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Nurse Anesthetist or CRNA in Canada 2020 – Anesthesia Assistants

In this video I will talk about different schools that offer this program and give you a general idea of what the requirements are as well as inform you about the scope of practice and general day to day of what it is like. However, I will preface by saying I have never worked with one or seen one at the hospital.

Hi everyone, my name is Sep I am a registered nurse working in the emergency department. In this channel I aim to provide more information about the nursing profession and share my nursing knowledge to help others. If that interests you please consider subscribing and giving this video a thumbs up. I would greatly appreciate that.

In the united states of America, nurse anesthetists are called “certified registered nurse anesthetists”, in Canada they are called “Anesthesia Assistants”. There is no doubt that this field is much more well known in the states than in Canada. However, they both achieve the same goal in providing anesthesia in patients.

Anesthesia assistants are specially trained professionals who assist in the delivery of patient care during the perioperative period as part of anesthesiologist-led care teams. Graduates of this program will find employment in hospitals and surgical clinics working primarily in the operating room but also in such areas as post-operative care areas, labour and delivery, emergency, and intensive care. An Anesthesia Assistant is a specially trained Registered Respiratory Therapist or Critical Care Registered Nurse that participates in the care of the stable surgical patient during general, regional, or conscious sedation anesthesia through medical directives under the supervision of and immediate availability of the anesthesiologist.

Now I will talk about different schools that offer Anesthesia Assistant programs and general program requirements. Be sure to check out the description box for more detailed information and a list of links to schools I will be mentioning. The first school I will talk about is Thompson Rivers University just because I live in the west coast it is a west coast based school! The requirements for TRU anesthesia assistant program are. One you must reside in Canada, two you must have a RN designation with critical care experience so typically that is an ICU or ER trained RN OR you can be a registered respiratory therapist. I will say that due to the nature of the job, I am sure they prefer ICU experience over the ER.

Nurse Anesthesia’s:

Canadian Anesthiologist’s Society

TRU Requirements:

  • Must reside in Canada
  • Have your Registered Nurse (RN) designation with critical care experience OR be a regisestered respiratory therapist.
    • ICU RN’s experience is obviously going to be the area where they prefer you to work in as the environment and situation in which the patients are in is very similar.
  • One year of experience ONLY required
  • Sponsorship letter and commitment letter from an anesthesia department to complete/deliver a clinical placement there
  • Must have ACLS
  • You are required to find placements

Fanshaw Requirements:

  • Must be a RT or RN
  • 2,000 hours of work experience
  • Preference for permanent residence of Ontario
  • 45 week program – approximately 5000 dollars each term (3 terms total)

I will say that some schools have programs, but they do not have it “open” for submission. Essentially, they have the ability to open spots for students but for some reason they are not accepting students. It may be due to lack of interest or lack of resources.. For example, university of manitoba does not offer much information on their website and when you go to look at requirements the web link doesn’t work.

Video from Fanshawe college about AA:

Michener Institute

  • Part-time school
  • Approximately 39 weeks of school + clinical placements** it is more complicated
  • Letter from base site – Chief of Anesthesia, indicating support for clinical education. Please note that all students are required to complete a minimum 2 week elective rotation external to the assigned base site.
  • 2 year full time as a RN or RRT
    • RN working in ICU, ER, NICU and PACU
  • Students must have access to anesthesia equipment (Anesthesia Gas Machines, ICU Ventilators & monitors) throughout the course.

British Columbia

Thompson Rivers University:


University of Manitoba:

Nova Scotia




Michener Institute:


This is a great document where you can find information about anesthesia assistants in Canada:

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