Being Involved In PeriAnesthesia Nursing

What Is PeriAnesthesia Nursing?

PeriAnesthesia nursing essentially involves working with patients who are in the process of recovering from surgery. The primary objective of a PeriAnesthesia nurse is to ensure that patients who have adverse reactions to the anesthesia are properly cared for, and consequently they are trained to look out for specific warning signs. In addition, a PeriAnesthesia Nurse will work with a patient before they go in for surgery, and will provide them with tips regarding how to expedite their recovery once they are sent home.

Nature Of The Work/Duties

The main duties of a PeriAnesthesia nurse are as follows:

  • They must provide preoperative and postoperative care to patients who have undergone anesthesia
  • They take patient’s medical histories
  • They perform patient examinations and assessments
  • They monitor vital signs
  • They prepare patients for surgical anesthesia
  • They explain the procedure
  • They help patients relax
  • They monitor patients while under anesthesia
  • They report any abnormal observations to doctors
  • They monitor patients as they return to a normal state to make sure there are no adverse reactions to the anesthesia


There are three main settings in which you can expect to find employment as a PeriAnesthesia nurse:

  • Hospitals
  • Ambulatory surgical units
  • Physicians’ offices

Hospitals where surgeries are habitually performed and ambulatory surgical units are the most common places to find employment with this specialty. However, there has been a huge increase in the number of PeriAnesthesia nurses employed in physician’s offices, and this number is expected to continue growing.

PeriAnesthesia Nursing Requirements

These are the requirements for becoming a PeriAnesthesia nurse:

  • To begin with you will need to earn a Nursing Diploma, an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN), or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited nursing program.
  • During this program you should take courses specifically in anesthesia-related care (some courses may have a PeriAnesthesia concentration that you can choose).
  • Then you will have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) that will allow you to hold a registered nurse license.
  • Next you should receive at least 1,800 hours of experience in PeriAnesthesia before applying to take your certification exam through the American Board of Perianesthesia Nursing.
  • Finally you will need to pass the Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse exam (CPAN) OR the Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse exam (CAPA) so that you can be a Certified Perianesthesia Nurse.

Personality Traits

There are a number of personality traits which are beneficial for all nurses to possess. However, in order to be a PeriAnesthesia nurse there are a few traits that can be more useful than others. For example, it is very important that you have social perceptiveness. This simply involves being aware of the reactions of other people (including patients as well as the doctors and other health care professionals who you will work with on a daily basis) as well as possessing a clear understanding of why people react in the ways that they do. In addition, in order to ensure that you fully comprehend the effect that anesthesia has had on your patient, you will need to engage in active listening. This involves giving the patient your full attention when they report on how they feel, taking the time needed to fully understand all of the points that your patient is making regarding his or her condition, asking questions when it is appropriate to do so, and not interrupting the patient. One of the key nursing skills that you will need to possess is communication, in that you will need to be able to effectively communicate the course of action to your patient, as well as to effectively communicate information regarding your patient’s condition to a doctor.PeriAnesthesia Nursing

Educational Requirements

To become a PeriAnesthesia nurse, you need to meet certain educational requirements. To begin with, you need to complete an RN training program which will allow you to become a non-specialized nurse. Your primary options here are to complete a diploma, an associate degree, or a bachelor degree program. These programs will consist of both theory knowledge as well as intense hands-on experience. Once you have completed your accredited program, you will sit the NCLEX-RN examination. After that, you will sit the necessary certification examinations to become a certified PeriAnesthesia nurse. Regular continuing education is required in order to maintain your license and certification, as well as to keep up to date with advancements in the field.


In order to be a PeriAnesthesia nurse you will need to first earn an RN license. Entering an RN training program requires you to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. You also usually need to be 18 years of age or older (although some states only require you to be 17, while others require you to be 19 before you can enter a program of this kind). Ascertaining that the program is accredited is essential before enrolling. The program that you attend must include both a theory aspect as well as clinical hands-on training. Hands-on training is a prerequisite before you will be allowed to sit the NCLEX-RN licensing examinations. The theory work that you will learn in the classroom-based scenarios during your training program will be the work that is assessed on the licensing examination. Once you have completed the training program, you can apply for licensure from your state board of nursing. Before actually registering to take the examination you will need to receive confirmation from the board that you are indeed eligible to become licensed. Once you have received this, you can set an exam date through Pearson VUE, the examining body, and complete the computer-based assessment. There are revision textbooks and study guides that you can buy to prepare for this, as well as a number of very useful online resources that you could make use of. Passing the exam will mean that you are licensed, which your State Board of Nursing will confirm in the months following your test. Depending on the rules of your particular state, you will also be required to renew your license at specified intervals.

