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Position Statement regarding the use of the term Nurse Anesthesiologist as an optional descriptor for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs).

The New Hampshire Nurse Practitioner Association (NHNPA) is committed to preserve, strengthen and promote Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) in New Hampshire.  APRN practice in New Hampshire encompasses a wide range of high-level, advanced practice care, including anesthesia.  As with all professions and their related specialties, it is expected that the most accurate and current terminology be used to clearly communicate their knowledge, skills and responsibilities to the public.  Therefore, the NHNPA strongly supports the use of the term “anesthesiology” to accurately capture the professional work of CRNAs.   NHNPA believes the title of “Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist” for CRNAs is clear and unambiguous and serves the public interest to clearly communicate their level of work and responsibility. 

CRNAs have been safely providing anesthesia for more than 150 years. Confusion has arisen recently with the increasing use of the term “Anesthesiology Assistant (AA).”  AAs do not have the same dedicated anesthesia-focused education as do CRNAs and physician anesthesiologists. They are therefore properly termed “anesthetists” or “technicians” and cannot function as independent providers.  CRNAs are advanced practice registered nurses that are board certified, licensed by the state and authorized by law and regulation to practice nurse anesthesia in all 50 states. It is the opinion of the NH Board of Nursing that the anesthesiologist descriptor: “...identifies the foundational education of the provider and further identifies them as an expert in anesthesiology.”   

NHNPA strongly believes that clarity and consistency is needed when educating the public so that they know who is delivering their care.  This descriptor plainly distinguishes a nursing administered practice from a physician anesthesiologist, dentist anesthesiologist, and an anesthesiology assistant.  The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, which is the national representative body for this profession, recognized the title “Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist” in 2019.  Further information can be found on the website https://www.nurseanesthesiologistinfo.com/.

NHNPA stands firm and supports the NH Board of Nursing in their statement recognizing the term “Nurse Anesthesiologist” and “Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist” as optional and accurate descriptors.  This opinion can be found at: https://www.oplc.nh.gov/nursing/documents/nh-bon-nurse-anesthesiologist.pdf.

Approved by Board 8/28/19