Real Talk

  1. My dreams for anesthesia began during nursing school. I've always been a nerdy, overachiever, type A sort of person.

    Let us have some real talk though.

    Do you generally enjoy being a CRNA? Do you enjoy it over being an ICU Nurse? What aspects of being a CRNA do you enjoy? Which do you dislike? Please be upfront! I ask myself if I'm making the right decision, and obviously your online comments won't be my determining factor. I however want to gather all forms of data. From personal shadowing experiences to experiences of CRNAs.

    Lately I've been feeling burned out in the ICU, and I'm asking myself if CRNA will just be one big extension of that ICU suckiness. I think lately I've been getting a lot of mentally unstable, rude, and violent patients. I'm running low on my spirits and am asking myself... is CRNA gonna be this ten fold?

    Please note, CRNA is and was never an escape route for me. It was a plan, but now that I'm feeling a little crusty and baked from ICU bedside nursing I'm wondering.

    p.s I still get fulfillment from the sick puppies. It's exciting when I do get a sick patient. Vent, CRRT, multiple drips. It tires me but fulfills me a lot more than a withdrawing ETOH attempting to physically abuse me while pooping everywhere.
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  2. 46 Comments

  3. by   Bluebolt
    I'm still a student only practicing anesthesia underneath another providor so I can just give you my perspective. While your background in ICU will help prepare you to be at a baseline level to begin learning anesthesia it is essentially being in a new field. While nurse is still a word in your four part title of CRNA I've found that the role is much more like a physician. Your thought process and focus is different. What is expected out of you is very different. I'm suddenly realizing people expect me to have the definitive answers to everything in the anesthesia specialty. Nurses ask me questions, other physician specialties ask me questions expecting that I will have the correct answers. There will be skills that you will be expected to master that nobody else in the hospital (besides other anesthesia providors) will have.

    There are definitely mundane aspects and political annoyances that go along with the field but overall I highly recommend it. There are exciting major cases with complications and days when you're in the GI lab pushing 500mg of propofol on patients and watching the clock. As for patients being rude or swinging fists at you... if that goes on for more than 20 seconds you're not a very effective anesthetist.
  4. by   CardiacDork
    I appreciate your insight and response. As an outsider even, I agree that ICU nursing and anesthesia are two different monsters. I do crave the autonomy and responsibilities. I'm also very humbled and partly afraid. I guess that's a good thing. I'm just aware of what a huge responsibility it is, and I don't think it scares me enough to affect my future function but it does make me think twice about whether I REALLY want so much on my hands? Do I want to invest so much time and money? I'm just being very careful about my decisions.

    As we stand I'm currently signed up for organic chemistry spring 2018 and have two more semesters of the RN to BSN. Should be done in spring 2019, so decisions to be made will be here soon.

