My Life in Illinois

  1. Since some of you have asked, thought I'd tell you about my life so far in Fairfield, Il. The short version is that my life has improved almost immesurably since I got here.

    Hours are much better. In Wichita, a 55 hour work week was becoming something of a break. 60 - 70 hour weeks were the norm, and the only thing I wanted to do when off was sleep. In the three weeks I've been here, I haven't put in more than an 8 hour day, and some days am finished as early as 10 in the morning. There are busy days, but they so far don't even compare to normal work days at my old job. I feel like I have my life back. More time to spend with my family, play with the three year old, and just hold the baby (whose a BIG six week old).

    We have a general surgeon here who is simply outstanding. He is as technically competent as any surgeon I've met. In fact, I think he is more competent than most I've met. In what I've found to be an unusual combination, he is also very willing to listen to the nurse anesthetists. The last anesthesiologist that was here was not board certified, and from the stories I've heard from multiple sources, there was good reason he wasn't. Even though in my experience, this is fairly unusual, the fact that the last MDA wasn't the most competent reflects positively on the CRNA's, and I'm more than willing to take advantage of this.

    In some ways, I'm doing more here than at my old job. We have an OB department here, so I've been doing some spinals for C-section, as well as epidurals and CSE's. I've actually missed doing OB anesthesia, so again, I am finding this enjoyable. We do a wide variety of cases here, including OB, general surgery, ENT (mostly tubes on kids), and we have eye surgeons who come in once every two weeks to do cataracts. We also provide conscious sedation for endoscopy. We are also on call for difficult intubations in the ER, and consult on sicker patients for vent management in the ICU. So, while I'm not doing heads, hearts or big backs anymore, I'm actually finding that I'm using more of my knowledge and skills that I used to.

    I also get more contact with patients. Previously, it was pretty much limited to saying hi to the patient as they were rolled into the OR. Preop and postop visits were largely limited to the MDA's out of necessity owing to the busy schedule we kept. Now, I have time to talk to my patients preop, and do all the follow ups on my post op patients.

    Of course, I couldn't leave my old job without the boss trying to get a final dig in on me, but even that backfired. The short version that the accounting firm my old anesthesia group used was paying my student loans out of my paycheck. At the boss's direction, for about the last month they were withholding that money, but not paying my loans. He had directed that they hold the money out and keep it until the group had received the check from Fairfield buying me out of my contract. On the last day, my wife got three or four nasty phone calls from people holding the notes on my loans. She called me. Of course, I was in the middle of a case. As soon as that case was over, I confronted the boss, and told him I knew what had been going on, and whether it left him shorthanded or not, I had to leave immediately to fix the problems he had created for me. They already had my next patient in the room (though I had not seen her yet). I figured my problems with the boss were not that patient's fault, so I went ahead with that case, with the strongest suggestion to the boss that he take no more patients to the room for me, as when the ESWL was finished, I was LEAVING. I also mentioned that my wife had been in touch with our attorney, and what he had done essentially constituted a breach of contract. True to my word, I finished the ESWL, and WALKED. Oddly enough, by the time I got home, the accountants had called my house to assure my wife that all the back loan payments had been sent that day, and they had contacted all of the holders of my loans and took responsibility for the late payments.

    Short version? My life is at least three orders of magnitude better here. In fact, I have a life, something I was beginning to question in Wichita.

    Kevin McHugh
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   Doug Cameron
    Kevin, thanks for the great update. I know I was waiting to hear how things are going, and not only am I happy for you, I've been encouraged a great deal about life as a CRNA. Whenever I think twice about the road I'm choosing, I look to your posts. Thanks again for letting us learn from your experiences - Doug
  4. by   cpgrn
    I live right down the road in Mt. Vernon. Glad your happy!
  5. by   Jedav
    Originally posted by Doug Cameron
    Kevin, thanks for the great update. I know I was waiting to hear how things are going, and not only am I happy for you, I've been encouraged a great deal about life as a CRNA. Whenever I think twice about the road I'm choosing, I look to your posts. Thanks again for letting us learn from your experiences - Doug
    Kevin,

    Couldn't have said it any better!!! I'm glad that life is treating you well!!! Thanks for all of your insight for those who hope to follow a similar path!
    Jamie
  6. by   smiling_ru
    Great to hear you are happy!

    Quick question. If you were going to do it again, would you go to work for a larger facility/group as a new graduate (as you did), or would you take the job you have now?
    I guess I am looking for a pro/con on new grads in smaller facilities.
  7. by   EmeraldNYL
    Kevin, congrats on your new job and good luck! Glad to hear you are doing well.
  8. by   kmchugh
    Originally posted by smiling_ru
    Great to hear you are happy!

    Quick question. If you were going to do it again, would you go to work for a larger facility/group as a new graduate (as you did), or would you take the job you have now?
    I guess I am looking for a pro/con on new grads in smaller facilities.
    I guess I'd say the size of the facility does not matter as much to the new grad as does the availability of backup. I would NOT recommend a new grad going to a facility where they are essentially on their own. In my case, it took me a year before I was really comfortable. And I didn't move here until I had been practicing on my own, doing BIG cases for about 18 months.

    Any other more experienced CRNA's got an answer to this one?

    Kevin
  9. by   Rhoresmith
    Kevin
    I am very interested in becominga CRNA or a Nurse Practioner but I have a long ways to go... Do you have any suggestions as to extra classes I should take and Iam correct that I have to have masters for either of these programs can you direct me to any sites about this Glad you are happier in your new job hope it continues going well for you

    Rhonda
  10. by   caroladybelle
    Glad that you are happy, Kevin!
  11. by   cpgrn
    You work with two friends of mine - Deanne and Kathleen. I hope you like the hospital.
  12. by   nakitamoon
    Kevin,,,, so glad to hear things are working out great for you,,,, your family,,,, I need to do the same things myself,,,, missing my life,,,, outside of work,,,, Just a scary thought to me,,, leaving the known,,,,, for the unknown,,,,

    Good to read when someone accomplishes it,,,, and it is good!,,, Maybe giving me the courage I need to do it,,, Take care,,, Nik~
  13. by   loisane
    Kevin is absolutely right about that first job. Your education does not end at graduation. New grads still have a learning curve before they are completely independent. The time is longer for some than others, but around a year is pretty usual.

    So that first job is very important. You need backup and mentoring. I do think you will have a greater chance of finding that kind of enviroment in a larger facility. The CRNAs in smaller more rural settings quite often don't have that much interaction with each other. Many times they are relief for each other, and don't often work at the same times.

    I also think that when you are first out is the best time to take a very challenging, busy job. Work like crazy that first year. Do all the big cases. Try everything. Don't let any of your new skills get the least bit dusty. Then, later, if you want to go somewhere more laid back, that is a better time to do it.

    For instance, say your first job doesn't include OB. Later, if you want to change to an environment where OB is included, you will feel "rusty", because the only OB you ever had was in school. If you have spent your first year doing OB, it won't matter as much if you don't do OB for many years following that. You will still be able to get back into that OB environment, and feel comfortable pretty quickly.


    As others have said here before, don't even consider office anesthesia until you are very seasoned. In fact, malpractice insurances are now limiting their coverage of new grads in these settings.

    loisane crna

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