Identifying Nurse Anesthetists' Professional Identity

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To explore professional identity of registered nurse anesthetists (RNAs) and RNAs' expectations of their professional self and the expectations RNAs meet from interdisciplinary team members when preparing patients for general anesthesia.


Focused ethnography was used for data collection.


Participant observations and interviews were conducted with patients scheduled for surgery and with RNAs in charge of the patients during the anesthetic procedures. Interviews with RNAs, anesthesiologists, and operation nurses with a specific focus on RNAs' professional identity were performed. The analysis was inspired by grounded theory.


A core variable of Identifying the professional self is presented, and two subcore variables are delineated: Gliding between tasks and structures and Depending on independence.


RNAs are at risk of downsizing psychosocial and relational aspects of fundamentals of care in favor of performing technological procedures, and RNAs' professional values are influenced by the work culture in the Department of Anesthesiology.

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