Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwife, Nurse Practitioner Career Description


Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners coordinate patient care and may provide primary and specialty healthcare.


What they do

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, also referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), coordinate patient care and may provide primary and specialty healthcare. The scope of practice varies from state to state.

Advanced practice registered nurses typically do the following:

  • Take and record patients' medical histories and symptoms
  • Perform physical exams and observe patients
  • Create patient care plans or contribute to existing plans
  • Perform and order diagnostic tests
  • Operate and monitor medical equipment
  • Diagnose various health problems
  • Analyze test results or changes in a patient’s condition and alter treatment plans, as needed
  • Give patients medicines and treatments
  • Evaluate a patient’s response to medicines and treatments
  • Consult with doctors and other healthcare professionals, as needed
  • Counsel and teach patients and their families how to stay healthy or manage their illnesses or injuries
  • Conduct research


Work Environment

Some advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) provide care in patients’ homes. Some nurse midwives work in birthing centers, which are a type of outpatient care center.

APRNs may travel long distances to help care for patients in places where there are not enough healthcare workers.


How to become a Nurse Anesthetist, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioner

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners, also referred to as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), must have at least a master’s degree in their specialty role. APRNs also must be licensed registered nurses in their state, pass a national certification exam, and have a state APRN license.

Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners must have at least a master’s degree from an accredited program. These programs include classroom education and clinical experience. Courses in subjects such as advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacology are common as well as coursework specific to the chosen APRN role.

An APRN must have a registered nursing (RN) license before pursuing education in one of the advanced practice roles, and a strong background in science is helpful.

Most APRN programs prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. However, some schools offer bridge programs for registered nurses with an associate degree or diploma in nursing. Graduate-level programs are also available for individuals who did not obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing but in a related health science field. These programs prepare the student for the RN licensure exam in addition to offering the APRN curriculum.

Although a master’s degree is the most common form of entry-level education, APRNs may choose to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Ph.D. The specific educational requirements and qualifications for each of the roles are available on professional organizations’ websites.



The median annual wage for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners was $115,800 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $82,460, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $184,180.


Job Outlook

Overall employment of nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners is projected to grow 45 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by occupation. Because nurse midwives is a small occupation, however, the fast growth will result in only about 800 new jobs in this occupation over the 10-year period.

Growth will occur because of an increase in the demand for healthcare services. Several factors will contribute to this demand, including an increased emphasis on preventive care and demand for healthcare services from the aging population.


Similar Job Titles

Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner; Adult Nurse Practitioner; Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN); Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP); Family Practice Certified Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner; Gastroenterology Nurse Practitioner; Nurse Practitioner (NP); Nurse Practitioner, Adult; Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP); Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM); Certified Nurse-Midwife; Clinical Site Coordinator and Supervisor; Nurse Midwife; Senior Instructor, Certified Nurse Midwife; Staff Certified Nurse Midwife; Staff Midwife; Staff Nurse Midwife; Staff Nurse-Midwife; Associate Professor Program Director Nurse Anesthesia; Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA); Chief Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (Chief CRNA); Chief Nurse Anesthetist; Nurse Anesthetist; Professor/Nurse Anesthetist; Senior Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (Senior CRNA); Staff Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (Staff CRNA); Staff Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Anesthesia Service (Staff CRNA, Anesthesia Service); Staff Nurse Anesthetist, Dermatology Nurse Practitioners, Electrophysiology Nurse Practitioners, Gerontological Nurse Practitioners



Related Occupations

Nursing Instructors and Teachers-Postsecondary, Physician Assistant, Occupational Therapist, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Physical Therapist


More Information

The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field.  Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas.  As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.


Magazines and Publications



Video Transcript

At hospitals and clinics, the professional who examines, diagnoses, and treats patients’ illnesses may not be an MD, but instead, a nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners review patient histories and symptoms to diagnose health conditions. If a patient is sick or has an injury, the nurse practitioner decides how to treat it, prescribes appropriate medication, and evaluates the patient’s response to medicines and treatments. Nurse practitioners order and interpret lab tests and x-rays, record their patients’ progress and symptoms, and refer to specialists as needed. These professionals have a particular focus on providing education on health conditions and health-management techniques to empower their patients. They talk with patients about how effective, safe, and expensive their treatment options are. Nurse practitioners may have a general family practice or work in emergency medicine, oncology, or women’s health. They may focus on a population like children, the elderly, or those with mental illness. Some nurse practitioners work in clinics independently; however, all nurse practitioners consult with physicians and other health professionals when needed. Nurse practitioners are required to have a master’s degree, a registered nurse license, and in most states, professional certification. Between spending generous time with patients and putting a focus on health promotion, this is an occupation that receives very high satisfaction marks from those it serves.


Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH,
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