A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist is a nurse qualified to administer anesthesia and monitor patients once the anesthesia has been given, in addition to the recovery period. The CRNA certification requires both a bachelor of science in nursing in addition to a postgraduate education culminating in a master of science in nursing. The required undergraduate coursework, which leads toward a bachelor of science in nursing, emphasizes biology and mathematics. Most programs require that students receive a grade of "B" or better or an overall grade point average of 3.0 for admission.
Successful nurses must have a solid foundation in the systems and structures of the human body. Students who plan to receive CRNA certification should begin with two semesters of general biology, which provide an introduction to concepts in cellular biology, evolution and ecology. More advanced biology coursework is required as well, including human anatomy and physiology and microbiology. These courses further delve into the structure, processes and functions of the human body.
Nurse anesthetists must be able to effectively monitor patients' reactions to anesthesia and other medication. A solid foundation in chemistry and pharmacology, including concepts of organic, inorganic and biochemistry, is therefore essential for CRNA training. A beginning course sequence in general chemistry is required for higher-level coursework. Next, students typically take one semester of organic chemistry or biochemistry, which explore the body's chemical reactions.
Schools typically require an undergraduate physics course, although many programs, like the University of Kansas Medical Center's CRNA program, require only biology and chemistry courses as their science requirements. Samuel Merritt University requires that students take three semester units of either basic, introductory or general physics.
Statistics is the one main math course required by CRNA programs. A general course in undergraduate statistics instructs students on ways to collect, manage and interpret data from various sources. As nurse anesthetists must spend a great deal of time with body output data, statistics is a necessary course. According to the University of Kansas Medical Center, the statistics course must "include both parametric and nonparametric content" to be accepted as a prerequisite.
Other Required Courses
Other course requirements vary among programs. For example, the University of Southern Florida, in addition to anatomy, physiology, chemistry and statistics, requires courses in pathophysiology and health assessment. These courses can typically be completed with the bachelor of science in nursing curriculum.
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