CRNA vs NP – Which has More Prospect in 2023?


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    Welcome to an educational article on the study of differences between a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and a Nursing Practitioner.

    At the end of this discourse, you will learn about the differences between the two careers, their educational requirements comparisons, career path differences, and more.

    We shall discuss the following and more:

    Job Description of a CRNA vs NP
    Education/Certification of CRNA vs NP
    Average Salary of CRNA vs NP
    Between CRNA and NP – Career choice

    So, let’s roll!

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      Introduction to CRNA vs NP

      Students interested in nursing have a range of professional opportunities.

      Certified registered nurse anesthetists and Nurse practitioners are two popular specialties.

      While they share some similarities, such as educational preparation through a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), NPs and CRNAs have different professions.

      Yet, they all demand distinct abilities for success and offer diverse job chances and future career prospects.

      This comparison will be useful for those deciding between a nurse practitioner and a nurse anesthetist.

      Job Description of a CRNA vs NP

      Patients of all ages receive primary, acute, and specialist care from NPs.

      They may, however, specialize in certain areas, such as adult, child, or women’s care or psychiatric patients.

      American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) reported an estimated 1.06 billion patient visits to NPs in 2018.

      NPs do various tasks, including delivering diagnostic tests and treatments, writing prescriptions, and counseling patients on living a better lifestyle and preventing disease.

      They may work in hospitals, urgent care centers, nursing homes, and schools, among other places.

      NPs can serve as educators and researchers in addition to delivering health care.

      They can study their disciplines and apply what they learn to existing practices.

      Nurse practitioners (NPs) provide a larger range of services.

      Nurse practitioners are primary care providers.

      In contrast, nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) are educated to deliver anesthesia to patients in settings such as hospitals, clinics, private practices, ICUs, and doctors’ offices.

      CRNAs provide more than 45 million anesthetics in the United States each year.

      CRNAs can undertake patient evaluations and administer anesthesia to determine which type of anesthetic should be utilized.

      CRNAs also keep track of vital signs while the patient is sedated, assist patients with recovery and side effects, and provide post-procedure assessments.

      Education/Certification of CRNA vs NP

      In addition to a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a registered nurse (RN) license, prospective CRNAs must have a master’s degree from a nurse anesthesia program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.

      Pharmacology, physiology, professional practices, and pain management are just a few of the topics covered in these classes.

      In addition, nursing professionals can gain clinical experience delivering anesthesia as part of their advanced nursing degree programs.

      Conversely, to become a nurse practitioner, you’ll need a BSN and an MSN program, as well as the ability to pass certification examinations, do clinical research, and apply for licensing in the states where you want to practice.

      Nurses who work as advanced practitioners specialize in their skills during their advanced studies.

      It enables nurses to concentrate their studies on specific skills and duties more effectively.

      For example, while many NPs specialize in oncology or pediatrics, the CRNA certification reflects a concentration in anesthetic care.

      If an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) wants to change specialties, they’ll need more training and certification.

      Although nurses with either qualification can change specializations, changing specialties for an NP is frequently easier.

      A certified NP can enter a specialty nursing program to receive certification in their new area in a year or less.

      Still, a CRNA may require multiple years of study to earn an NP certification before switching specializations.

      Even though both programs require the same amount of study, CRNA programs are frequently more competitive since fewer schools offer them.

      Although both roles necessitate passing a certification exam, the boards that administer these exams are different.

      For example, CRNAs are certified by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).

      On the other hand, nurse practitioners are certified by organizations like the American Association of Nurse Practitioners-AANP or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

      Nursing Skills – CRNA vs NP

      Because NPs provide lifelong care and wellness counseling to patients of all ages, good communication, and interpersonal skills are essential.

      They must manage diagnoses, therapies, and various health conditions with tact.

      Compassion, empathy, and emotional fortitude can help you provide more effective and professional care while also fostering long-term relationships with your patients.

      In their roles as educators, mentors, and clinicians, NPs must also have good leadership abilities.

      In an emergency, they must manage cases and make authoritative choices concerning sensitive issues.

      CRNAs, like NPs, must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to collaborate with patients and team members.

      Patients should trust these nurses when delivering sedatives or pain relievers.

      As a result, when discussing procedures, CRNAs should use compassion and empathy to keep patients calm and reduce their anxiety before surgery or treatment.

      Workplace Variety

      A CRNA job offers less variety in everyday tasks than some other NP specialties because it is highly concentrated.

      As a result, the anesthetic treatments required and the patients a CRNA deals with might vary greatly daily.

      Because of the wide range of illnesses, NPs can treat, several NP specialties offer more options.

      Working hours

      CRNAs and NPs can have occupations that demand long shifts, ranging from 12- to 24-hour shifts.

      They may also be required to remain on-call after hours in the event of an emergency.

      Depending on the type of medical facility, advanced practice nurses may also operate in environments that allow for regular 40-hour workweeks.

      Because CRNAs work mostly in hospitals, they are more likely to work longer shifts on average over their careers.


      One of the major differences between working as a CRNA and working as an NP is utilizing diagnostic methods.

      Many nurse practitioner specializations allow the NP to diagnose and manage patient care.

      A nurse practitioner is likely to be a career choice for an advanced practice nurse interested in diagnosing and treating patients.

      CRNAs do not diagnose patients; instead, they offer anesthetic care as a treatment plan.

      Average Salary of CRNA vs NP

      It’s worth noting that the incomes of nurse practitioners and CRNAs are vastly different.

      The US Bureau of Labor Statistics report indicates that the typical annual compensation for nurse practitioners is $109,820, while the median annual salary for CRNAs is $174,790.

      Salary ranges for both roles are subject to change based on a variety of criteria, including:

      • Level of expertise: A greater wage range is usually associated with more years of clinical experience
      • Education: Salary ranges for advanced degrees may be greater
      • Location: The location is important. Salaries in larger, more urban, or metropolitan areas are frequently more competitive

      Between CRNA and NP – Career choice

      CRNAs and NPs both earn competitive incomes as senior healthcare professionals.

      On the other hand, working as a CRNA is a more rewarding professional option.

      CRNA school is incredibly demanding and competitive.

      By comparison, becoming a nurse practitioner is a lot easier.

       It is far easier to get into NP school, and the standards are less severe.

      However, a nurse practitioner may choose to advance to a CRNA or follow any other nursing career path.


      Choosing an advanced practice nursing school is a big decision, and weighing your options carefully can help you make the right choices:

      Make a list of your top priorities: Easily identify the career path that aligns with your interests.

      Take a look at both sides: Consider the positive benefits of both programs when evaluating an area where the two programs differ to create an honest comparison.

      A CRNA, for example, gets more money on average, but a nurse practitioner works fewer hours.

      Consider all NP specialties: Because NPs can specialize in a wide range of subjects, it’s crucial to think about all of your possibilities before deciding on a career path.

      If you have a great interest in a certain field, being a nurse practitioner may be ideal.



      Average Median Salary of CRNAs and NPs

      From NP to CRNA

      Nurse Beth

      Nurse Beth, Registered nurse (RN). Has more than 10 years of experience helping people get started in their nursing careers. She is an expert and helping people pass their CNA, NCLEX RN, NCLEX PN, HESI A2, and TEAS exams.

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