Over the past few years, demand for healthcare professionals in anesthesia services, like anesthesiologists and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), has grown as shortages in the field are expected to worsen. As this reality could force healthcare providers to reevaluate how they are filling positions for anesthesia providers, one solution could lie in utilizing locums tenens healthcare professionals. In this blog we will break down the similarities and differences between anesthesiologists and CRNAs, what is causing the rising demand for their services, and how healthcare facilities can utilize these locum tenens professionals to help meet this rising demand.


Before we discuss the rising demand for anesthesia services, it’s important to break down the similarities and differences between anesthesiologists and CRNAs in order how each can help a healthcare facility.

The similarities between anesthesiologists and CRNAs begin with their main duty, which is that they both administer anesthesia to patients before, during, and after surgery. In doing so, both also play a vital part in ensuring the safety and well-being of patients undergoing surgery or other medical procedures. Additionally, both anesthesiologists and CRNAs also require a high level of education and training.

While both professions require high level education, the paths taken by people who want to work in either profession can be vastly different, as are their scopes of practice once they are on the job. These are the main differences:

  • Education: CRNAs are registered nurses who have completed a master’s degree in nurse anesthesia, which typically takes 3 years to complete. Anesthesiologists are medical doctors who have completed a four-year medical degree, a four-year residency in anesthesiology, and may also complete a fellowship.
  • Scope of Practice: The scope of practice varies for CRNAs from state to state, but anesthesiologists have the same practicing power across the entire country. As of 2023, 23 states require CRNAs to be supervised by an anesthesiologist, while the remaining 27 states allow CRNAs to practice independently without any supervision. As for anesthesiologists, they are not required to be supervised and can practice independently in all 50 states.


According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for healthcare professionals in anesthesia services is expected to keep rising through 2031. The Bureau projects that employment rates for anesthesiologists will grow 1.1% by 2031, and the rates for CRNAs will increase by 11.8%. This increase in demand is being sparked by several factors, including:

  • An aging population: As the population ages across the country, there is an increased need for surgery, meaning demand will keep rising for professionals that can provide anesthesia services for these procedures.
  • Increasing complexity of surgery: Surgical procedures are becoming more complex, and since anesthesia providers can help mitigate risks during these procedures, they are becoming increasingly vital to successful surgeries.
  • Growth of outpatient surgery centers: Outpatient surgery centers are becoming more popular because they offer patients a more convenient and less expensive option than traditional hospitals. As these centers grow in popularity, they will need to staff more professionals to provide anesthesia for their procedures.


As the demand continues to rise for anesthesia providers, healthcare facilities may have to rethink how they fill out their staff to ensure all their patients’ needs are being met. One solution is to utilize locum tenens anesthesiologists and CRNAs because of the flexibility and wider access to coverage they offer healthcare facilities. Locum tenens healthcare professionals are available on a temporary basis, which can give facilities the ability to quickly fill staffing gaps or cover for vacations, sick leave, or parental leave. This helps healthcare facilities ensure that patients continue to receive high-quality care even when there are staffing shortages. Another major benefit to using locum tenens professionals is that they give facilities the ability to find staff even when providers are not currently available in their area. By working with a staffing agency, like Maxim Staffing, facilities get access to a large nationwide network of locum tenens professionals that can help meet their needs. Lastly, healthcare facilities can utilize locum tenens professionals to get their patients access to specialized anesthesia related expertise when a full-time option is not feasible or needed.


As a member of The National Association of Locum Tenens Organization (NALTO), Maxim Staffing understands what healthcare organizations need when staffing locum tenens. Once an organization choses to partner with Maxim for their staffing needs, our team jumpstarts the recruitment process to get your staffing needs met quickly and efficiently. We offer clients a local presence with a national reach, meaning facilities will have a direct recruiter contact throughout their partnership with Maxim Staffing, who can utilize our massive database of nationwide candidates to meet their needs. We also work with a wide variety of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, outpatient centers, or ambulatory surgery centers, meaning we have the knowledge and resources to help fit any facility’s needs. By allowing Maxim Staffing to streamline recruitment and onboarding, healthcare organizations can focus on what really matters: the health and safety of their patients.

For over thirty years, Maxim Staffing has been committed to furthering the careers of healthcare professionals, including locum tenens. Our Maxim team understands the challenges that healthcare facilities face every day, and we have the tools necessary to connect your organizations with the right professionals. Let’s work together to find qualified locum tenens healthcare professionals for your organization.