A new U.S. Air Force (USAF) policy governing anesthesia delivery in USAF facilities worldwide recognizes the full scope of certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNAs) practice — ensuring military personnel and their dependents access to safe, cost-effective anesthesia care. The policy promotes patient safety by approving anesthesia delivery models common to other American military service branches with which the Air Force often operates jointly, and that are also widely used in civilian health care.
“Our military personnel and their dependents deserve the best anesthesia care, and CRNAs are privileged to provide it to them,” said Debra Malina, CRNA, MBA, DNSc, president of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), an organizational affiliate of the American Nurses Association (ANA). “We commend the Air Force for making these policy improvements, which were developed collaboratively within the Air Force by CRNAs, nurses, and physicians. Formal recognition of the outstanding care our military CRNAs provide, through an unencumbered scope of practice policy, is based on existing scientific evidence and current best practices”
CRNAs provide the majority of anesthesia services to the U.S. armed forces at home and abroad, including the USAF. They are often the only anesthesia professionals deployed in front-line military facilities. In 2011, 142 active duty CRNAs served in the Air Force.
The updated policy, Air Force Instruction 44-102, was publicly issued on Jan. 20. For more information on the policy, go to http://www.af.mil/shared/media/epubs/AFI44-102.pdf with the anesthesia portions in Section 6B beginning on page 43.
ANA also continues to work on several fronts — and in collaboration with advanced practice groups — to ensure all advanced practice registered nurses can practice to their full scope.