The National Nurse Anesthetist Week is being celebrated January 24-30, 2010. Below are some of the questions that patients voice their concerns about.

1. Is anesthesia safe? New monitoring technologies and drugs, increased education, and more extensive professional standards have made the administration of anesthesia one of the safest aspects of a surgical or obstetrical procedure.

2.Who administers the anesthesia? In a majority of cases, anesthesia is administered by a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). CRNAs are advanced practice nurses with specialized graduate-level education in anesthesiology.

3. Will the nurse anesthetist stay with me throughout my surgery? The nurse anesthetist stays with you for the entire procedure, constantly monitoring every important function of your body and individually modifying your anesthetic to ensure your maximum safety and comfort.

4. Are there different types of anesthesia? There are three basic types of anesthesia: General anesthesia produces a loss of sensation throughout the entire body; regional anesthesia produces a loss of sensation to a specific region of the body; and local anesthesia produces a loss of sensation to a small, specific area of the body.

5. What determines which type of anesthesia is best for me? The anesthesia chosen for you is based on factors such as your physical condition, the nature of the surgery, and your reactions to medications.

6. Tell me what to expect when I go for my anesthesia? All anesthesia care is provided with the highest degree of professionalism, including constant monitoring of every important body function. The CRNA’s role also includes many preparations for the patient before surgery. So it is important that the patient take an active role in these preparations by communicating and cooperating with their nurse anesthetist and surgeon. For example, frank and open discussion with the nurse anesthetist is key in the selection of the best anesthetic. The patient must follow instructions closely regarding the intake of medications, food or beverages before anesthesia.

7. Where can consumers get more information about anesthesia? Consumers are encourages to call the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists at (847) 692-7050, or visit the ANNA websites at www.aana.com and www.AnesthesiaPatientSafety.com.