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Myth vs. Fact: CRNA vs. Anesthesiologist Education and Training

Physician anesthesiologists exaggerate their own education/training and belittle the education/training of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. When the Truth Counts…Their Myths Don’t Stand Up to Reality!

Myth: Anesthesiologists have twice the education of CRNAs.   


Not healthcare education. Anesthesiologists’ healthcare education includes medical school and their anesthesiology residency (8 years). CRNAs’ healthcare education includes nursing school, critical care nursing experience, and their nurse anesthesiology program (up to 8 ½ years total).

Did you know? Prior to medical school, anesthesiologists attain a four-year nonhealthcare undergraduate degree impressively labeled “pre-med.” However, this bachelor’s degree is a four-year nonhealthcare degree that does not prepare them to be an anesthesia provider. After graduation, both anesthesiologists and CRNAs can pursue additional years of education in their specialty, such as through fellowships. 

Myth: Anesthesiologists attain nearly five times the clinical hours as CRNAs.   

The Anesthesia Quality Institute (of the American Society of Anesthesiologists) has cited clinical hours for anesthesiologists at less than 12,000 total. CRNAs attain a total of 9,369 hours between their nurse anesthesia educational program and their critical care experience prior to entering their program, according to the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

Myth: Anesthesiologists’ education and training in handling emergencies is different from that of CRNAs.   

CRNAs and anesthesiologists effectively handle emergency situations using the exact same skills and techniques. They simply don’t want anyone to know that. Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) plus Basic CPR (BLS) are required during the time they are employed as an intensive care nurse. Re-certification is required every two years as a CRNA.

Myth: Anesthesiologists have data to back up their claims.   

They do not. That’s why they never refer to any.

Did you know? All landmark research since 2000 has confirmed the safety and cost-effectiveness of CRNAs. 

We encourage you to read the studies for yourself:  

CRNAs: Safe, high-quality, cost-effective, truthful