The demand for healthcare services is increasing as the American population grows and ages and many people may wonder, “How is the job outlook for nurse anesthetists?” A nurse anesthetist is an advanced practice nurse who holds a master’s degree and has specialized training in the administration of anesthesia to patients undergoing surgical procedures, childbirth or similar events that cause significant pain. Understanding the job outlook for nurse anesthetists could help a person make an informed decision about their education and career.
Overall Job Outlook
In 2016, there were about 41,800 nurse anesthetists practicing in the United States. By 2026, that number is expected to increase to 48,600, for a total of 6,800 new job openings over the 10-year period. This amounts to a 16 percent increase in total employment numbers, which is much faster than the expected growth for all occupations. It is important to note that a lot of states have changed their laws around advanced practice nurses such as nurse anesthetists in recent years. These changes give the nurse anesthetists more authority to practice, which makes their services more valuable in ambulatory care, hospital and emergency center settings.
Job Outlook By Setting
Most of the job growth for nurse anesthetists will be in hospitals. This includes rural and community hospitals, emergency hospitals, research and university hospitals, and trauma hospitals. Freestanding birth centers will also hire more nurse anesthetists, especially in areas where there are few hospitals that offer maternity care.
Job Outlook By Location
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for nurse anesthetists is especially good in underserved areas. This includes rural and inner-city settings. The states employing the largest number of nurse anesthetists include Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, and Tennessee. States with the highest concentration of nurse anesthetists based on their total populations include South Dakota, Idaho, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Minnesota. Cities with the most nurse anesthetists include Houston, Dallas, Minneapolis, New York, Newark, Detroit, Chicago, Nashville, and Cleveland. There is a high demand for healthcare in these places, and there are not enough doctors to serve the patients. Nurse anesthetists can provide direct patient care and stretch the hospital’s ability to provide anesthesia to patients who are in need of the procedure.
What Is Fueling the Growth in Jobs
There are several factors fueling the growth of jobs for nurse anesthetists. The most important reason for the growth in this area of expertise is the aging of the American population. The large Baby Boom generation is getting older, and they have a high prevalence of chronic diseases. Many chronic diseases require procedures and tests that involve anesthesia. A nurse anesthetist may be able to perform the sedation or anesthesia necessary for a colonoscopy or biopsy. An overall increase in chronic diseases in Americans also means that nurse anesthetist services are needed throughout all ages.
Nurse anesthetists perform a critical role in the hospital setting. They augment the services of physician anesthetists in order to provide comprehensive, thorough and critical patient care. Knowing the answer to the question, “How is the job outlook for nurse anesthetists?” could help a degree holder decide where to live or whether or not to choose this area of specialty practice when earning an advanced degree in nursing.