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What do Nurse Anesthetists 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.

What are the Main Tasks of Nurse Anesthetists?

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