Becoming a CRNA - From One Who Did It - page 10

Looking over this bulletin board, I noticed that there were few CRNA's posting, and a large number of people interested in becoming CRNA's posting. There seem to be a lot of questions. I had a lot... Read More

  1. by   surfer
    this is a very informative question answer section...So what can one do to make chances better and what did you do?
  2. by   LaurenP
    Hi,

    I'm considering becoming a CRNA but first have to complete my BSN. I'm looking at several accelerated BSN programs but was wondering if the "caliber" of the school mattered. I already have loans from my undergraduate degree(s) and would prefer to stay in my state's university system, but a few of my classmates expressed that I should go to a private, high-caliber school no matter the cost to ensure that I am as attractive as possible to potential employers and whichever CRNA programs I decide to apply to. Do you agree?
  3. by   EmeraldNYL
    Nope, go to the state school and get straight A's!!! Save your money for grad school!!
  4. by   Coll
    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience!

    I'm a 52 year old RN with ICU experience, and also teach full time as a clinical instructor in an ADN program. I've always wanted to become an anesthetist, and am wondering if, after I finish my Master's in Education (next fall), would I be kidding myself about applying to CRNA schools?

    In other words, are the application committees going to fall off their chairs laughing if a 53 or 54 year old applies? If I were to be accepted, what about working later on? Any thoughts about what it's "really like" out there? Do you think age would be a factor in whether or not I got hired? Maybe I'm reading too much into this age thing, but most people my age are thinking about buying motor homes, and I feel like I'm just getting started!

    I'm in great shape physically and financially, and I have all the pre-requisites in place, with the exception of the GRE which I will take next year. Thanks a lot for your ideas, comments...
  5. by   christel08
    hey i was wondering i know you only need a year to enter the CRNA programs but can you really get in on a year because thats all i was going to strive for and then i was going to apply, what do you think
  6. by   meandragonbrett
    Anything is possible. I think one of our regular posters got in with one year if ICU. I think you could get it, if your stats are good and you have a great interview. The interview will make or break you.

    Welcome to the board
    Brett
  7. by   tcrn
    ok, if you have time and still check your messages... I was wondering what would you really brush up on for the interview? I am preping for the ccrn exam and doing an online a&p now. In spring I will take chem and maybe a grad patho... (do you think patho is needed??)
    Why is this whole process so political?? I feel as though if they know who they are taking for "whatever reason" why ask me to interview?
    I spend a lot of time prepping for interviews and REALLY want this!! any suggestions short of selling my soul?
    Thanks
    Trish formerly of tbicu
    (your wife has my email address)
  8. by   pokey sn
    Great advice! Thanks
  9. by   nicenurse09
    Hello, my name is carla, I just graduated nursing school with a BSN. I have a job on a medical/surgical floor. I want to go to grad school in 2006 the latest. but I cant decide wether to do CRNA, or PA(physician assistant).
    can someone tell me the pro's and con's of both.

    Please include job discriptions, growth, and starting salaries for a new grad in both areas.
    Thanks



    Quote from kmchugh
    Looking over this bulletin board, I noticed that there were few CRNA's posting, and a large number of people interested in becoming CRNA's posting. There seem to be a lot of questions. I had a lot of help from others in becoming a CRNA, and this is a good chance to pay some of that back. I graduated from Newman University (Wichita, Kansas) just last August. For now, I'll try to answer some of the questions I've noticed are most commonly asked about becoming a CRNA, and what it is like when you are done. If anyone has other questions, I'll try to check this board every so often, and answer those questions, if I can.

    First, if you are in school now, nursing or otherwise, its time to start working hard. Pay particular attention to your nursing and science classes. When considering applicants, most schools look not only at the overall GPA, but at the grades the applicant received in the science and nursing courses. Anesthesia school is tough, with heavy emphasis on science. They need a yardstick to determine whether an applicant can handle the heavy course load they will be required to take. Past performance is always a place they begin.

    Look around, do some research on the various schools of Nurse Anesthesia. There is a great deal of variation in programs. For example, length of these programs range from 2 to 3 years. Narrow the possibilities down to two or three schools. Then, contact the Program Director or Advisor to find out what requirements you must meet to be accepted to the program. If you have a chance, talk with the Director, and find out what you can do to make yourself a more attractive applicant. While there is currently a shortage of nurse anesthetists, there is no shortage of applicants for the relatively few school seats each year. The competition is stiff, and you must make yourself as attractive as possible.

    Every program that I am aware of requires at least one year of experience in an ICU. I am aware of no program that accepts ER, OR, or any other type experience. This may frustrate you, it may not seem fair, and it may not make sense, but trust me, there are good reasons for this requirement. Not all programs require adult ICU experience. One of my classmates' experience was in NICU. Check with the programs you intend to apply to about what specific experience they require.

    Once you have applied and been accepted, get ready. Every anesthetist I have ever talked to has said that anesthesia school was the toughest, most demanding thing they had ever done. (The most stressful was taking boards, but that is another story.) My own life is a good example. Before becoming a nurse, I was in the US Army, and attended the Defense Language Institute to study Russian. This was a full year, total immersion program. It was not even half as tough as anesthesia school. Brush up on your anatomy, particularly the anatomy of the airway and nervous system. Know the autonomic nervous system as well as you can. Be ready to study, study, and study some more. Plan on at least two hours study time for every hour you spend in class.

