AANA Position on CRNAs Teaching AA Students

The AANA Board of Directors has recently adopted a revised and updated AANA Position on CRNAs Teaching AA Students in the Clinical Setting. See below for the details:

CRNAs are involved in helping to train other professionals in specific clinical skills. While CRNAs
may be able to train other professionals in specific clinical skills, CRNAs cannot educate other
professionals in the entire practice of anesthesia if they are a dependent healthcare provider or their
scope of practice is more limited than that of CRNAs. Therefore, the AANA’s position and advice is
that CRNAs not participate in teaching anesthesiologist assistant (AA) students in any setting for
the following reasons:

• CRNAs are educated to be autonomous providers who are not required to work with
anesthesiologists. In contrast, AAs are dependent providers who must work under the direct
supervision of an anesthesiologist in an anesthesia care team (ACT). Consequently, CRNAs
are advised not to teach AA students because of limitations and differences in AAs’ scope of
practice, including the need for an anesthesiologist to be present to supervise AAs.

• CRNAs are able to formulate and implement anesthesia care plans autonomously based on
critical thinking and in-depth knowledge, whereas AAs can only work as part of an anesthesia
care team (ACT) with all tasks delegated by an anesthesiologist. Therefore, physician
anesthesiologists are best positioned to teach, and are responsible for teaching, AA students
to assist physician anesthesiologists as part of the ACT.

• CRNAs are qualified to perform all aspects of anesthesia care autonomously, based on their
education, training, licensure, and certification; by comparison, AAs have different education,
training, licensing and certification, and they are limited to serving in an assistant capacity to
physician anesthesiologists. Additionally, the educational path to becoming a CRNA includes
rigorous clinical and critical care prerequisites for entry into a nurse anesthesia program;
there are no such requirements for entry into an AA program.

• While it is acceptable for CRNAs to train another provider on specific technical skills in certain
circumstances, CRNAs cannot educate and evaluate students, other than students training
to be independent/autonomous anesthesia providers such as student registered nurse
anesthetists (SRNAs), physician anesthesiologist residents, dental anesthesiologist
residents, and oral maxillofacial surgical residents in the entire practice of anesthesia due to
substantial differences in clinical background, educational paths and scope of practice.

• Note that this position has been adopted by the Nebraska Board of Nursing.

(Copy provided by AANA)