Recruiting Anesthesia Providers: Challenges and Strategies

Is there a potential shortage of anesthesia providers? There are many variables affecting the demand. The current market has older, sicker patients that need care and there is an increased number of patients in the medical system. There has been an explosion of increased service needs in and out of the OR, as well as extraordinary growth of surgery centers. In parallel, the number of anesthesia providers retiring may be greater than the number of anesthesia providers entering the workforce. Also, according to our research, the younger generation of providers have difference priorities driving their job selection.

The Numbers In 2013, the Rand Corporation conducted a survey predicting shortages of anesthesiologists and CRNAs beginning in 2017. Based on the number of residencies started in 2012, a peak of new graduates happened in 2016. In 2017, however, a drop of about 16.8 percent is expected. The maximum number of active anesthesiologists appears to be 44,500, but 40 percent of them are between 48 and 55 years of age.

The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) offers the optimistic statistic that 25 percent of active CRNAs have between one and five years of experience, which looks hopeful for future recruitment. Right now, active CRNAs are at the 50,000+ level, but will have an average age of 48 as of 2018, according to AANA.

The Geography Premier Anesthesia's experience supports the Rand Corporation's research that shortages are regionally based. For instance, upstate New York is one of the most difficult regions for recruiting anesthesia professionals. Premier Anesthesia also has experienced