Validating international CanMEDS-based standards defining education and safe practice of nurse anesthetists

C. Herion, L. Egger, R. Greif, C. Violato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Aim: To investigate whether the CanMEDS-based International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists’ Standards could adequately define the scope of practice and reliably be used to train and evaluate Swiss nurse anesthetists (NAs). Background: Although nurse anesthetists represent a majority of the global workforce in anesthesia, policies that define the scope of practice are frequently non-existent. In low- and middle-income countries, the lack of anesthesia providers with adequate training is a major challenge. Introduction: Despite stringent training requirements, the scope of practice of Swiss nurse anesthetists is actually not defined. Therefore, we surveyed and assessed whether nurse anesthetists felt that the professional competencies outlined in this framework were aligned with their clinical practice. Methods: A cross-sectional survey investigated Swiss nurse anesthetists’ relevance ratings of 76 competencies of the International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists according to their professional practice. Cronbach's alpha coefficients were used to determine the internal consistency of the competencies, as well as factor analyses to assess construct validity of these competencies integrated into the CanMEDS roles model. Results: Participants rated the Standards overall as very relevant with high reliability. Factor analyses provided evidence of construct validity of these. Discussion: The International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists' Standards of Practice provide a highly relevant framework and a valuable set of competencies for the scope of practice of Swiss nurse anesthetists, which enabled translation from global guides to local national standards. Conclusion and implication for nursing and health policy: Adopted by low- and middle-income countries or countries where national standards are non-existent, this survey could introduce national and local policies at minimally acceptable standards of care for nurse anesthetists worldwide. The above standards have the potential to align education, outcomes and assessment of nurse anesthetists with the needs of national healthcare systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)404-415
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Nursing Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding This study was funded by a research foundation of the International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists (IFNA), and by the Research Council Kantonsspital Aarau, Switzerland. Thanks to Sabine Schaedelin, MSc and Michael Scharfe, PhD, Clinical Trial Unit (CTU) University Hospital Basel, for statistics and data management. For the kindly support and editing of the manuscript we'd like to thank Liz Phillips, Medical Writer.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors International Nursing Review published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Council of Nurses


  • Anesthesia
  • Anesthesia Providers
  • CanMEDS
  • Competency-Based Medical Education
  • International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists Standards
  • Non-Physician
  • Nurse Anesthetists
  • Scope of Practice
  • Switzerland

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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