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Nurse Anesthesia Technical Standards for Admission, Retention, Promotion and Graduation

The following technical standard guidelines are based on those recognized as essential to the study and practice of nurse anesthesia. These guidelines specify the attributes considered essential for completing nurse anesthesia training and for enabling each graduate to enter clinical practice.

All students must possess the intellectual, physical, and emotional capabilities necessary to undertake the required curriculum in a reasonably independent manner without having to rely on intermediaries, and that all students must be able to achieve the levels of competence required by the program goals and objectives.

What is the Role of an Individual Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist?

A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) provides care for patients undergoing anesthesia across the lifespan, at all acuity levels, and having surgery of varying complexity, by:

  • Performing a history and physical assessment
  • Participating in preoperative teaching and management
  • Preparing for anesthetic management
  • Administering the anesthesia
  • Managing recovery from anesthesia

CRNAs provide services in conjunction with other healthcare professionals such as surgeons, dentists, podiatrists, and anesthesiologists (

To perform these role-related competencies, a Student Registered Nurse Anesthetist (SRNA) must possess abilities and skills that are observational, communicational, motor, intellectual-conceptual (integrative and quantitative), as well as appropriate behavioral and social skills. The use of a trained intermediary is not acceptable in any clinical situation in that it implies that the judgment of the trainee must be mediated by the powers of selection and observation of a third party.


The SRNA must be able to acquire a defined level of required information as presented through demonstrations and experiences in the basic and applied clinical sciences. Furthermore, a candidate must be able to:

  • Observe a patient accurately, at a distance, and close at hand, with or without medical instrumentation. Acquire information from written documents. Visualize information in images from paper, films, slides or video.
  • Interpret radiographic and other images, in digital or analog representations of physiologic phenomena such as electrocardiograms.
  • Interpret physiologic data from a variety of electronic resources including, but not limited to, physiologic monitors, LCD displays, auditory cues and alarms, and auscultory devices.

Such observation and information acquisition necessitates the functional use of visual, auditory and somatic sensation while being enhanced by the functional use of other sensory modalities or an alternate means and or abilities to acquire and demonstrate essential information.


A SRNA must be able to speak (or the functional equivalent), hear and observe patients by sight and sound in order to elicit information, describe changes in affect or physiological status. The SRNA must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and their families. Anesthesia providers have limited time to establish rapport with their patients, since most surgery is performed on a same-day admission or outpatient basis. Communication includes speech and writing (or the functional equivalent). The SRNA must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written forms with all members of the healthcare team.


A SRNA must possess the motor skills to directly gather physical assessment data, e.g., palpation, percussion, auscultation and other diagnostic and therapeutic maneuvers, as well as basic laboratory tests. The SRNA must be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general and emergency health care, including airway management, placement of venous access devices, performance of neuraxial and peripheral regional anesthesia blocks, stand for long periods of time, and assist with movement of anesthetized patients. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.


The SRNA must be able to rapidly measure, calculate, reason, analyze, integrate and synthesize clinical information, often in stressful situations. The SRNA must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. Critical thinking necessary for effective clinical decision making requires these intellectual and psychological skills. In addition, these skills are often required simultaneously in the clinical arena. The SRNA must be able to demonstrate scholarship skills including, but not limited to, the ability to perform extensive literature searches, critically appraise the available research evidence, synthesize information from diverse formats and sources, and cogently express understanding of complex concepts in both verbal and written forms, all while demonstrating high professional, personal, and intellectual integrity.

Behavioral and Social Attributes

The SRNA must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, be able to exercise of good judgment, accomplish prompt completion of all responsibilities related to anesthesia care, and the ability to develop mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and colleagues. The SRNA must exercise good judgment and situational awareness. SRNAs must be able to contribute to collaborative, constructive learning environments; accept constructive feedback from others, and take personal responsibility for making appropriate positive changes. The SRNA must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. The ability to adapt to a rapidly changing environment, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in complex clinical scenarios is essential. Compassion, integrity, altruism, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that are assessed during the admission process and then repeatedly during the program of study.

If you have any questions about these standards or other policies as they pertain to the Americans with Disabilities Act, please contact the ADA Coordinator and Director, Academic Support at