Not sure CRNA is for me

  1. Just curious if anyone out there is not happy as a CRNA. Just curious if anyone has become a nurse practitioner, gone to medical school, or left the field of medicine entirely. What did you not like about being a CRNA? I have been a CRNA for 5 years and I am tired of the job. I would like to talk to my patients more and I am not happy sitting in one room for hours. I like to get out and about and see the light of day sometimes. Just hoping to hear if someone feels the same way and what you did about it.
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  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   ICUman
    Thoughts like these are so intriguing to me, because I feel like in nursing CRNA is flaunted as the "golden dream nursing career", where you get to kick back most of the time, and make big bucks doing it. I know that is an untrue overgeneralization.

    I find it refreshing to see counter perspectives like these that paint the opposite of what the public tends to perceive about nurse anesthesia. Good to see a dose of reality shared with the AN community.
    OP, there is a thread here several years old about a CRNA who was unhappy and he left to do another field. Here's the link to it: Very Unhappy With My Career

    Maybe it will help you decide what to do. Perhaps NP may be more up your alley?
  4. by   Ruby Vee
    I'm at the bedside, and my master's isn't in nursing. A good friend is now an NP, and she hates it. She wishes she had never left the bedside, but the mountain of debt she incurred keeper her in her NP job. I have other friends who quit graduate school (and one who quit anesthesia school) partway through because it wasn't what they had fantasized about, it wasn't going to be so much better as to be worth the time and money spent getting there or because their plans changed. And one colleague who was kicked out of anesthesia school after "an incident" who now says he believes that was the best thing that could have ever happened to him.

    After five years, you've given it a good shot. If you're truly unhappy, look for something else. You're still an RN; there are plenty of opportunities.
  5. by   annie.rn
    I was very good friends at one time with a CRNA who hated his career choice. He used to describe his job as "hours and hours of boredom punctuated by moments if sheer terror." He swore that when he retired (he was in the military) he was going to become a greeter at Wal-Mart. I lost touch w/ him so I'm not sure if he ever got that job at Wal-Mart. I know this wasn't helpful but know that you are not alone.
  6. by   traumaRUs
    I'm an APN also though not CRNA and I am actively looking for a change.

    I would go back to the ER as a staff nurse in a heartbeat!
    Last edit by traumaRUs on Apr 3, '15
  7. by   imenid37
    Not a CRNA. I am a CNS without an exam in my field so no credential. I also have an MSN in nursing education. Writing a policy or two is ok. However, now that the staff don't and won't at least look at one or two policies to revise I have all 125+. I am on multiple committees and attend endless meetings. I do like to see how changing a policy/practice can improve care. Really, I only get to look at the data because I have little patient contact any more. And of course as a salaried person, I now cannot make overtime.


    I am on a sabbatical of sorts because I am getting a newly opened unit. I am actually shadowing nurses in a sister hospital and learning how to care for this new population. I am loving it. It makes me sad that there isn't a place at the bedside where I could be "an expert" and use my bedside nursing skills fully.
    I still consider being a CNM because I love my L&D patients and M/B couplets. More school and more debt at age 50+ HMMM??? I am really seriously planning to go for it it, but I do have to clear some debt before moving forward.

    The variety of patient care is great. The long hours, shortage of staff and resources, lack of "power" and dealing with immature and irrational docs is a huge downside. As a very experienced OB RN, I have a pretty good idea of what is the standard of care for patients. In my last few months at the bedside, I saw some poor practices and did not my name attached to those situations.
    If we ever really do practice to the "top" of our RN license, I think there is a lot of good to be done. Nurses need more real power and pull in organizations. That, to me, is one of the biggest dissatisfiers to bedside nursing.

    Did I mention the mountain of documentation? UGGGHH!

    In the end, I was happiest with my job when I was at the bedside. I am glad others feel the same. I really think before getting into debt and years of schooling, people who want to leave the bedside should shadow and talk honestly with someone who has done it. Some of us are happy. Some are not. I think deep down, I am bored.
  8. by   Stalirris
    If you're thinking of making a huge career choice like this than you need to shadow people. Shadow a CRNA a few days. If it's NP than shadow an NP. You'll learn so much just doing that a couple days. It's worth it to find out first hand instead of relying on others on their opinion.

    I've only spoken to 1 CRNA who said they hated their career choice, among over the half dozen I asked. When I mentioned the one person who hated their job the others were shocked.

    I shadowed for 2 days in the OR and it was awesome. I've been an ICU nurse for 19 years. I'm ready for a change and nurse anesthesia involves everything that I love about being a critical care RN. It includes hands on patient contact, critical thinking, critical care skills and patient advocacy. At this point, it's not about the money for me, but about keeping nursing interesting and maintaining my passion.
  9. by   delawaremalenurse
    Quote from Stalirris
    If you're thinking of making a huge career choice like this than you need to shadow people. Shadow a CRNA a few days. If it's NP than shadow an NP. You'll learn so much just doing that a couple days. It's worth it to find out first hand instead of relying on others on their opinion.

    I've only spoken to 1 CRNA who said they hated their career choice, among over the half dozen I asked. When I mentioned the one person who hated their job the others were shocked.

    I shadowed for 2 days in the OR and it was awesome. I've been an ICU nurse for 19 years. I'm ready for a change and nurse anesthesia involves everything that I love about being a critical care RN. It includes hands on patient contact, critical thinking, critical care skills and patient advocacy. At this point, it's not about the money for me, but about keeping nursing interesting and maintaining my passion.
    OP is already a CRNA
  10. by   Bluebolt
    Every field will have a percentage who would rather be doing something else after a time. There is no perfect job that everyone will want to do for their entire career. When I was a new nurse starting off in the ICU I was shocked to hear some older nurses say they wanted to get out of the ICU and do something else. Of course many nurses covet the ICU position (two patients, etc) but even in that environment some decided they no longer enjoyed it.

    I believe CRNA's can join together and run their own outpatient clinic and have a more doctor/patient relationship if that may be of interest to you. You could work in an outpatient pain clinic. If you ultimately decide to get out of the anesthesia world altogether you could just get your certificate as a CRNP, I don't believe it takes very long if you're already a CRNA.
  11. by   MatyIce
    So why don't you?
  12. by   CRNAinNY
    Hey there. I, too, have been a CRNA for 5 years, I don't like it either. I actually kindof miss the ICU. It feels isolated in the OR. Hours of monotony, punctuated by moments of activity. Student loan debt keeps me from considering a career move in the near future :-/
  13. by   jcdaly
    CRNA isn't an easy job...Hours and hours behind drapes in an OR with all huge personalities. I have been doing it for several years. Many things about the job is stagnating. A few more years for me, and may go back to nursing. Many people in anesthesia are unhappy. An attending said to me once after being asked was he happy with anesthesia.."Is anyone happy with anesthesia?"..Just a tough environment. To those who like it, good for you...Just keep your eyes open for other jobs...also, a new group to work with may make all the difference...Good Luck
  14. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from jcdaly
    CRNA isn't an easy job...Hours and hours behind drapes in an OR with all huge personalities. I have been doing it for several years. Many things about the job is stagnating. A few more years for me, and may go back to nursing. Many people in anesthesia are unhappy. An attending said to me once after being asked was he happy with anesthesia.."Is anyone happy with anesthesia?"..Just a tough environment. To those who like it, good for you...Just keep your eyes open for other jobs...also, a new group to work with may make all the difference...Good Luck
    A lot of people are sure begging to get into anesthesia. Do THEY know that no one is happy there?

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