Thursday, September 16, 2021

How Much Do CRNAs Make And Why I'm Totally Jealous

US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the numbers for the average salaries of CRNAs. You better sit down for this. They are quite astonishing. Remember when nurse anesthetists first broke into six figure incomes and everybody thought that was amazing? Well now they are doing much much better. According to the federal government, the average CRNA income was $189,190. However many CRNAs are doing even better than that. The nurses in Oregon are doing the best, with annual incomes of $236,540. As a matter of fact, CRNAs from eleven states earn over $200,000 per year. 

Why should I be jealous of this when the average income for anesthesiologists is twice as much? Medscape's annual physician compensation survey this year showed that anesthesiologists reported earning over $370,000 per year. I shouldn't be upset that somebody makes half my income, right?

Remember that CRNAs also have work schedules that resemble any other nurses in the hospital. They have a set schedule during the day that are practically inviolable. If they have a 12 hour shift, by golly they are only working 12 hours that day. We've had an instance where the case reached a critical period and because it happened right at the end of their shift, the anesthetist simply walked away from the patient and boogied their way to the parking lot. The anesthesiologist was the one who stayed behind to finish the case and make sure the patient was satisfactorily taken to the recovery room.

The anesthetists also have guaranteed morning and afternoon breaks along with a luxurious lunch break. We've had CRNAs literally quit because they didn't get their required lunch break one day. I've had days where I'm lucky to get a two minute run to the bathroom between cases. Getting a daily 30 minute lunch break is the stuff of fevered dreams.

CRNAs also don't work as many hours. Like other nurses, they work three days a week. Ours also don't take any calls or work any weekends. So with all that free time they can work at other locations and double their salaries if they so choose.

I've been told by CRNAs that not all of them have such schedules. Many of them work in remote or dangerous places unlike anesthesiologists who prefer to congregate in nicer locations. Some also take calls and work long unpredictable hours like anesthesiologists. But I suspect those work conditions are fairly uncommon and they always have the option of moving to a different job with all the perks.

So yes I'm jealous of the CRNAs. I know many anesthesiologists who would gladly take half their incomes for a work schedule that includes guaranteed breaks, guaranteed hours, three day work weeks, no calls or weekends, and the most important thing, little liability for any incident. I would say that's a fair trade. Wouldn't you agree?

16 comments:

  1. Besides being a complete fabrication, this is the most comically biased and intentionally misinforming “article” I’ve read in a looong time. Thanks for the comic relief!

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  2. The writer is seriously ill-informed or ill-intentioned.

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  3. Funny! Where I work the CRNAs put in way more hours than either the anesthesiologists or the anesthesia Residents! As for breaks? Yes we get breaks because we staff for it. Also, since we are in the rooms providing the actual anesthesia for the patient in the operating room, while the anesthesiologist is in the staff lounge, we are the one who need the breaks. Good grief with this "article"! Jealous much?

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    1. Yes I am. That was the point of the article.

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    2. Ha you're funny. 30 years as a CRNA and remember when we were slaves of the millionaire MDAs who made 800000 to 1 mil/year before TEFRA was "a thing" and they could "direct" bill for the entire CRNA staff while in their boat fishing on Lake Erie or golfing.
      3 decades later...they have all but died and now equity and elimination of discrimination is "a thing". Very pleased with my 340000/yr for 42 weeks of 24/7 availability for safe, independent anesthesia services. You can call me Dr. CRNA and nurse anesthesiologist. Thank you for your cute blog. Aren't you sweet. Bless your little heart

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    3. Those were the golden years for medical economics. Unfortunately I missed it by a few decades so I'm down in the trenches just like you every day.

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  4. Oh man, this is satire correct? I will assume so, rather than to poke holes in any of the numerous and completely fabricated lies that this contains. Yikes! Way to make yourself look like a complete idiot with this one.

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  5. The only anesthesiologist left in the hospital after 1900 are the call docs. Most out by 1400, post call off always, CRNA's did ALL the cases AND took call as well including weekends.

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  6. As I start my 3 days of call as a fully independant CRNA (there are no Physician Anesthesiologist on our Medical Staff) I call BS on your manufactured lies.

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  7. Before the CRNAs heap any more scorn on this humble writer, let me just say this is the market condition for nurse anesthetists in the Southern California region. If you think you are working way too hard, please look at coming here. We are seriously short of staffing and what I wrote is what the job market is offering. Hospitals are poaching CRNAs from each other here.

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    1. Humble? No. Divisive? Yes. You can't put on a public forum that you are jealous of CRNA salary and not expect someone to respond. The reality of your post is not the reality of the vast majority of CRNAs across the country. For the majority, the CRNAs are the on-call provider, and without the next day off. Many if not all physicians anesthesiologist when on call get the following day off. Not so for CRNAs. As for salary, as you eluded, the market sets the salary. There are no providers, regardless of specialty, who can demand a salary and get it if it is outside the normal parameters for their specialty. This is simply supply and demand economics 101.
      For many physician anesthesiologist, they are looking at having entered a nursing specialty and the reality of this decision is now catching up with them. They are struggling to show their value to the healthcare system. Stipends many hospitals pay anesthesia groups to supplement salaries are being subjected to scrutiny by the C-suite and there are is downward pressures to add value. A recent article by Dr. Karen Sibert, MD in Anesthesiology News titled "When (If Ever) Will We Redesign Our Work?" can shed light on the issues many physicians face.

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    2. First of all, this is not a public forum. This is a personal opinion blog that anybody can read and care to agree or disagree with. And I enjoy reading all the feedback from all my readers whether they be positive or negative. Starting a conversation is always a good thing. I could easily not allow any of these comments to be published but I enjoy the dialogue. I also read Dr. Sibert’s op ed. She made some very good points that smart anesthesiologists should pay attention to. Thank you for reading.

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  8. CRNAs work 3 days a week??? Guess I should tell my boss that before I head into my overnight call this weekend after working Monday through Friday at the hospital in my major metropolitan city!

    Clearly this was written with an agenda. Do you even work with CRNAs?

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  9. I have been a CRNA for 21 years & never seen, or heard of an anesthesiologist or a CRNA that works under the aforementioned conditions.

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  10. Spot on. I don't know what everyone's talking here. This is exactly happens here. Crnas here get a 20 to 30 min break in morning and afternoon. And 40 min lunch break.

    They are required to work 37.5 hrs here which is 3 days of 12.5 hours. But they work extra to make extra. In the end they make more than MDs here because they are guaranteed 12.5 hrs a day because of shift work.

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  11. I am a Dr of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) aka CRNA. I EARN $280k/yr, with no call, no weekends, no holidays. I have flex scheduling and often work 4, 10-hour shifts. I get an 1 hour break, including 2-15 minute breaks. Anesthesiologist are 1:4, and at academic hospitals mostly 1:2. Us CRNAs we do 99% of all the anesthesia care for the patients. Research shows there's no difference in safety whether the anesthetic is done by a CRNA or MD-A or DO-A. So truly I am very underpaid when you think about it.

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