These days, just about any job carries what feels like an incredible level of stress. But few careers actually match the stress of what it means to be an anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). This profession consistently ranks among the most stressful for a host of reasons — not least of which includes making critical decisions about a patient’s life and health.
As anesthesiology professionals grapple with the daily prospect of stress, healthcare organizations need to provide supports that specifically mitigate known stressors. For those tasked with administering neuraxial anesthesia, the RIVANNA Accuro Neuraxial Guidance tool for spinal and epidural anesthesia can help.
Anesthesiology is stressful
In an anesthesiology career, stress takes on a whole new dimension. Anesthesiologists contend with an exceptional level of responsibility, where their decisions are synonymous with matters of life and death. Stressors extend beyond the gravity of decision-making, too. Extended working hours, perpetual on-call demands, and the intricate anatomies of patients all compound the complexities of the profession.
Indeed, complicated anatomies are often a prime source of stress for anesthesia providers. Because it can take longer to identify landmarks by palpitation, the probability of increased needle passes increases — and so does the strain on the provider and patient.
In the post-COVID landscape, anesthesiology professionals are also at the mercy of peripheral stressors that impact their role. For instance, the industry continues to grapple with drug shortages and a scarcity of personnel, amplifying the strain on practitioners. This is further exacerbated by a growing urgency to expedite surgeries to minimize risks of complications.
Put bluntly, anesthesiology is a crucible of pressure. It’s no surprise that the field bears witness to high rates of burnout and notable turnover. For those who do stick it out, the repercussions of unchecked stress can cast a shadow on patient outcomes. It creates a clear call to action to mitigate stressors wherever possible.
Stress causes turnover, burnout, and health problems
The consequences of unrelenting stress within the realm of anesthesiology are far-reaching. The intricate balance between life-saving decisions and the emotional toll it exacts can rapidly deplete resilience and passion. According to a 2018 survey of the incidence of and reasons for nurse anesthetists’ leaving or having considered leaving their jobs:
In 2017, approximately 13.6% of nurse anesthetists left the positions that they held as of December 31, 2016. Approximately 37.6% considered leaving but did not resign their position. Combining those who left and those who considered leaving, without double counting, approximately half the nurse anesthetists in the United States either changed or considered leaving their primary position.
The toll of this profession on practitioners’ well-being is unmistakable. And unfortunately, anesthesiologists’ unwavering commitment to patient safety sometimes comes at the cost of their own, underscoring the urgency for comprehensive strategies that address the root causes of stress — and its cascading effects on patient outcomes.
The unspoken (yet generally recognized) fact is that stress, in any profession, impacts performance. In the realm of anesthesiology, any hindrance to performance has a direct and potentially devastating impact on patient safety, well-being, and outcomes. An anesthesiologist or CRNA who is burned out, tired, depressed, anxious, or generally impaired by stress is more prone to errors in a situation with no room for them.
The right tech reduces stress
As the healthcare industry undergoes a digital revolution, the benefits of technology are becoming increasingly apparent — especially for high-stress modalities. In the realm of anesthesiology, RIVANNA’s Accuro Neuraxial Guidance technology for spinal and epidural anesthesia offers a transformative solution to alleviate the weight on clinicians’ shoulders.
Designed with precision and care, Accuro Neuraxial Guidance enhances safety, speed, and efficiency in neuraxial anesthesia procedures, ushering in a new era of confident practice. BoneEnhance® Multi-Frequency Image Reconstruction elevates bone visualization, while SpineNav3D™ AI-Enabled Image Recognition enables automatic spinal landmark detection. These advancements empower anesthesiologists and CRNAs to work with heightened precision and confidence, effectively minimizing second-guessing.
Without guidance tech, the optimal site for needle placement is accurately identified in as little as 14% of patients. The precision of Accuro Neuraxial Guidance technology significantly bolsters the success rate of first attempts, reduces the number of needle passes, and expedites placement times. Patient satisfaction with pain control also receives a substantial boost, further highlighting the profound positive outcomes enabled by this innovation. And critically, Accuro takes significant pressure off clinicians by empowering them to deliver a higher standard of care.
De-escalating stress where it counts
By nature, anesthesiology will always carry a higher level of stress than most other professions. But that doesn’t mean these professionals need to be governed by it. By harnessing the potential of Accuro Neuraxial Guidance technology, anesthesiologists and CRNAs can both enhance their practice and mitigate a root cause of stress. The result isn’t just better health and well-being for anesthesiology professionals — it’s better experiences and outcomes for the patients depending on them.
Learn more about the significant benefits of Accuro Neuraxial Guidance for spinal and epidural anesthesia at rivannamedical.com