    How exciting for you! I hope all goes well in your schooling and thank you for your videos and responses here on allnurses, you seem passionate about anesthesia even when it gets crazy and hopeless! Thanks for sharing all your aspects of anesthesia.
  5. by   PresG33
    In my first year of clinical I did hundreds of intubations, a bunch of Alines and central lines, and on many occasions found myself so surrounded by IV pumps in a big case that I couldn't have left if I tried. I also was not yelled at by a patient or family a single time, didn't have to talk to a family about withdrawing care on their family member, didn't have to push the last bit of morphine on a palliative care patient. I did clean up poop once because the OR nurse was flustered and I wanted to help. Anesthesia is all (most) of the great stuff from the ICU and (almost) none of the bad. It's a good gig.
  6. by   CardiacDork
    Quote from PresG33
    In my first year of clinical I did hundreds of intubations, a bunch of Alines and central lines, and on many occasions found myself so surrounded by IV pumps in a big case that I couldn't have left if I tried. I also was not yelled at by a patient or family a single time, didn't have to talk to a family about withdrawing care on their family member, didn't have to push the last bit of morphine on a palliative care patient. I did clean up poop once because the OR nurse was flustered and I wanted to help. Anesthesia is all (most) of the great stuff from the ICU and (almost) none of the bad. It's a good gig.
    Sounds pretty good.
  7. by   m1lkofamnesia
    Quote from PresG33
    In my first year of clinical I did hundreds of intubations, a bunch of Alines and central lines, and on many occasions found myself so surrounded by IV pumps in a big case that I couldn't have left if I tried. I also was not yelled at by a patient or family a single time, didn't have to talk to a family about withdrawing care on their family member, didn't have to push the last bit of morphine on a palliative care patient. I did clean up poop once because the OR nurse was flustered and I wanted to help. Anesthesia is all (most) of the great stuff from the ICU and (almost) none of the bad. It's a good gig.
    This!!! I've been in full-time clinical for a little over a month now and I love it (and I/my back felt "burnt out" after only 2 years of ICU). It's awesome having one sleeping patient at a time . My favorite part about being an SRNA is working on my hands-on skills (intubation, arterial lines, etc), and using my pharmacology knowledge to keep a patient comfortable and hemodynamically stable!
  8. by   CardiacDork
    Thanks guys! Definitely a little motivation to push through these classes, Ace them all and get into CRNA school ASAP. Plan to start Fall of 2020. Right around the corner, really.
  9. by   CosmoErin
    This thread has great potential and I hope that it continues.
    Thanks for the insight
  10. by   CardiacDork
    I hope it does too. Please any CRNAs or SRNAs continue to chime in. I'm especially interested in hearing about the drawbacks of the career. Every career has them, we especially know this to be true as either current or former ICU nurses.

    I'm loving the positives though
  11. by   GoldenPups
    THIS!! CardiacDork I'm right there with you. I'm a nurse of five years employed in a general ICU at a level one trauma center and tertiary care facility. We've been incredibly busy and short staffed as of late, and to add fuel to fire the run of assignments have been down right atrocious (aggressive, noncompliant patients, unruly family, etc).

    My plans for anesthesia have been a long thought out process. However, I too have been questioning the premise of my career dream - is it really worth it?

    I've spoken with many CRNA's currently employed within our healthcare system, and not a single one of them have said they regret their decision. More so, all have reported that anesthesia to ICU is like apples to bananas. So, after a recent shadow experience my decision was made. Within the next year I'll also begin the application process and I couldn't be more excited for what lies ahead. Let's keep the good vibes coming!
  12. by   CowboyMedic
    I enjoyed reading this thread and hope it continues. I currently have 1 1/2 years of experience and there are times I want to pull my hair out with some of the patients that come into our unit and then like others have said you get that truly sick patient that makes it all satisfying. I'm looking forward to applying to CRNA schools next year.
  13. by   CardiacDork
    Quote from CowboyMedic
    I enjoyed reading this thread and hope it continues. I currently have 1 1/2 years of experience and there are times I want to pull my hair out with some of the patients that come into our unit and then like others have said you get that truly sick patient that makes it all satisfying. I'm looking forward to applying to CRNA schools next year.
    Hey totally agree with you. When I have the sickest of the sick it makes it worth it. When I have an ungrateful DKA patient throwing a temper tantrum for the 25th time, I become jaded and want to leave. When they are mad at me, when their own personal medical mismanagement and noncompliance has landed the ICU. Same thing for people withdrawing or detoxing. I'm not saying that I'm not empathetic or compassionate, or try at least ... but I am human and it's my anecdotal experiences that these patients can be abusive ... to their families... their caregivers... so forth.
  14. by   CowboyMedic
    Quote from CardiacDork
    Hey totally agree with you. When I have the sickest of the sick it makes it worth it. When I have an ungrateful DKA patient throwing a temper tantrum for the 25th time, I become jaded and want to leave. When they are mad at me, when their own personal medical mismanagement and noncompliance has landed the ICU. Same thing for people withdrawing or detoxing. I'm not saying that I'm not empathetic or compassionate, or try at least ... but I am human and it's my anecdotal experiences that these patients can be abusive ... to their families... their caregivers... so forth.
    We have a high population of homeless and the poorer side of our community due to the location of my hospital. I can't stand when patients get aggressive or abusive but I try to stay as positive as possible and do what is best for the patient.

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