It takes a certain type of person to be a nurse, especially a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). If you’re thinking of becoming a CRNA, keep reading our list of personality traits every CRNA needs.
Like anyone in the medical field, especially those who directly deal with patients, compassion is vital for CRNAs. There are certainly financial and other advantages to being a CRNA, and some may be more interested in other aspects of the job. But compassion for other people is the prime motivating factor for many CRNAs.
Without a baseline of compassion for patients and their families, a CRNA won’t be very helpful in their role and will likely struggle through the challenges and pressures the job presents. To succeed, a CRNA needs empathy for others or is in the wrong line of work.
A key attribute that a CRNA needs to succeed is patience. First, patience is required just to become a CRNA, as it’s a long journey from nursing school to registered nurse and finally CRNA. Along the way, many missteps and false starts can cause delays.
On average, it takes 7 to 10 years for a person to reach the level of CRNA. If an individual isn’t patient, they’re likely to get discouraged and lose focus on their goal. Even when dealing with patients, CRNAs must be patient in answering questions, explaining procedures, and more.
Another personality trait that every CRNA—and practically every professional in healthcare—needs to have is resiliency. Being a nurse in any capacity is a difficult job that takes its toll physically, mentally, and emotionally. If an individual isn’t resilient enough, the pressures of the role can wear them down.
Everyone has those bad days at work, but for CRNAs and other nurses, they can be devastating—whether it’s a long shift or taking responsibility for a mistake. They may even need to handle a bad patient outcome. Burnout is one of the most significant problems among CRNAs and nurses, so everyone needs resiliency to last in health care.
Strong communication and social skills are also vital tools in a CRNA’s inventory, both with patients and coworkers. A CRNA must interact with many people throughout the day—patients, coworkers, supervisors, techs, and many more—in different situations.
CRNAs don’t have to be outgoing extroverts to succeed, but building rapport with patients quickly and communicating confidence and reliability is crucial for helping patients. Some of these social skills are something that nurses learn on the job after years of experience. But it’s still something that anyone who wants to be a CRNA should consider and work to improve.
Personality traits may seem unchangeable parts of who we are. But many CRNAs will tell you that though they had a few traits before working to become a CRNA, many of the others developed in school and on the job. If you don’t think you have all the traits yet, don’t worry. Few do when they first begin their CRNA journey!