Anesthesia Practice Standards Updated, Published by American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

  • Mar 20, 2019

For immediate release: March 20, 2019
For more information, contact: AANA Public Relations

Park Ridge, Illinois—To ensure that patients continue receiving the highest quality anesthesia care possible, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) has published a comprehensive update to its Standards for Nurse Anesthesia Practice, the foundation of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) care delivery. The standards can be accessed at https://www.aana.com/standards.

As anesthesia experts with a 150+ year history, CRNAs are the hands-on providers of more than 45 million anesthetics each year in the United States, according to the AANA’s website (www.aana.com/crnafacts). The association represents approximately 53,000 CRNAs and student registered nurse anesthetists.

“The AANA’s practice standards support the delivery of patient-centered, consistent, high-quality, and safe anesthesia care and assist the public in understanding the CRNA’s role in patient care,” said Jessica Poole, DNAP, CRNA, chair of the AANA Practice Committee which is comprised of eight nurse anesthetists and supported by AANA staff. “The association routinely reviews and updates our profession’s practice standards, guidelines, and other critical documents based on the latest research to support CRNAs practicing at the peak of their knowledge and skills.”

This adherence to keeping current is one reason for CRNAs’ stellar safety record, according to AANA President Garry Brydges, DNP, MBA, CRNA. “No fewer than 10 major anesthesia safety studies published since 2000 have confirmed that CRNAs are the safest, most cost-effective anesthesia professionals in the United States,” he said.

With 7-8½ years of education and more than 9,000 hours of clinical training resulting in a graduate degree in their specialty, CRNAs are qualified to deliver anesthesia care for surgical, obstetrical, and emergency procedures, as well as provide chronic pain management services. They are the predominant anesthesia providers in rural and medically underserved areas of the country, to new moms in labor, and to U.S. military personnel around the world, especially on the front lines.

Poole said that “revising the practice standards was a multi-year endeavor involving an extensive literature review, multiple focus sessions, legal review, and a public comment period to obtain feedback from stakeholders across all practice settings.” The final document delineates each standard and includes links to more detailed resource documents containing the latest research to support the implementation of the standard.

“The standards apply in all practice settings, including operating rooms, nonoperating room anesthetizing areas, ambulatory surgical centers, and office-based practices,” Poole said. “As anesthesia care delivery continues to evolve at a rapid pace, the AANA and its members will continue to evolve right along with it. Our patients and employers expect nothing less.”

The essential elements of the standards include:

  • Patients’ rights, which are prioritized as Standard 1 in the revised document;
  • Preanesthesia patient assessment and evaluation;
  • The anesthesia care plan;
  • Informed consent;
  • Documentation;
  • Equipment;
  • Anesthesia plan implementation and management;
  • Monitoring and alarms;
  • Infection control and prevention; and
  • Transfer of care.

The revision also includes the addition of new standards on wellness and culture of safety.

“Patients can rest assured that when they receive their anesthesia from a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist they are in the care of a well-prepared, highly qualified provider whose sole focus is on their comfort and safety,” said Poole.

About the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

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