National CRNA Week: The House of Representatives Recognizes the Contributions of Nurse Anesthetists

Rosemont, Ill. (AANA) – In honor of National CRNA Week (Jan. 22-28, 2023), members of the U.S. House of Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Dave Joyce (R-OH), Lauren Underwood (D-IL), Don Bacon (R-NE), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Jill Tokuda (D-HI) introduced a bipartisan House Resolution 55 on the House floor, “Recognizing the roles and the contributions of America’s Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and their critical role in providing quality health care for the public and our nation’s armed forces, for more than 150 years as the first anesthesia providers.”

National CRNA Week gives the healthcare community and the greater public alike the opportunity to reflect on the vital work and unique expertise of CRNAs and future CRNAs—students enrolled in nurse anesthesiology programs—while recognizing the power and resilience of the profession. This year’s theme “The Original Anesthesia Experts,” acknowledges the long history of CRNAs as the first providers of anesthesia. Nurses first provided anesthesia on the battlefields of the American Civil War. During World War I, nurse anesthetists became the predominant providers of anesthesia care to wounded soldiers on the front lines.

 “Today, nearly 60,000 CRNAs deliver anesthesia to millions of patients, in traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms, critical access hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, Veterans Affairs hospitals, pain management facilities, and in our nation’s military service,” said AANA President Angela Mund, DNP, CRNA. “We appreciate the recognition the House of Representatives’ resolution brings to the profession and for all CRNAs who work tirelessly to provide the highest levels of patient safety in anesthesia care for our communities.”

The congressional resolution also highlighted the role CRNAs play in rural healthcare, where they are often the only anesthesia provider at a facility.  “…CRNAs are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America, enabling healthcare facilities in these medically underserved areas to offer obstetrical, surgical, trauma stabilization, and pain management services for millions of underserved and at-risk people.”

Recent publications have placed the profession of CRNAs and nurses in the national spotlight. Nurse Anesthesia is ranked among the U.S. Top 25 Best Jobs on the most recent U.S. News & World Report listing, and, as it has been for more than two decades, nursing is identified as the most honest and ethical profession in the most recent annual Gallup poll.

According to Gallup, 79% of U.S. adults who say nurses have “very high” or “high” honesty and ethical standards is far more than any of the other 17 professions rated. Nurses have been atop the list every year except one since they were added to the annual ratings in 1999. That was in 2001, when firefighters earned a record-high 90% rating in their only appearance on the list in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“We are proud of the role all nurses and CRNAs play in keeping and maintaining that trust with our patients. Whether they are in our rural or underserved areas, our urban hospitals, or ambulatory surgical centers, patients remain our top priority,” said Mund. “Through these two rankings, it shows that the general public knows we are there for them, they trust us, and they are our focus and our passion.”