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AANA J. 2005 Jun;73(3):191-6.

Assessing the degree of involvement of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists in airway management and trauma stabilization in rural hospitals.

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  • 1Anesthesiology Consultants, Bloomington, IL, USA.


Certified Registered Nurses Anesthetists (CRNAs) are airway experts who can stabilize the condition of trauma patients with skills acquired from practice as an anesthetist. CRNAs practice in a variety of settings; one of the most challenging is the rural hospital. Anesthetists have a wide range of skills. However, the setting in which CRNAs practice may influence the skills needed. This study was designed to address the issue of CRNA involvement in airway management and trauma stabilization in rural hospitals through a descriptive, quantitative, nonexperimental design study. A random sample of 382 CRNAs who practice in rural hospitals were invited to answer questions using a practice pattern questionnaire about these experiences developed for this study. Data were analyzed descriptively. The 13-item Airway Management and Trauma Stabilization Practice Pattern Questionnaire performed reliably (alpha = .8320). Results revealed the majority of CRNAs working in rural and semirural settings manage airways and stabilize the condition of trauma patients. Practice patterns suggest that nurse anesthesia students be trained to manage airways and stabilize trauma, particularly if they plan to work in rural or semirural settings.

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