    Working while in full time anesthesia school is difficult, at best. Working full time is impossible. Don't try it, you will only harm yourself.

    So, what is life as a CRNA like? That depends on where you work. I work for an anesthesia group with both Nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologists. My average work day begins between 6 and 6:30 am, and I work until anywhere from 3 pm to whenever (the longest day I have had was 19 hours). I do anesthesia for all kinds of cases, from simple general surgery to open heart surgery, vascular surgery, and neurological surgery. Nurse anesthetists perform anesthesia, pure and simple. I see my patients before the surgery, plan the anesthetic, and perform all phases of the anesthetic. I put in arterial lines, central lines, and Swan Ganz catheters. I am also able to do regional anesthesia (spinals, epidurals, and regional blocks), but the group where I work does few of these. The only kind of anesthesia I don't currently do is obstetric, because the group I work for does not do OB.

    I think the average starting salary for a nurse anesthetist is $85,000 to $110,000 annually, not including benefits, which can be, and usually are substantial. Many places not only have the salary, but also pay overtime. (Do the math. It makes staying late a whole lot easier.) Someone on this board said that some CRNA's only earn $60,000. I am not aware of any full time position with a salary that low.

    I am extremely satisified with my career choice. I love doing anesthesia. I find it fun, interesting, and challenging. I have more independence and more responsibility than any other advanced practice nurse I know.

    As I said earlier, I'll be happy to answer any specific questions I can. I'd prefer those questions be posted here, so I don't have to repeatedly answer the same questions. Rest assured, you won't be the only one with that question.

    Kevin McHugh, CRNA
  10. by   TraumaNurse
    Nicenurse09,
    For starters, you should go to the anesthesia dept. in your hospital and ask to shadow a CRNA. You should do this several times to get a feel for the profession and see if it's something you want to dedicate your life to.
    Do you know any PA's you could shadow? There are PAs in several specialties including ER, surgery, Family Practice and anesthesia.
    Do you want to work in anesthesia? ER? FP? Only you can decide that.
    Next, if you really want to go into anesthesia, then you will first need to transfer to the ICU (Provided you are working in a hospital with an ICU busy enough to get the appropriate experience). CRNA school requires at least 1 year critical care experience.

    As for job markets, I think there are a lot less job opportunities for PA's because the market has been flooded. I have no idea what a PA makes but you may get a good idea from www.salary.com
    There is a shortage of anesthesia providers now and it appears that will be the case for many years to come. This is helping keep CRNA salaries elevated. You can also get an idea of CRNA salary from salary.com or from www.gaswork.com
    For info about both professions check out www.aana.com and www.aapa.org
    Good luck with the decision making.
  11. by   nicenurse09
    :uhoh21: Sorry, guys, I have not yet learned how to use this board effectively, but im trying. Thanks for your reply. I will see it it is too late to transfer into ICU from med/surg.



    Quote from nicenurse09
    Hello, my name is carla, I just graduated nursing school with a BSN. I have a job on a medical/surgical floor. I want to go to grad school in 2006 the latest. but I cant decide wether to do CRNA, or PA(physician assistant).
    can someone tell me the pro's and con's of both.

    Please include job discriptions, growth, and starting salaries for a new grad in both areas.
    Thanks
  12. by   will7678
    Hey guys I just started taking classes at my local community college this spring in order to get an associates degree in nursing. With that in mind this may seem like a little early to be asking about becoming a CRNA but it really does sound like everything that I would love in a job. Well after I finish my associates degree I am planning on applying to get into a combined BSN/MS program where in three years I could have both degrees. I figure for the extra year (instead of just two and only having a BSN) it would be worth it. My question is, would already having a masters degree when applying for CRNA be any help or am I just wasting my time? Also the school that I want to go to for this program would also be my first choice for CRNA school (SUNY Buffalo) so I was hoping that proving that I could handle graduate work there and succeed might improve my chances of getting accepted there. In the meantime once I finsh getting my associates I will apply for an ICU so hopefully during these three years of taking classes I will also have accumulated 3 years of ICU experience.
  13. by   DanRnWv
    Although I myself am not a CRNA, I have worked with a gentleman who was 50 when he started the program and to my knowlege did just fine.



    Quote from Coll
    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience!

    I'm a 52 year old RN with ICU experience, and also teach full time as a clinical instructor in an ADN program. I've always wanted to become an anesthetist, and am wondering if, after I finish my Master's in Education (next fall), would I be kidding myself about applying to CRNA schools?

    In other words, are the application committees going to fall off their chairs laughing if a 53 or 54 year old applies? If I were to be accepted, what about working later on? Any thoughts about what it's "really like" out there? Do you think age would be a factor in whether or not I got hired? Maybe I'm reading too much into this age thing, but most people my age are thinking about buying motor homes, and I feel like I'm just getting started!

    I'm in great shape physically and financially, and I have all the pre-requisites in place, with the exception of the GRE which I will take next year. Thanks a lot for your ideas, comments...

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