Assistant -Certified (AA-C).


CRNAs: Anesthesia Practice: CRNAs are qualified to make independent judgments regarding all aspects of anesthesia care, based on their education, licensure, and certification. CRNAs provide anesthetics to patients in cooperation with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, podiatrists and other qualified healthcare professionals. CRNAs practice with a high degree of autonomy. The laws of every state permit CRNAs to work with physicians (such as surgeons) or other authorized healthcare professionals.

AAs: Anesthesia Practice: The Anesthesiologist Assistant develops and implements an anesthesia care plan in an assistant role/capacity. According to the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), the Anesthesiologist Assistants must work under the direction of an anesthesiologist. Anesthesiologist Assistants may not work under the direction of other physicians or healthcare professionals. The anesthesiologist who is responsible for the Anesthesiologist Assistant is available to prescribe and direct particular therapeutic interventions in the operating room and the intensive care setting. Currently, eighteen (18) states and the District of Columbia authorize the practice of an Anesthesiologist Assistant through either a licensure or certification process. In all of these states and in the District of Columbia, Anesthesiologist Assistants must work under the direction or supervision of an anesthesiologist which should be the set standard throughout the country.

CRNAs: Practice Locations: CRNAs practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and other medical professionals; and U.S. Military, Public Health Service, and Veterans Administration healthcare facilities.

AAs : Practice Locations: The Anesthesiologist Assistant most frequently practices in an urban hospital setting. Anesthesiologist Assistants can practice where ever anesthesiologists are available.


CRNAs: Numbers: There are approximately 36,000 practicing nurse anesthetists. They safely administer approximately 27 million anesthetics to patients each year in the United States. CRNAs are the primary anesthesia providers in rural America. In some states, CRNAs are the sole providers in nearly 100% of rural hospitals without any Anesthesiologist present.

AAs : Numbers: There are approximately 2000 plus working Anesthesiologist Assistants and this number will continue to compound as the demand increases due to the aging population in the U.S.


CRNAs: Distribution: CRNAs practice under the laws of every state.

AAs : Distribution: Anesthesiologist Assistants are authorized to practice through either a licensure or certification process (depending upon the state) in eighteen (18) states (Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico (university hospital settings), Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Vermont, North Carolina, Colorado, Michigan, New Hampshire, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin).