ICN Guidelines on Advanced Practice Nursing: Nurse Anesthetists

Geneva, Switzerland, 25 May 2021 – To mark Global Surgery Day today, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has launched Guidelines for Nurse Anesthetists as part of its series of guidelines on Advanced Practice Nursing.

The Guidelines support the World Health Assembly 2015 resolution, WHA68.15, to “strengthen emergency and essential surgical care and anesthesia as a component of universal health coverage” and to ensure that, by 2030, five billion people will be able to access safe and affordable surgical and anesthesia care around the world.  Countries which have adopted the resolution can use these guidelines to strengthen the role of Nurse Anesthetists with the aim to provide safe and affordable anesthetic care to their populations.

ICN President Annette Kennedy said:

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of Nurse Anesthetists, as other Advanced Practice Nurses, has been critical to the care, treatment and very survival of patients. These guidelines aim to provide clarity on Nurse Anesthetists’ role and practice and to ensure that the role continues to evolve to support safe and affordable anesthetic care to people across the world.”

The guidelines provide a background and history of Nurse Anesthesia and describe the characteristics of the role.  Chapters also cover the Nurse Anesthetists’ scope of practice, describe the educational requirements for the role and discuss the establishment of a professional standard for the Nurse Anesthetist.  They also cover Nurse Anesthetists’ contributions to healthcare services and describe safe practice of anesthesia.

ICN would like to thank the International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists for their contribution to these guidelines.  Last year, ICN launched its Advanced Practice Nursing series of publications with the Guidelines of Advanced Practice Nursing.