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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 5, 2017 10:44 AM
From: Senator John R. Gordner
To: All Senate members
Subject: Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs)--Designation
In the coming legislative session, I intend to introduce a measure that would officially recognize Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) under Pennsylvania statute. Currently, there is no definition for “certified registered nurse anesthetist” under the state’s Professional Nursing Law, meaning these professionals are recognized only as Registered Nurses.

CRNAs are highly-skilled advance practice nurses, and their training and education programs at our state colleges and universities are rigorous. Despite this experience and background, nurse anesthetists are the only ones among the four advanced practice nursing groups that are lacking legal recognition under state law.

This is an important issue as Pennsylvania is one of just four states that do not recognize CRNAs in some form or another. This creates challenges for nurse anesthetists, especially veterans, who must obtain other state credentials to continue working in the armed forces. This isn’t a problem unique to veterans, either. Pennsylvania CRNAs on humanitarian missions also find it harder to get credentialed when offering their services overseas. For the entire profession, the result can be a “brain drain” as CRNAs leave Pennsylvania because of designation issues.

Moreover, with 12 nurse anesthetist programs spread out across Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities, our commonwealth ranks among the top draws nationally for CRNA students seeking training and education. However, without an official CRNA designation in statute, many graduating students frequently must wait as long as six months or more to get credentialed in a facility as those state boards must verify students meet the requirements necessary to be classified appropriately in those states. CRNA designation would help us remain an education and training leader for the profession.

This legislation does not address scope of practice, but merely provides recognition to the skill and expertise of Pennsylvania’s Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists.

An identical measure has been approved by the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee in two consecutive legislative sessions, with one bill passing the Senate unanimously during the 2013-14 session.

Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB274