We seem to have a lot of future CRNAs on this forum. I would like to have some input on what you think we should do to promote our profession to the public and the health care community. I believe that our people are "hidden" in the OR and people, even in our facilities don't know anything about us.
For the future CRNAs--how did you first hear about the profession and what about it interested you?
Jan 8, '03
Yoga has raised an extremely important issue for us all.
I am glad it is being brought up to the "new people" here who may not be aware of what a big issue this is for nurse anesthesia.
Jan 8, '03
I can attest to the lack of awareness, I worked in Virginia for many years and never once heard about nurse anesthetists. They existed, but I think everyone just introduced themselves as "anesthesia".
I "discovered" CRNA's when I moved, as I have said in previous posts the attraction for me was;
1. Strong organization in the AANA
2. Increased autonomy and responsibility
3. The technical aspects
4. Being in a position where most of the time people will listen to what you have to say rather than assume you do not have enough knowledge to contribute. (Translation increased respect)
I think that one of the most important things we can do is introduce ourselves as nurse anesthetists, or nurse anesthesia students.
Some nursing schools do not ever mention the CRNA route as a future possiblity, maybe sending some type of educational materials to nursing schools in areas where there is not a CRNA program would increase awareness for that group.
Convince some medical show to create a central character that is a CRNA, that would increase awareness pretty quickly. Although probably not acheivable.
Jan 9, '03
I think you all are on to something. I worked in OR for 2 years and I was amazed that so many people seemed shocked to find out that a NURSE anesthestist was actually going to monitor them and be with them for the entire procedure as opposed to an anesthesiologist. People simply don't know what a nurse anesthetist is and the type of training they have.
I first heard about the profession in ADN school. It was in a paragraph plugging higher level education for RN's. The only thing it mentioned was that the average salary for X year was XX dollars. That's it. While working in the OR, I was captivated by the level of job satisfaction CRNA's share. I had several tell me that they don't even consider it work because it's such an awesome job and they enjoy it so much. And yes, the pay afforded them the lifestyle they had always wanted.
I sure hope I can snag me a spot in a school before you all let too many more people in on this good thing. It's a joke people, you all are tough group, I wouldn't want to get eaten alive for that selfish, but joking statement.
Jan 9, '03
I really want to be a CRNA, and I am currently in a 2nd degree BSN program. I had no idea that CRNA's even existed until I was in my junior year in college for my bio major. I shadowed a PA at a hospital, and the surgical director came up to me and suggested that I become a CRNA instead of a PA (this hospital was looking to expand their number of CRNA's). So, I went home and did a LOT of research on the internet about what exactly CRNA's do, and now I am planning on becoming one myself! Maybe current CRNA's could go to career days at high schools. Also, what about ads in health magazines? DO's have been doing this for some time now and the public is now more aware of what a DO is vs. an MD. But CRNA's really are an almost "invisible" profession, especially to people outside of health care.
Jan 9, '03
I apologize from getting away from the thread here but it's a good opportunity to ask a relevant question.
I too am a female in a second degree accelerated BSN. I debated about the NP route v. CRNA but find my curiosity for science and autonomy and respected is best answered by the anesthesia route. I noticed that you mentioned using a PDA and so I wondered when you find it is useful, or do you even use it very much? Do you think you will use it in critical care? I graduate in May so I have started to think about these things. When do you graduate? Thanks so much,
Jan 9, '03
While working in my first career which was in a long term care facility as a dietitian, I decided to change careers to nursing. A nurse manager at the facility explained some of the advance practice roles for nurses to me and mentioned nurse anesthesia. Before this, I had never heard of such a role. Most of the other nurses in this facility had no clue about the profession. I got lots of info on the internet. Even now in nursing school, when discussing advance practice roles, nurse anesthesia rarely if ever comes up. When I tell people that this is what I want to do, I usually have to explain it to them. I think that at the very least, students in nursing school should be educated about the opportunities that exist in this field. Most students usually get a day or two in the OR to watch a surgery. Spending this day shadowing a CRNA would be a good way to get students interested. Maybe some CRNAs at hospitals using nursing students could suggest this to the schools of nursing. Not a bad start!
Jan 9, '03
Seems like most of the people responding first heard about nurse anesthesia from a CRNA.
Get the point? Nobody is going to do this for us. We have to promote ourselves. We HAVE to identify ourselves as CRNAs. And that means to everybody. Not only to patients we are taking care of, but to their families, our kids teachers at PTA, our church groups, our families' business associates, etc. etc. The public needs to know who we are, what we do, how long we've been doing it (nurses doing anesthesia is not a new thing) and how well we do it.
And we need to recruit good RNs into anesthesia. I think it is great that many of the SRNAs were encouraged by CRNAs they knew or met. CRNAs need to take the initiative to market nurse anesthesia to nursing students and RNs.
Jan 9, '03
Loisane, I couldn't agree more. I really think doing more PR would really help the profession. In my med/surg class, we did have one lecture where all of the advanced practice nurse roles were discussed, including CRNA's. We also had a discussion about what all of the alphabet soup and certifications meant, and this was really, really helpful.
Zzzgirl, I too want to do the CRNA route for the autonomy plus the science (former bio major here). I was really skeptical about the PDA thing at first, but it has been helpful so far because I have drug references and a disease reference on it. It's much more convienent than carrying a book in my pocket to clinical. I am sure I will continue to use it when I get a job in critical care. BTW, I graduate this September-- I can't wait!
Jan 9, '03
Everybody thinks I'm going to be an anesthesiologist and everytime I respond back quickly that I'm going to be a CRNA. I think they are finally starting to realize that there is a difference. I found out about CRNAs from my mom. I've always wanted to do anesthesia but have never wanted to be a physician.
Jan 13, '03
I first heard about nurse anesthesia from my high school guidance counselor. I was thinking about a career in health care, at one point maybe even becoming an anesthesiologist. I had never heard of nurse anesthesia before he talked to me about it, and after I researched it more, I thought it sounded great. I went to a nursing school w/ a CRNA program for that very reason (I knew the competition would be tough for grad school and I wanted to stack the deck in my favor). I didn't decide to go to that masters program afterall, but I do start CRNA school this fall. Had that guidance counselor not known about nurse anesthesia, I would probably not be a nurse right now. I have heard nurse anesthesia referred to as "the best kept secret. " I would say that the best time to get in peoples' heads about the profession and expose them to the information is in high school when students are trying to decide what their "plan" is. It worked for me.
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