by: Tammy L. Sulit, RN
The overflowing nurses produced year by year in our country led to a stiffer competition in acquiring a job and earning the 2 year requirement before a nurse can apply abroad. This caused unemployment of a huge number of nurses. Some nurses resorted to working in irrelevant jobs just to cope with the problem while others took courses that can help them achieve specialization in the nursing field to outstand. In the Philippines, one of the specializations aspired by many nurses is to become a nurse anesthetist, but the question is how can they earn such degree?
In an ideal Operating Theater setting, a nurse anesthetist collaborates with the Anesthesiologist in administering anesthetics and performs anesthetic techniques such as general, epidural, spinal, peripheral nerve block, sedation, or local anesthesia provision to patients for surgery. Other responsibilities vary depending on what is accepted in a country’s Nursing Practice Act which already recognizes this field of specialization. To date, only 107 countries recognize the practice of nurse anesthetists.
In the United States, a registered nurse who has a minimum of 1 year clinical experience can further take a course in an accredited institution that offers nurse anesthesia educational program and then pass the board certification in anesthesia in order to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. They have a governing body which regulates the certification of nurse anesthetists and the institution which provides such program should also be recognized by their Council of Accreditation (COA) of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. It has been 150 years that Nurse Anesthetists in the US are providing such service making them the oldest nurse specialty sector.
In the Philippines, we do not have the same organized system for this specialization until last October 8, 2010 wherein the Philippine Academy of Medical Specialists (PAMS) recognized the training program for Nurse Anesthetists of Alpha Centauri Educational System. It is a 6 months training program which teaches their students basic education in anesthesia administration, monitoring patients under anesthetics and overseeing patient’s recovery from anesthesia. They claim that the graduates of their program will then be taking a certification program from PAMS in order to qualify as Nurse Practitioner in Anesthesiology. More likely, the graduates of this program can only practice locally and just to those institutions which will recognize their training.
Today, this field of specialization for nurses is still in the beginning of its venture. In no time, congestion on this field of specialization can surely transpire due to the massive nurse aspirants who desire this specialty. The opening of this sphere should not result to milking of poor nursing graduates. This instead should be made as a tool to improve the employment of nurses by providing them a new field to consider as job option.