Perianesthesia nurses work mainly with patients who are waking from anesthesia after undergoing surgery. These nurses may also prepare patients before going into surgery and monitor them during surgery. Because surgery is often a stressful and scary experience for patients, perianesthesia nurses should be very empathetic and willing to go the extra mile to calm and reassure their patients. This is considered a very rewarding job, because the patients are often very appreciative towards their post-operative caregivers.
Education and Certification
Perianesthesia nurses may be registered nurses or licensed practical nurses. The nurse must be certified to practice as required by their specific jurisdiction. Most medical institutions require perianestheia nurses to have specialized training in areas such as cardiac monitoring. Specialty certification is available through the American Society of Perianesthesia Nurses; a nurse undergoing specialized training can become a Certified Postanesthesia Nurse or a Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse.
What does a Perianesthesia Nurse Do?
Nurses in this specialty can work in several areas, including a preoperative setting, a post anesthesia care unit, or an ambulatory care setting. Preoperative care perianesthesia nurses may take vitals and otherwise assess how a patient will respond to anesthesia before it is induced. In a post anesthesia setting, nurses will take care of patients immediately after they come out of surgery, as they regain consciousness, and up until they are stable enough to transfer into another area. In this setting, the nurse is the first person an individual regaining consciousness from surgery will encounter. Perianesthesia nurses need to be quick on their feet to recognize adverse symptoms and provide treatment, and should anticipate a fair number of confused and scared patients. Ambulatory care involves procedures performed in an outpatient setting. Nurses in this area may assist a patient recovering from local anesthesia after, for example, having wisdom teeth removed. These patients return home after their procedure; as such, perianesthesia nurses must ensure the patient is in good enough condition to leave the facility.
Perianesthesia nurses make an average of $65,000 per year, but this can vary widely. Location, employer, experience, and whether the nurse holds special certification all impact salary. Additionally, signing bonuses may be offered for nurses in high demand specialties, as determined by the particular hospital or other institution. Perianesthsia nurses are often one of the highest payed nursing specialties.
Nursing jobs in general are projected to steadily increase over the next decade, and this means an increase in perianesthesia jobs as well. As medical technology advances, surgery is becoming a viable treatment for more and more conditions that were previously considered inoperable. This means that more nurses will be required to assist patients before and after receiving anesthesia.
Similar Nursing Jobs
Perianesthesia jobs are relatively unique in that they are usually the last nurse to see a patient before surgery and the first to see them after surgery. Their jobs begin after care from perioperative nurses, who manage the patient’s care during surgery. However, there is generally little overlap between these two positions. Finally, perianesthesia nurses should be distinguished from nurse anesthesiologists, who actually administer the anesthesia to the patient.