How To Become A PeriAnesthesia Nurse

Training, Advancement And Other Qualifications

In some cases, there may not be specific PeriAnesthesia programs for you to focus on at the school of your choice. In that case, there are a number of related majors that you could take instead. The top five majors that will be helpful in becoming a PeriAnesthesia nurse are:

  • Adult Health Nurse/Nursing
  • Clinical Nurse Leader
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Emergency Room/Trauma Nursing

Source An Accredited Education Program provides a long and comprehensive list of schools that you could attend if you plan to become a PeriAnesthesia nurse. However, it is extremely important that the school you eventually choose is actually accredited appropriately. If it is not accredited you will be wasting your time and your money as your qualification will not be recognized by most employers. Your State Board of Nursing will be able to provide you with information regarding whether or not a school is properly accredited.

Earn Your Associate’s Degree

An associate’s degree in nursing is a good way to begin your career as a nurse. Although there are other, more advanced, degree options available, an associate’s degree is all you need to become an RN, following which it is easy to become a PeriAnesthesia nurse. The steps involved are as follows:

  • Begin by compiling a comprehensive list of the educational institutes offering associate’s degrees in nursing in your state or city
  • Create a short list of the options that best suit your needs
  • Apply for a minimum of three schools in order to increase your chances
  • Make sure that you adhere to the specific application procedures of each individual school
  • Choose your favorite option from among those schools that accept you
  • Graduating from the program earns you your associate’s degree

Obtain Your Licensure

Technically speaking, the only license that you need for this specialty is your RN license. However, it is also required that you become certified as a PeriAnesthesia nurse before you will be allowed to practice as one. To do this, you will have to earn either the Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse (CPAN) qualification, or the Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse (CAPA) qualification through the American Board of Perianesthesia Nursing Certification (ABPANC). Both of these qualifications are properly accredited. Both exams consist of 165 questions. However, only 140 of those questions will actually be graded and count towards your final score, as the other 25 are simply being tested for suitability for inclusion in a test. You will not know which questions are graded and which are not. Sylvan Prometrics administers the tests online and you will need a score of 450 to pass. Exam fees are $285 for ASPAN members or $385 for nonmembers.

There are a number of requirements that you will need to meet to become certified. The main requirement is that you have 1,800 hours of direct experience as a registered nurse in PeriAnesthesia during the two years prior to application. This could be completed in the form of:

  • Direct care
  • Bedside interaction with patients or with their families

Your certification must be renewed every three years. To do this you must:

  • Retake the relevant exam, or
  • Participate in ABPANC’s continual learning program, and
  • Have a minimum of 1,200 hours of PeriAnesthesia nursing practice

Online/Distance Education Programs

Although online or distance education may seem attractive due to its flexibility and low cost, it is important to remember that nursing is a very hands-on discipline and it is therefore essential that you engage in hands-on training. This cannot be offered online or through distance education, so you will need to make your own provisions to meet this requirement.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for this line of nursing is excellent. In relation to other industries, the medical industry, specifically nursing, is growing at a far faster rate in terms of the number of jobs that are becoming available. For example, we expect to see an increase of 48% in the number of jobs available for PeriAnesthesia nurses in physician’s offices between the years 2008 and 2018. This is a significant increase in job opportunities and serves as a sign to prospective students in this discipline that the industry is doing well. In addition, advanced technology means that more and more ailments and illnesses can be treated surgically. This in turn means that there has been, and will continue to be, a significant increase in the demand for PeriAnesthesia nurses.


Although salaries for PeriAnesthesia nurses can differ significantly based, for example, on the state that you work in, the following figures are a useful guide for determining how much you may be eligible to earn once you have become certified in this specialty (numbers taken from

Yearly Perianesthesia Nurse Pay Statistics

  • Average Yearly Perianesthesia Nurse Salary = $38,080 – $57,120
  • Starting Yearly Perianesthesia Nurse Salary = $31,360 – $47,040
  • Top Yearly Perianesthesia Nurse Salary = $44,800 – $67,200

Monthly Perianesthesia Nurse Pay Statistics

  • Average Monthly Perianesthesia Nurse Salary = $3,173 – $4,760
  • Starting Monthly Perianesthesia Nurse Salary = $2,613 – $3,920
  • Top Monthly Perianesthesia Nurse Salary = $3,733 – $5,600

Hourly Perianesthesia Nurse Pay Statistics

  • Average Hourly Perianesthesia Nurse Salary = $17 – $26
  • Starting Hourly Perianesthesia Nurse Salary = $14 – $21
  • Top Hourly Perianesthesia Nurse Salary = $20 – $30

The employment and salary opportunities inherent in becoming a PeriAnesthesia nurse make this career path a very attractive one indeed for most prospective nurses to pursue. There is a high degree of patient interaction involved in this line of work, which means that it is important that you meet the personality requirements for success in this job.

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