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CRNA: Program Description: Requires successful completion of an academic program of specified didactic course work and clinical training and is a minimum of 24 months in length. COA specifies hours requirements for didactic content and a minimum number and type of anesthesia cases to be administered by nurse anesthesia students.
AA: Program Description: CAAHEP guidelines state that the curriculum should require a minimum of two full academic years. CAAHEP standards and guidelines for Anesthesiologist Assistant programs specify minimum hours for each core course or category of core courses, clinical experience, or anesthesia time and specify minimum number and type of anesthesia cases.
CRNA: Didactic Education: COA accreditation standards require at a minimum: anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology (135 hours); pharmacology of anesthetic agents and adjuvant drugs including concepts in chemistry and biochemistry (105 hours); clinical correlation conferences (45 hours); basic and advanced principles of anesthesia practice, including physics, equipment, technology and pain management (105 hours); research (30 hours); professional aspects of nurse anesthesia (45 hours).
AA: Didactic Education: CAAHEP standards and guidelines specify minimum hours for each core course or category of core courses.
CRNA: Anesthesia Clinical Education: The COA standards require that students administer a minimum of 550 anesthesia cases for a wide variety of procedures. Transcript data from nurse anesthesia students who were candidates for the 2006 national certification examination shows that the average number of anesthetics administered was 836 over an average of 1,748 hours of anesthesia time. Statistics for nurse anesthesia educational programs are not reported to AANA in terms of total clinical hours (which are much greater than anesthesia time or hours). An example of a ratio of anesthesia case hours to clinical hours provided by Oakland University Beaumont Graduate Program of Nurse Anesthesia in 2002 shows an average number of cases of 792, average number of anesthesia case hours of 1,671, and average clinical hours of 2,792. Nurse anesthesia programs report anesthesia seminars and conferences in didactic and not clinical hours.
CRNA: Total Clinical Education: CRNAs receive a minimum of seven years of formal education and preparation (4 years of which are mostly Nursing concepts not anesthesia), from the commencement of the professional education in nursing to the graduation from nurse anesthesia school, to prepare them for their careers in anesthesia. During the course of their education, CRNAs will typically have acquired at least 6,000 hours of clinical patient care experience ( which only a small percentage of anesthesia is actually practiced).The majority of the 6000 hours of clinical patient care is focused on ADL's, body mechanics and delivery of prescription drugs.
AA: Total Clinical Education: Total clinical education during their Anesthesiologist Assistant programs ranges from 2,000 to 2,718 hours.
CRNA: Scope of Training: CRNAs are capable of high-level independent function and receive instruction in the administration of all types of anesthesia including general and regional anesthesia, selected local and conscious sedation, monitored anesthesia care, and pain management. They are trained to provide anesthesia to patients of all ages for all types of surgery, from simple to the most complex cases. The ability to make independent judgments and provide multiple anesthetic techniques are critical to meeting an array of patient and surgical needs.
AA: Scope of Training: The scope of training for Anesthesiologist Assistants is truly intense. The Anesthesiologist Assistant program is characterized by training that allows more medically based curriculum rather than a "Nursing theory" approach which allows for direct focus on Anesthesia training.
AA: Anesthesia Clinical Education: Anesthesiologist Assistant programs indicate that total clinical hours range from 2000 to 2718. Published descriptions of the Anesthesiologist Assistant programs' total clinical hours are comparable to CRNA programs.