As the healthcare industry continues to be in need of every type of specialization in the field, opportunity has opened up for many people searching for a way to help others. With health and disease being a common discussion topic within the past few years, you may be considering turning toward this field of work.
Nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia treatments to patients who are experiencing pain or anxiety due to various medical procedures. The ability to ease that pain and help others is rewarding in itself, but the job and education required are major commitments that should have plenty of thought put in beforehand. The following pros and cons will help you decide if you are up to the task.
Pros Of Being A Nurse Anesthetist
1. You Get To Work Independently
Due to your high level of education, you will be well-respected for your efforts and knowledge. This respect and authority allows you to work independently with your patients. If you are less of a team player, this job will work well for you.
You get to focus solely on your task, without anyone else making decisions or telling you what to do. The ability to be your own boss can be empowering, and will allow you to personally and directly help many patients.
2. You Get To Choose From Many Different Settings For Work
Since the need for nurse anesthetics is so high, you will have a large variety of workplace settings to choose from. The pace and urgency of each healthcare facility may have an impact on your decision, so it is important that you choose where you would feel most comfortable.
Nurse anesthetists work in general hospitals, emergency rooms, psychiatric hospitals, urgent care centers, and even the military. Each setting will have different levels of difficulty, but nurse anesthetics are in demand in all.
3. You Have The Opportunity To Earn A Lot Of Money
Becoming a nurse anesthetist is quite the lucrative career. On average, a nurse anesthetist can potentially make about $200,000 annually. Depending on your location and the types of facilities you work in, that salary has the potential to increase.
As an entry level nurse anesthetist, you may want to consider building up your experience by working in general hospitals and physician offices. As you move forward in your career, you may want to consider finding work in specialty hospitals and outpatient care centers, where the salary is higher and you get to specialize your skills more.
4. You Will Have A Valued And Essential Job
Due to the high demand of specialized healthcare professionals, you can always have security with your jobs. Your skills will always be required for potentially lifesaving medical procedures, so you can rest knowing that there will always be a job for you to do.
5. You Get To Help Ease The Pain For Others
If you are someone who loves to please others and help everyone you possibly can, working in a hospital has the potential to bring a lot of positivity into your life. Your job and skillset is specifically designed to ease the anxieties and pains a patient is feeling, which will make any medical procedure much easier on the bodies and minds of those patients.
Many patients will be grateful for what you can do for them, and you get to go home every day knowing that you helped someone with the burdens they face.
Cons of Being A Nurse Anesthetist
1. An Extensive Amount Of Money And Education Is Required
It takes 7 years just to get the minimal amount of education required to be a nurse anesthetist. A bachelor’s degree is required at the beginning of the process, as well as a master’s degree from a nurse anesthesia program.
You also have to pass the National Council Licensure Exam before taking the nurse anesthesia program. And you must pass the National Certification Examination for nurse anesthetists. During all of this, a year of experience working in the intensive care unit is required.
2. Many Hours Required
Even though your main job is to administer the anesthesia for each patient, you are also required to monitor the patient’s reaction to the anesthesia to make sure that the process of the surgery runs smoothly. This could lead to 10 straight hours of you standing by during surgery, waiting for the moment that you have to step in, and consistently monitoring the patient’s vitals.
This can become tedious, especially if you work exclusively in a hospital or urgent care center, where patients are constantly needing anesthesia administered. You will have to be on your feet for a long time, and that could have a negative impact on your physical health.
3. The Pressure And Intensity Can Be Overwhelming
Becoming a nurse anesthetist will give you a lot of responsibility. Since it is your job to administer anesthesia and monitor any effects or reactions, patients may blame you if there are any complications. You may be put in uncomfortable situations with patients and their family, and may even have to deal with the possibility of being sued.
This is why many nurse anesthetists must get malpractice insurance, so that the pressure is slightly lighter. But it is still up to you to analyze the patient you are working on so that you can plan the best process to administer anesthesia.
4. Your Schedule Can Be Unpredictable
Many surgeries can last late into the night due to unforeseen circumstances or issues that arise. Since it is your job to stay and monitor the effects and efficiency of the anesthesia, you will have to stay for the full time of the surgery, even if it takes many hours to get through.
If you work for an emergency room, you may have to show up to work at random times to help patients if the issue is urgent enough and they can not find another available nurse. Since anesthesia is required for surgery, there will always be a need for your services, especially since your education requires you to specialize with that practice.
5. Hospital Settings May have An Effect On Your Mental Health
If you work exclusively in a hospital or emergency room, the situations you will see can be alarming and sometimes disturbing to someone who is not mentally prepared. Some people lose their lives during surgery, and that can be a challenging thing to witness.
Some people are also not prepared to handle the medical equipment (such as needles) required to use as a nurse anesthetist.
Do the Pros Outweigh The Cons?
Although it may be easier if there was a clear answer, there isn’t. Becoming a nurse anesthetist is a great way to help people, and the pay provides a helpful incentive. But the process to actually become a nurse anesthetist is quite the undertaking.
Not everyone is able to commit to the expenses and possible loans that come with the education that is needed. But if you feel like the pros outweigh the cons for you, it is worth it to take your career in that direction.