Know your worth. That seems to be the buzz phrase traveling through all the CRNA forums. There are constant postings about rates not being high enough. No matter what the rate is it seems to be looked at as being too low, no matter what region of the country and no matter what the overall job specs seem to be. “Know your worth,” CRNA X says.

The phrase” Know your worth” seems to imply that we are worth more than the rate the job is advertising. Every time it is used, it seems to be saying “Hey CRNA, don’t settle for that, you are worth more than that.” Locum rates have gone from 90-100/hr in 2014 to 200-250 and more in 2024. For those of you who struggle with math like I do, that is a 100-150% increase in about 10 years. I currently do not know of any other industry that has seen such an increase in salary.

I am going to give you a slightly different perspective on this phrase. If you are going to value yourself at the top of the pay scale then “Know your worth” should mean to you that you need to be worth it. When I started Locums For Hire several years ago, I had the belief that every CRNA was truly interested in independent practice and had a desire to perform their own blocks, epidurals and basically any other procedure or practice in which we have been limited. However I found that this is not the case.

At least once a week I get an email from a CRNA that sounds very similar to the following. I would like a job making 250/hr plus expenses. I do not do hearts ,OB, Pediatrics. Also I do not want to take call. Also I have no experience with peripheral nerve blocks and haven’t placed a central line since anesthesia school. There is always some version of this email. Basically they want a job performing basic cases making what is currently at the top end of the pay scale. While I do not have any negative feelings toward anyone trying to make more money, I do feel you should add value. A CRNA adds value when they can provide all services.

I was recently speaking to one of the CRNA’s that works with me. She is working in an independent practice setting, performing epidurals, blocks, covering OB and basically practicing to the highest level. She is also making quite a bit of money. She adds value to this facility. She is less expensive than the alternative provider, but adds value by being able to practice at a high level. She “knows her worth.” In fact she told me of her plans to continue to learn the latest blocks and further her goal to be able to practice independently in any setting. When I recently went to the practice manager to negotiate a lucrative call pay schedule, they initially balked. However the response after a few back and forths was “While we feel this is more than we pay other CRNA’s, CRNA X is valuable to our team and we can’t afford to lose her.” Wow, I have never had that much praise placed upon me and I was like that Father watching his son hit that first home run.

I am not trying to imply that if you don’t want to practice to this capacity that I feel like you are less of a CRNA. Not at all. In many ways, I am writing this article to myself. I have much improvement to do on my end in order to practice at that level. What I am trying to say is that if you want to make the most amount of money you must add value to the facility or group. If you are going to limit your practice then expect a pay rate that is limited in range to the expectation of your practice. Know your worth and then add value to increase it.