Deciding too soon?

  1. Many of you have expressed to me in other posts that you think the Direct Entry Masters Programs (also called Masters Entry Programs in Nursing), are not such a good idea given that us non-nursing degree students have little experience to base our decisions on to choose a Masters' Specialty without a background in nursing already. I've given that a lot of thought, and through reading many of these posts about CRNA school, being an OR nurse, etc., that you might be right! There are just so many directions to go in, and I have to admit, I really like the sound of being a CRNA. On that note, if I were to go the route of getting a second bachelors degree, which will take me three full years (same as MEPN program by the way - ouch), where do you think the most beneficial place for me to start in the hospital is to gain enough experience to learn if being a CRNA would be right for me - the ICU? I also plan to shadow a CRNA and in the ICU if possible.

    Many thanks!
    J
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   orrnlori
    Most CRNA schools require a minimum of 1 year critical care experience. I'm not sure how working in critical care would let you see what a CRNA does for a living. To see what they do day in and day out you need to be in the OR. The only time you'll see them in the ICU is when they bring patients directly from the OR back to the ICU bypassing the PACU. Have you tried posting this question on the CRNA board here? Why would a BSN take you three years to complete since you already have a degree? Maybe I don't understand your question.
  4. by   Hopegirl
    It actually does take three years, albeit part-time, but that's only because I already have a degree, or it would in fact be full-time. The reason being is that it's structured cohort style, so even though I do not have to take the lower division general education classes, I can't skip ahead the rest of the students. Unfortunately no schools in San Diego offer an Accelerated BSN, only the MEPN program at USD, which I still plan to apply to.

    So then, how does one determine if they want to be a CRNA if they never "see them in action?"

    Many thanks!
    -J
    Last edit by Hopegirl on Apr 21, '04
  5. by   orrnlori
    The only suggestion I can make to you is to try to get into a hospital working as an anesthesia assistant (might be called by another name in different hospitals). AA's usually are students who work in the OR and turn over the anesthesia machines between cases. They also run for things anesthesia needs during cases, and they also run for the OR nurses, (it's a lot of "running"). All our AA's are mostly students (nursing, physician assistant,pre-med, lapsed students, etc.) This would let you in the OR and allow you to work with both CRNA's and anesthesia doctors (remember as a CRNA you work under the guidance of the anesthesia doctor at all times). Sometimes the AA's hover around in the OR and just watch things. At least this is how it works in my teaching hospital. But mostly you are running your butt off and taking a lot of flak from the various people in the OR.

    I think you are deciding too soon as your post implies. I understand your need to get somewhere as quickly as possible. You obviously need your RN and to work some before you can really see the big picture. I've read your other posts and I think either way you go, BSN or MSN, is going to take some time. Becoming an OR nurse will not help you get into CRNA school because the schools don't consider OR nurses as critical care nurses in the same respect as they do ICU nurses, and I believe that is a correct observation. So in my opinion only, the only way to many higher RN's designations is via ICU because the patient care is the most acute and intense.

    CRNA is probably the most acute care position in nursing in my opinion. The patient is literally in your hands, unconscous and usually paralyzed and you are physically keeping them alive with multiple drugs while someone is working inside their body. It's not for everyone, it's literally for only the very very few. And be aware, anesthesia is blamed for everything in the OR, from turn over time, to the flinch of a patient's finger during the surgery. It can be very intimidating having surgeons screaming at you, or patients coding while open on the table. That's why you need to see it, I don't see how you could possibly be informed of that aspect of the job from working in the ICU.

    No matter what route you take with your education you are going to have to pay your dues with plain old bedside care before you can do much else. It separates the "men from the boys" so to speak. CRNA schools are a lot more competitive than what you are experiencing just trying to get into ADN, BSN, and (vanilla) MSN programs. If the BSN and MSN programs take the same amount of time, you're still going to have to be "just a nurse" for a while. I could be wrong but I sense you don't really want to do anything bedside in a hospital, you are seeing things only as a white coat-clip board sort of nursing ideal. That's common for all of us (me too) dreaming of that perfect nursing position. I'm really not trying to discourage you, although it reads that way in re-reading what I have written. I'm just trying to make you see that you just don't go to school and suddenly you are a nurse, any kind of nurse. You really know next to nothing after getting out of school other than the ideals that are taught, which don't exist in the real world. Being a new MSN graduate, you are no more prepared to put your hands on a patient and take care of them than any other nurse fresh out of school.

    Everyone can carve out their own niche and get where they want to go with enough desire and drive. Everyone's route to getting there is different. I don't think anyone here can do much but give you opinions. It really just depends on you.
  6. by   CarVsTree
    Quote from Hopegirl
    So then, how does one determine if they want to be a CRNA if they never "see them in action?"

    Many thanks!
    -J
    Shadow a CRNA. Again, what the other poster said also, pose this question on the CRNA board. Do you have any healthcare experience at all? Because if you don't I don't see why you'd want to do the MEPN(?) and then go for the CRNA. Do ICU's hire MSN's as entry level staff nurses? Because, that is the experience you need in order to pursue a CRNA. This is because of ventilator experience. To be a CRNA you need to understand vents like the back of your hand.
  7. by   Hopegirl
    Orrnlori,

    You have been so great responding to my scattered posts and I appreciate how thorough and throughful your explanations are. I admit that I am very interested in the "white coat, clip board" sort of nursing - honestly, you hit that one right on the head. I had always wanted to go to medical school, but in many ways glad that I didn't because I am more interested in caring for the WHOLE person. However, I've spent a bit of time shadowing the "white coat, clip board NP" in various roles (doctor's office and hospital), and I would be lying if I said that I didn't like the look of the job. But I'm also not so naive to think that I know ANYTHING about ANYTHING in nursing. Also, the role of an OR nurse does appeal to me. Again, what do I know, but I love picking everyone's brain for information. I do realize that I will never really know anything concrete until I am there in the thick of it. And the only reason I want to rush it is because I am so excited about nursing! If San Diego had an Accelerated BSN program, I would be all over it. My only accelerated option though is MEPN, which consequently would also grant me a Masters. I guess it just bugs me to think that I could spend three years getting either A) Another bachlors or B) my RN license AND a Masters. Just seems silly to go with option A in so many ways, but then again, option A has it's drawbacks as you and others have mentioned, and also, MEPN is insanely competitive and may not be a real option for me anyway. SO... thanks again - I really do appreciate it!

    -J
  8. by   Hopegirl
    OH! And the idea to shadow a CRNA or become an AA is great! Thanks to both of you!


    -J
  9. by   orrnlori
    If it makes you feel any better, I've been a nurse for 6 years and still can't decide what I want to do. I wanted to go into the OR and was lucky enough to get in just 7 months out of school. I DO love what I do most of the time, but I'm growing bored with it and I'm getting older and it's taking a toll on me physically. It is far removed from bedside nursing, I couldn't be a med-surg nurse now without strong orientation. I've forgotten lots of standard nursing. But I'm a darned good OR nurse and know a lot of it so hands down I could do it in my sleep. I'm considering moving to something else and I'm an applicant to a master's in nursing education program. Who knows where I'll end up. For you though, you need to get the RN first, you may change your mind 50 times before you know where you want to go. The thing I would warn you about with the masters program is that you are going to come out a new nurse, just like anyone else, and you're probably going to earn the base salary just like anyone else. They will not pay more for your education if you are doing the same job as an ADN or BSN. Most places don't even pay more for the BSN. Anyway, good luck, hope you find what you are looking for.

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