Like all healthcare professionals, a quality outcome for each patient is the main mission of the CRNA. Like all professionals, nurse anesthetists take steps every day to consistently deliver on this mission. In the United States, deaths attributed to anesthesia during surgery are extremely rare, occurring approximately once in every 250,000-300,000 anesthetics provided.
Several landmark studies confirm that CRNAs achieve the same level of safety and quality as their physician counterparts. In fact, researchers consistently find anesthesia care is equally safe whether provided by a CRNA working alone, an anesthesiologist working alone or a CRNA working with an anesthesiologist.
Not surprisingly, laws, rules or regulations in well over half of all states do not require physician supervision of CRNAs. And 17 states have opted out of the federal Medicare requirement that calls for physician supervision of CRNAs. In the operating room, surgeons quite properly defer to nurse anesthetists as the experts in anesthesia care, regardless of whether their state requires physician supervision.
Infographic: CRNAs: Ensuring Safe Anesthesia Care