It's safe to say that none of the anesthesiologists in the packed audience at the “Point-Counterpoint” debate truly believed that a nurse anesthetist could do their jobs. The two debaters – Zachary Deutch, MD, FASA, and Michael Simon, MD, MBA, FASA – didn't believe it either.

But a spirited discussion ensued during the Saturday morning session at ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2021, probing how our profession ever reached the point that the question – “Can a nurse anesthetist really do my job?” – must be taken seriously.

Dr. Deutch, Associate Professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville, opened the debate by tackling the “pro” side of the argument.

“This is NOT a celebration of CRNAs and a denouncement of physicians,” Dr. Deutch said in his opening remarks.” But, he argued, we as a profession need to listen closely to the critics who believe nurse anesthetists can replace us,...

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