On October 9, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) strongly urged the Idaho Board of Nursing to demonstrate its commitment to patient safety and deny the use of the descriptor or title “nurse anesthesiologist.” The Idaho Board of Nursing released its October 10-11 meeting agenda
on October 8, which included an action item entitled “certified nurse anesthesiologist” rule / position statement.
ASA submitted a formal comment
on this proposal, which called on health professional boards to explicitly condemn this type of deliberate attempt to confuse patients. ASA also encouraged the Idaho Board of Nursing to immediately adopt a position statement urging nurse anesthetists to use only the descriptors that align with state statute, their nursing license, education and training, and national board certification such as “nurse anesthetist” or “certified registered nurse anesthetist.”
ASA’s letter to the Idaho Board of Nursing included the following patient-focused concerns with the term/descriptor:
No federal or state statute or regulation recognizes nurse anesthetists as anesthesiologists or authorizes the use of the title “nurse anesthesiologist.”
These misleading terms will confuse patients and lead to individuals arguing their consent to care was inappropriately obtained through the use or manipulation of medical titles.
These terms are confusing to the public and the patients that physician anesthesiologists serve in operating rooms and other settings throughout the country.
An anesthesiologist is universally understood to be a physician. Physician anesthesiologists receive 12 to 14 years of education, including medical school, and 12,000 to 16,000 hours of clinical training to specialize in anesthesia care and pain control with the necessary knowledge to understand and treat the entire human body. Nurse anesthetists, on the other hand, receive only half of this education and training and one-fifth of the clinical hours. Nurse anesthetists are nationally certified as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists and are licensed by states as such.
ASA is supportive of the anesthesia and sedation services provided by nurse anesthetists working within the Anesthesia Care Team
that are commensurate with their nursing education and training. To learn more about physician anesthesiologists and patient-centered care visit https://www.asahq.org/whensecondscount/
. To submit a comment on this proposed descriptor, please visit https://asahq.quorum.us/campaign/22999/
(physicians) or https://asahq.quorum.us/campaign/23000/