Recertification for CRNA’s


At the AANA annual meeting in Boston this past month, the NBCRNA reviled a program for the Continued Professional Certification (CPC) for CRNA’s as opposed to a biannual Recertification process. During the conference the topic of Recertification for nurse anesthetists became the major talking point after hours.  Currently, Rectification for nurse anesthetists requires 40 hours of Continuing Education Units (CEU”S) every two years as well as a work requirement that amounts to about one quarter time in the operating room.  The intent of the NBCRNA in initiating a CPC is to ensure that the CRNA credential continues to represent a commitment to excellence and public safety.

What will the Recertification process look like in the future for Nurse Anesthetists is a real question.  The NBCRNA has the sole authority over the process of Certificaiton and Recertificaiton for CRNA’s and has maintained their independence up until now.  Here is a short blurb from their web site:

The NBCRNA is not part of the AANA as so many seem to think.  The certification autority is not part of the function of the AANA.  Here is a recent letter from the NBCRNA “letting us know” about their progress toward Continued Professional Certification:

Continued Professional Certification (CPC)

 The new recertification program for nurse anesthetists beginning January 1, 2015.

 At the AANA Annual Meeting in Boston, the NBCRNA unveiled a draft of the Continued Professional Certification (CPC) program developed over the past three years. The intent of the recertification process is to ensure that the CRNA credential represents an acknowledged commitment to excellence, and continues to distinguish us from others in the field.

 The proposal is in draft form. To accommodate major changes to our website, the official comment period for the proposed changes is scheduled to start September 6, 2011 and runs through November 14, 2011. However, many of you already have written us with questions and comments, some supportive, others challenging the need for change, and most simply asking for more information. We have posted answers to the most frequently asked questions at We welcome your thoughts prior to the official comment date via email at

 The NBCRNA understands your concerns about changes to the recertification process and wants to reassure you that the proposed recertification exam will NOT be similar to the rigorous entry level certification exam. The recertification exam will evaluate clinically relevant knowledge in which all certified registered nurse anesthetists must be proficient regardless of their practice setting. These areas include 4 core competencies: airway management, pharmacology, pathophysiology and anesthesia technology. The recertification exam will contribute to ensuring that those who hold a CRNA credential are seen as committed to being the best educated, best prepared workforce possible.

 The proposed changes would go into effect in 2015, and the first recertification exam will be available in 2019. Those individuals who are planning to retire by the end of 2023 will not be required to take the recertification examination. To assure constituents fully understand both the goals and specifics of the program as drafted, we will shortly announce a series of web based town hall meetings to give people an additional opportunity to discuss the proposed changes in the Continued Professional Certification program. We look forward to your participation and receiving your input.


 This letter that went out to all of the current Certified Nurse Anesthetists created a firestorm of debate.  So many CRNA’s throughout the country were unprepared for this news and felt that they had no input into this process.  The list serves were lit up for weeks with accusations and denouncements of the AANA and the NBCRNA.  Revolt has been in the works and everyone seems to be gathering on one side or the other of the Mason Dixie Line ready for hand to hand combat.  Because of the mounting controversy, the NBCRNA issued another notice in the form of an email that just arrived today.

To the CRNA community from the NBCRNA

The proposed changes to NBCRNA’s recertification program have given rise to significant controversy among members of the nurse anesthesia profession. Some CRNAs indicated they were unprepared for the introduction of the CPC program at the AANA annual meeting in Boston, while others felt the proposed changes were being rushed through and forced upon them with no opportunity for their voices to be heard.

?From our perspective, the NBCRNA reasoned that the AANA meeting offered the best opportunity to begin a grass-roots communication about the CPC program, in advance of any mass communication and before opening the official comment period. It has since become clear that many CRNAs do not understand that AANA and NBCRNA are independent organizations with different missions and responsibilities, and the announcement caused confusion.

Over the past two years, while the Recertification Task Force was finalizing its work, NBCRNA representatives made presentations at 30 state meetings to solicit feedback on how we can strengthen the CRNA credential and to introduce the idea of moving the recertification process to a continuous competency model. These presentations were done in advance of any specific recommendations of the task force. We felt that when we introduced the proposed changes to the many CRNAs in attendance at the annual meeting, we were simply initiating a dialogue that would result in a healthy exchange of ideas about what the final program should look like, based on input from our community. Having now heard from numbers of CRNAs across the country it is clear that we could have done a better job of communicating about the proposed changes to the recertification program so that CRNAs would have been better prepared to exchange ideas. We regret not doing so. Still, the comments we have received to date from many CRNAs has started the discussion we were looking for about this important issue. We expect this will continue with the official comment period which begins on September 6th.

