There are about 45,000 nurse anesthetists working in the United States. Many nurse anesthetists are employed by hospitals or outpatient surgery centers. Dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists also employ them. Others may be employed in a group or independent practice that provides services to hospitals and other health care centers on a contract basis. Some work for rural hospitals, the U.S. Public Health Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. military. Health care institutions are eager to employ nurse anesthetists because of the high-quality, cost-effective anesthesia service that they provide to patients.
Nurse anesthetists may apply for employment directly to hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, and government agencies that hire nurses. Jobs can also be obtained through school career services offices, by signing up with employment agencies specializing in placement of nursing personnel, or through the state employment office. Other sources of jobs include nurses' associations, professional journals, and newspaper want ads.
Nurse anesthetists who want new professional challenges beyond direct practice might consider teaching or administrative positions or involvement in research for improved or specialized anesthesia equipment and procedures. Some nurse anesthetists choose to acquire other advanced-practice nursing qualifications so they can be involved in a wider range of nursing activities. Doctoral programs for nurse anesthetists are expected to expand in the near future.
Check with your local Emergency Medical Department to learn if Explorer training is provided.
Consider joining the military after high school, as many nurse anesthetists are trained in the service.
Volunteer or acquire a part-time job at a hospital or health care facility.