Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Midwife, or Nurse Practitioner

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Salary Range: $80,000 or more

Average Hourly: $ 54.78

Education: Master's degree

Number of Jobs: 240700

Jobs Added to 2029: 62000

Growth: Much faster than average



Go here to see salary and job data specific to the United Kingdom.

What Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners Do

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, also referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), coordinate patient care and may provide primary and specialty healthcare. The scope of practice varies from state to state.

Duties

Advanced practice registered nurses typically do the following:

  • Take and record patients' medical histories and symptoms
  • Perform physical exams and observe patients
  • Create patient care plans or contribute to existing plans
  • Perform and order diagnostic tests
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Diagnose various health problems
  • Analyze test results or changes in a patient’s condition, and alter treatment plans, as needed
  • Give patients medicines and treatments
  • Evaluate a patient’s response to medicines and treatments
  • Consult with doctors and other healthcare professionals, as needed
  • Counsel and teach patients and their families how to stay healthy or manage their illnesses or injuries
  • Conduct research

APRNs work independently or in collaboration with registered nurses for more information on clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), also considered to be a type of APRN.

Work Environment

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, physicians' offices, and clinics. Most APRNs work full time.

Work Environment Details

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners held about 240,700 jobs in 2018. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners was distributed as follows:

Nurse practitioners 189,100
Nurse anesthetists 45,000
Nurse midwives 6,500

The largest employers of nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners were as follows:

Offices of physicians 47%
Hospitals; state, local, and private 27
Outpatient care centers 9
Educational services; state, local, and private 4
Offices of other health practitioners 3

Some advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) may treat patients in their patients’ homes. Some nurse midwives work in birthing centers, which are a type of outpatient care center.

APRNs may travel long distances to help care for patients in places where there are not enough healthcare workers.

Injuries and Illnesses

APRN work can be both physically and emotionally demanding. Some APRNs spend much of their day on their feet. They are vulnerable to back injuries because they must lift and move patients. APRN work can also be stressful because they make critical decisions that affect a patient’s health.

Because of the environments in which they work, APRNs may come in close contact with infectious diseases. Therefore, they must follow strict, standardized guidelines to guard against diseases and other dangers, such as accidental needle sticks or patient outbursts.

Work Schedules

Most APRNs work full time. APRNs working in physicians’ offices typically work during normal business hours. Those working in hospitals and various other healthcare facilities may work in shifts to provide round-the-clock patient care. They may work nights, weekends, and holidays. Some APRNs, especially those who work in critical care or those who deliver babies, also may be required to be on call.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners is projected to grow 26 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will occur primarily because of an increased emphasis on preventive care and demand for healthcare services from an aging population.

How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Midwife, or Nurse Practitioner

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, also referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), must earn at least a master’s degree in one of the specialty roles. APRNs must also be licensed registered nurses in their state and pass a national certification exam.

Education

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners must earn a master’s degree from an accredited program. These programs include both classroom education and clinical experience. Courses in anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology are common as well as coursework specific to the chosen APRN role.

An APRN must have a registered nursing (RN) license before pursuing education in one of the advanced practice roles, and a strong background in science is helpful.

Most APRN programs prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. However, some schools offer bridge programs for registered nurses with an associate’s degree or diploma in nursing. Graduate-level programs are also available for individuals who did not obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing but in a related health science field. These programs prepare the student for the RN licensure exam in addition to the APRN curriculum.

Although a master’s degree is the most common form of entry-level education, APRNs may choose to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Ph.D. The specific educational requirements and qualifications for each of the roles are available on professional organizations’ websites.

Prospective nurse anesthetists must have 1 year of clinical experience as a prerequisite for admission to an accredited nurse anesthetist program. Candidates typically have experience working as a registered nurse in an acute care or critical care setting.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Most states recognize all of the APRN roles. In states that recognize some or all of the roles, APRNs must have a registered nursing license, complete an accredited graduate-level program, and pass a national certification exam. Each state’s board of nursing can provide details.

The Consensus Model for APRN Regulation, a document developed by a wide variety of professional nursing organizations, including the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, aims to standardize APRN requirements. The model recommends all APRNs to complete a graduate degree from an accredited program, be a licensed registered nurse, pass a national certification exam, and earn a second license specific to one of the APRN roles and to a certain group of patients.

Certification is required in the vast majority of states to use an APRN title. Certification is used to show proficiency in an APRN role and is often a requirement for state licensure.

The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) offers the National Certification Examination (NCE). Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) must recertify via the Continued Professional Certification (CPC) Program every 4 years.

The American Midwifery Certification Board offers the Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM). Individuals with this designation must recertify via the Certificate Maintenance Program every 5 years.

There are a number of certification exams for nurse practitioners because of the large number of populations NPs may work with and the number of specialty areas in which they may practice. Certifications are available from a number of professional organizations, including the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board.

In addition, APRN positions may require certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), basic life support (BLS) certification, and/or advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). 

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Advanced practice registered nurses must be able to communicate with patients and other healthcare professionals to ensure that the appropriate course of action is understood.

Critical-thinking skills. APRNs must be able to assess changes in a patient’s health, quickly determine the most appropriate course of action, and decide if a consultation with another healthcare professional is needed.

Compassion. APRNs should be caring and sympathetic when treating patients who are in pain or who are experiencing emotional distress.

Detail oriented. APRNs must be responsible and detail oriented because they provide various treatments and medications that affect the health of their patients. During an evaluation, they must pick up on even the smallest changes in a patient’s condition.

Interpersonal skills. APRNs must work with patients and families as well as with other healthcare providers and staff within the organizations where they provide care. They should work as part of a team to determine and execute the best possible healthcare options for the patients they treat.

Leadership skills. APRNs often work in positions of seniority. They must effectively lead and sometimes manage other nurses on staff when providing patient care.

Resourcefulness. APRNs must know where to find the answers that they need in a timely fashion.

Advancement

Some APRNs may take on managerial or administrative roles, while others go into academia. APRNs who earn a doctoral degree may conduct independent research or work in an interprofessional research team.

United Kingdom Job Data

Source:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners.