Why did you become a CRNA?

  1. I am not a nurse. At least not yet. I am preparing to apply to 3 accelerated programs as I already have a degree. I am somewhat interested in nurse anesthesia, but want to wait and work as a staff nurse first to see what I enjoy. I know I want to ultimately get a MSN, but not making a decision so soon.

    I often hear pre-nursing or nursing students say they want to be a CRNA and most of them do not know what the specialty entails. A lot of people see the high earning potential and this drives their decision.

    Does this make you angry as a CRNA and why did you decide to become one? I do not think it is wrong to want a career or position that gives you good financial compensation, but I think it is wrong to based your decision on that one thing. I think people do not consider that first of all the competitiveness of the programs (to get in) and the high level of autonomy and skill the job requires.

    What do you all think?
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   susanna
    Quote from cns48
    Does this make you angry as a CRNA and why did you decide to become one? I do not think it is wrong to want a career or position that gives you good financial compensation, but I think it is wrong to based your decision on that one thing. I think people do not consider that first of all the competitiveness of the programs (to get in) and the high level of autonomy and skill the job requires.

    What do you all think?
    I'm in the same position as you. I'm not a nurse yet but am waiting to get my ADN or BSN to eventually get my CRNA. But I thought I'd contribute because I want to her what other people have to say too.

    Actually, the high level of autonomy and skill and the diffculty of the CRNA traning program were the first things I considered before deciding to become a CRNA. I already have bought graduate level gross anatomy, pharmacology, and physiology books and have already witnessed a few surgical procedures with CRNA doing the anesthesia and stolen a few of their drug tabbie thingamajiggers to look at, seen yucky naso intubations w/o sedation and positioning problems and all. Also, I know of no other nursing student in my nursing class who wants to be a CRNA.

    Brief, from my experiences, I think that the amount of students seriously wanting to go into CRNA may be very overrated. A lot of people may be driven to talk about it and say that they too would like to become a CRNA for what you say is now a six-figure salary but I really don't think they're considering it seriously. I know plenty of people who's ears perk when they hear of a six-figure salary and who like to talk about that but who would NEVER want the responsibilty for being an anesthetist and never want to go to school for it.

    So, while there is alot of talk and chitchat, I don't think any real applicant bases their decision solely on the salary. I'm still wavering about my decision when I think of all the stress and responsibilty that may be involved. So, I think its not something to worry about: from what I've seen, its probably the more well-informed people who actually get around to applying.
  4. by   gaspassah
    i dont think it's wrong, but when you see what you have to do to get the pay i doubt many people would continue doing it if their hearts arent in it or they werent fully aware of what the job entails.
    financial freedom is a positive motivator. however, how positive is it in comparison to knowing a persons every breath and heartbeat are your responsibility, and every drug you push and every action you take can have severe consequences? that is alot of responsibility.
    to me it was the whole picture, i wanted the responsibility, the pay, the autonomy, a better means for providing for my family, better hours so i can spend it with my family. yes pay is important but so is wanting to help people through one of the most difficult times of their life, help temper their anxiety and fears, provide comfort and pain relief etc.
    d
  5. by   calgal
    I try to imagine myself as a patient in the OR and I see myself praying to God and any other being out there that my CRNA is not doing this just because he/she will be getting a good pay check at the end of the day. :imbar
  6. by   Kiwi
    Hi CNS48:

    Nursing is my second degree as well. After working as an aide in an assisted living community, I really didn't want to go back to the rat race of being a musician. Nursing was a perfect fit for me. As far as wanting to be a CRNA, I had a couple surgeries prior to the inception of nursing school. When the CRNAs introduced themselves to me, they called themselves "NURSE anesthetists". To me, they were almost like docs in a sense- completely autonomus, very confident and professional. But CRNAs really are the coolest people. I was SO SCARED when I was getting surgery, but they gained my trust through a lot of jokes and puns. When they started the IV, I said to her, "You know, you really get under my skin".

    Anyway, where am I going with this... My point is, surgery is something that most people go through only once or twice in their life. And being put to sleep - being powerless and vulnerable while your body is being altered really is scary. That's the beauty of nurse anesthesia. It really is nursing! Its an art and science that involves what nurses do best - monitor, assessment, empathy, and watchful care. If you can, I highly recommend shadowing a CRNA or SRNA. So what if you're not yet a nursing student! I think it would really impact your decision if you shadowed. Surgery is a really dynamic process to see. Good luck with nursing school - you will learn a lot about yourself!
  7. by   J.L.Seagal
    Great post ether! Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Last edit by J.L.Seagal on Jun 10, '04

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