• Featured News

  • What is a "Militant" Nurse Anesthetist?

    What is a “Militant” Nurse Anesthetist?

    On many occasions I have seen Anesthesiologist refer to “militant” Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in online forums and even at conferences. I often wonder what that means and why someone would use the term “militant”.
    Militant is defined as:

    “combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause, and typically favoring extreme, violent, or confrontational methods.”

    I thought this was an interesting definition to assign to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) and its members. There is no doubt that the AANA fights for its members and engages in advocacy on the professions behalf, but does that constitute ‘militant’ behavior? I think it is worth it to look at what the AANA has been doing so I reviewed their actions and assessed their ‘militancy’ below.

    1) The AANA advocates for CRNAs to work to full scope of practice based on their education. The AANA bases this on a number of studies showing CRNA only practice provides the same quality of care with equivalent safety records compared to Anesthesiologists working independently. They also advocate this as a way to decrease costs to tax payers as CRNAs are trained faster and the economic cost of educating a CRNA is ¼ that of an Anesthesiologist. Advocating to allow people to work to the full extent of their training and license which expands services to all patients including rural areas which would otherwise have none at a lower cost to the public does not appear to constitute “militant”.

    2) The AANA has advocated that CRNAs get paid the same as Anesthesiologist when the same service is rendered. This seems to be common sense. In no other business would someone expect to be paid less who is equally qualified. Again this does not seem to constitute ‘militant’ behavior.

    3) The AANA has fought against the ASA when they have tried to limit, restrict or otherwise control the practice of Nurse Anesthesia on a state and federal level. They do this in order to maintain control of the practice of anesthesia and thereby the revenue it commands which in and of itself appears anti competitive. This does not appear to meet the definition of “militant” by the AANA.

    4) The AANA has defended against the ASA stating that CRNAs are not “safe” without an Anesthesiologist backing them up. Though this has been clearly debunked by all available evidence including the most recent Cochrane collaboration article, the ASA still continues to utilize fear tactics in legislative and public arenas to promote their self serving agenda. Defending against lies, mistruths and deception certainly does not constitute ‘militant’ but promulgating them certainly does.

    5) The AANA and it’s state associations have repeatedly defended against the ASA and its state chapters attempting to promote hospital policies which limit how CRNAs can practice. Specifically, the ASA wants to see all CRNAs under the thumb of an Anesthesiologist. Devoid of evidence for their position they continue to use their long tradition of “evidence by proclamation” in their attempts to restrict trade and limit or eliminate competition. If the ASA really believed that CRNAs were an inferior product to Anesthesiologists then wouldn’t they want to simply compete in the market? One would assume they would stop trying to limit CRNAs and simply let the market decide. This is not what they do and so the AANA and its state affiliates have to fight these battles. This does not appear to meet the criteria for militant behavior by the AANA.

    These are just some of the most common examples of where the AANA and Nurse Anesthetists are cited as being “militant” by the ASA. If defending my right to compete in the market place, defending my profession against mistruths and deception, expecting to work to the full scope of my training, fighting to get paid the same for the same service and fighting to keep a competing entity from legislating their agenda to control my profession and income is militant, well then I guess I am a “Militant” CRNA and I am proud of it.

    As Inigo Montoya in the Princess Bride so eloquently stated and clearly applies in this instance to the ASA and its members:

    "You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means"

    The references for these statements can be found here: http://www.future-of-anesthesia-care...m/research.php
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Evan's Avatar
      Evan -
      To call CRNAs militant is just obviated or exaggerated language that an ASA member uses to try to make a point when the person has no basis in truth of what they say.
    1. Evan's Avatar
      Evan -
      The spell check change my word Bloviated to obviated before I saw the incorrect change and hit send.
  • APEX Anesthesia Review

  • Top SRNA Review Book!

  • Recent Forum Posts


    This site used to be so cool

    Yeah, with the advent of reliable SVV/SVI/PPV assessment, CVP has become kind of irrelevant. But I still challenge those folks that say it isn't a good

    Teillard 3 Hours Ago Go to last post

    This site used to be so cool

    Agree to this. I'm about to start my program in 2 weeks, but I still occasionally see CVP used in our ICU--rarely as the only guide to resuscitation though.

    Dreamern 5 Hours Ago Go to last post

    This site used to be so cool

    I'm new to the site and currently a 2nd semester Junior SRNA, graduated with my BSN in 2015. In my ICU experience we NEVER used a CVP alone to guide fluid

    Daugh463 1 Day Ago Go to last post

    This site used to be so cool

    You are absolutely correct. I stopped going to AANA and state conferences the year after I graduated. Just too much damn chest pumping. Everyone trying

    gaspass3 2 Days Ago Go to last post

    KIDS & CRNA school

    Congratulations on your pass! I'm 2nd year, 19 months left. Its been difficult with a toddler. Even more difficult that my distance clinical made our

    painternurse 3 Days Ago Go to last post
  • Recent Blog Posts


    CRNA & Anesthesia Products

    Hey Everyone,

    I've created some CRNA and Anesthesia-related products at the following sites:


    jburkscrna 6 Days Ago
  • Latest files






  • Upcoming Events

  • Site Sponsors