 Going forward we will make every effort to ensure that members of the nurse anesthesia profession are completely informed about the CPC program and we will aggressively encourage constructive suggestions as we work to increase the value of the CRNA credential.


 So There you have it.  The NBCRNA is “regeting” that they did such a poor job of informing the nurse anesthetist community about the proposed changes in the recertification process.  The official comment period is coming up so get to work on those letters.  Certainly, the future of Credentialing and maintaining the Certification to practice Nurse Anesthesia will require some sort of Continued Professional Certification (CPC) through Simulation testing and / or examination.

For those old timers who plan on retiring before 2023 the Recertification Exam or Simulation will not be necessary.  The first proposed Exam date for Recertification will be in 2019.  Its a bit of a way off but will come and for those that are in school now it will be a certainty.

Simulation training and testing will be a very hot topic in the years to come.  Stay tuned.


Categories : General


  1. Annette Shannon Smith, SRNA says:

    I have heard about this, looks like we will be students for life. I will be following this. Thanks!

  2. John says:

    The recert will give us a better stance against the ASA onslaught that has begun and will continue to ramp up with the proposed 30% cuts. they have and will attack our credibility, this new process will only strengthen our position. AND BTW, shame on those CRNA’s that are opposed to this process. They’re most likely the same practitioners that need to take an exam to ensure they still possess enough pertinent knowledge to practice.

  3. Dave says:

    I am still relevant, teach as well as provide research that is viewed as vital to our interest as nurses. I still oppose the onslaught by the NBCRNA, to change single handedly change our practice without our consent. Last time I checked there were 50 state organizations representating the AANA not 30. There are no studies describing the lack of credibility, skill or knowledge base that our current members possess.
    John, you are the one who has the shame to bear in “buying” the NBCRNA argument, without asking for “scientific and implacable” proof that the CRNA community does not possess pertinent knowledge, skill or the wisdom to use it. Shame on you!

  4. Chad says:


    The NBCRNA did a terrible job of informing its consumers of proposed changes I will agree. I recently attended a state meeting that the rep from the NBCRNA spoke at. The changes are required to ensure that our certifying body does not lose the ability to give us recertification. That is the main reason for the proposed changes. Not mentioned much, but truly the NBCRNA does not have a choice

  5. Interesting article! My sister is a Nurse Anesthetists so she’ll find this important I’m sure.

  6. Kerra says:

    Hi David. I am currently writing a essay for my English class over the CRNA career. I would like to use your blog, however, my teacher says I must have your last name. If you could email me that and any other information about the CRNA career that would be very much appreciated. My email is I hope to hear back from you soon. Thank you.
    – Kerra Finnie

  7. victoria says:

    I agree with Dave. I have been in a solo practice for many years and feel these new requirements are without warrant. The evidence base does not support this change. I also feel even if AANA does not have control over the NBCRNA shouldn’t they actually support us?
    I believe their are motives for this change that goes beyond what they are stating. The current recert requirements have worked and CRNAs have shown they are already SAFE and educated practitioners so why the change?
    If they can prove what has been working for years no longer works, CRNAs need this to provide excellent anesthesia care, and the majority of CRNAS vote and agree to it then ok.
    Until then, I and many others will NO longer support the AANA and will voice our dissatisfaction.

  8. It looks like all CRNA’s will need to keep going to school in order to remain employed.

  9. David says:

    The AANA is our voice. I don’t think it would be a good idea to withdraw support from our national organization. Just a thought. DG

  10. tom wendt says:

    do NOT call me an old timer because i have 32 years of experience in all forms of anesthesia!

  11. Annette Shannon Smith, CRNA says:

    I agree, I don’t feel the NBCRNA has a choice in this matter.

  12. DCHydenCRNA says:

    I encourage everyone to recert. Your experience in the field will be needed now more then ever. As we move to Obama managed health redistribution,salaries will drop, quality of education will drop as well as standards, as government seeks to control education and supply. Staying in the field will provide options to all.

  13. Amy says:

    This is all about $$$$$. They want to charge us hundreds of dollars for this test. That’s all it is. I agree,….for NBCRNA to make such abrupt changes in the recertification process was unprofessional and unwarranted. without Evidenced based facts that proves doing this will make CRNAs safer. In addition, making DNP programs is clearly a money making Scam. These DNP CRNAs have poor clinical skills because they just added a bunch of nonsense classes and took away actual hands on clinical hours. Therefore, I am no longer a supporter of AANA because they obviously do not support the views of the majority of CRNA in All 50 states. They do not represent the stat of Florida. They have their own money making agenda.


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