Survey Results Detail Signs of Improving Conditions for CRNAs

PARK RIDGE, Ill. (AANA)—The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) discovered in a new survey that employment opportunities for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) during the COVID-19 public health crisis is improving, along with access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and the supply of drugs necessary for live-saving procedures.

“As multiple states across the country continue to struggle with higher infection rates and medical facilities reaching capacity, CRNAs continue to bring the life-sustaining skills needed to care for the nation’s critically ill patients,” said Lorraine Jordan, PhD, CRNA, CAE, FAAN, AANA chief advocacy officer. “Given CRNAs’ expertise in airway and ventilation management, CRNAs are uniquely positioned to support the U.S. healthcare system in dealing with the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the most effective and safest way possible.”

While an earlier survey of CRNAs indicated the pandemic has had a negative impact on their employment, new survey results show that CRNAs largely anticipate these impacts as temporary. With elective surgeries beginning to resume across the country, the survey found that overall, 70.4 percent of responding adversely impacted CRNAs anticipate increased hours or a return to previous employment. The survey also addressed preparation for the resumption of elective procedures, clinical practice challenges (caring for COVID-19 patients), potential shortages in PPE including the reuse of N95 masks, and potential shortages of anesthesia and pain medications. 

The AANA-led survey, which examined the impact of the pandemic to CRNAs before mid-May, found substantially fewer respondents reporting PPE shortages/outages compared to a first survey distributed in March. In the first survey, 72.8 percent of respondents reported a shortage of N95 masks, dropping to only 49.1 percent in the second survey with similar declines for most other PPE items. Additionally, 21.6 percent of responding CRNAs reported a shortage of anesthesia, sedation, or pain medications in their facilities.

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