Nurse Anesthesia or Dentistry? Which career choice would you choose?

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    First of all, here is a little background on me: I am have just gotten my degree IN psychology from a Canadian university, cGPA: 3.6, science GPA:3.4. For the past year, I have been looking into 2 main careers: Nurse Anesthesia and Dentistry. Why?, because I do have interest in what both fields entail after shadowing the professions, and I also like the fact that they offer a flexible lifesyle, involve a great deal of importance in health, and they earn decent money. Heres the problem: I am having trouble weighing the pros and cons of each othe careers against one another...so I was wondering if some of you could be gracious enough to give me some insights into your thoughts (about pros and cons of these careers) and which of the careers you would choose and why?.
    Thanks in advance for all prospective insight, its greatly appreciated!:redpinkhe
    lindarn likes this.
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  3. 15 Comments so far...

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    Being that dentistry is not nursing, it may be hard for us to answer your question.
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    Dentistry I would imagin would involve more debt. Also you would likely have to buy your way into a practice. Your patients would be awake the whole time as well. On the bright side your patients are usually healthy and you have much less risk for malpractice. Also the job of a dentist is probably less stressful. What pro's and con's have you come up with? Do you plan to practice in Canada or the USA?
    lindarn likes this.
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    One "con" that I've heard re: dentistry is that many of your patients will dislike/fear you. Not you personally, but the general "Dentist" person. My dentist is a very nice, gentle guy, but I still HATE going to the dentist (I don't like folks messing around with my teeth, injections/fillings/...). Some people in dental school have difficulty in dealing with the patient fear/hatred aspect of the job.
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    Quote from CPhT2RNstudent
    Dentistry I would imagin would involve more debt. Also you would likely have to buy your way into a practice. Your patients would be awake the whole time as well. On the bright side your patients are usually healthy and you have much less risk for malpractice. Also the job of a dentist is probably less stressful. What pro's and con's have you come up with? Do you plan to practice in Canada or the USA?
    1. You might have the potential for more debt going to dental school, but there is usually a lot more financial aid for medical and dental programs than graduate nursing schools.
    2. There are a lot of dentists that are actually in the OR one or two days a week and not just OMFS, so no not all your patients will be awake. You would have to learn to do dentistry on awake and anesthetized patients. You would also need to learn how to safely perform moderate sedation yourself while performing dental procedures. It is my understanding that most dentists don't perform moderate sedation themselves d/t the liability, but it is still taught.
    3. I am not sure about the malpractice part, but anesthesia is one of the safest specialities. The one quote for CRNA malpractice average I saw was about 5000 a yr which most employers will cover for you. For dentists the quote I saw was for 2000 a year for 3mil worth of coverage. How healthy your patients is directly related to where you practice. For example: A CRNA that practices exclusively in a same day surgery clinic is unlikely to see very many truly sick patients vs. a CRNA that practices at a public inner city hospital where ASA 3-4 patients may be more the norm. The same goes for dentists if they choose practice in the private sector they may have relatively healthy patients, but they may also choose to work somewhere for public programs like IHS/USPHS/BOP/indigent health etc. where the majority of the patients could be quite sick.
    Just my 2cents....
    Canadian eh? likes this.
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    Its going to be hard to get a good and fair response because u are asking a bunch of people in the nursing field ( Who know a whole lot more about nursing than dentistry) to choose betweeen dentistry or nursing ( A field that they are familiar with).
    Last edit by SurvivorRN on Jul 18, '09 : Reason: m
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    I agree that it will be difficult to get an objective response on a nursing board. I would say that with knowledge being the currency of this generation, you can't go wrong with more education, being a dentist IMO.
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    After you read the nurse perspective, perhaps you could get valuable feedback from dental students at the Student Doctor Network forums: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/
    Canadian eh? likes this.
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    I would go for dentistry,, as it is less convuluted to get into dental school, they have more seats than crna school, all you need is pre med classes, decent grades, and then you apply in. Nurse anestheisia is more of a convuluted route, you need a really high gpa to get in, at least a 3.4, you need to spent time in the icu where you have to do cna work as well as rn work, it is more of a convulted and difficult path in my own opinion.
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    As a dental hygienist going back to school for my RN degree, I have some background. The decision depends on what you want in the future. As a dentist, they typically have a private practice and deal with all the staffing, payroll, building maintainance plus daily financial goals of the practice. Most dentists do well chairside but have a hard time dealing with staff, and the business side of the practice. It is no picnic. The economy affects the practice. If patients get laid off from their jobs, having their teeth cleaned or proceeding with restorative work is not a priority for most. "No show" patients cost money. Bills still need to be paid. Staff want yearly salary increases to keep up with inflation, however if your practice is not meeting or exceeding financial goals, that will not happen. I hate to say it but "money makes the practice go round". If you want dentistry but hate the business aspect, you might want to think again. I left dentistry because of the economy. All the automotive companies letting so many employees go has reduced the demand for hygienists. It is so sad. I love the interaction with patients so I will graduate next May with my RN and a new way to help patients.


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