Can you picture yourself being a CRNA? (for the students)

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    I am probably going to get beat up for this. I'm sure the line will be that if I can't picture myself as a CRNA then I shouldn't be one. When I applied to the ICU internship, I had to write an essay about "why I want to be a critical care nurse." I asked for help on a different nursing forum, because what I really wanted was to be a CRNA and I didn't know how much I would love ICU. Someone said that if I didn't know what to say on the application I obviously wasn't someone to count on in a crisis, ie, not cut out for ICU. ?????

    Anyway . . .

    I can't envision myself calm, competent, running the show, bringing patients to the edge of death and back. I am a competent ICU nurse, I can do what needs to be done in a code or emergent intubation, but the docs run it all. I'm sure I could learn as well to be a competent OR nurse in a reasonable period of time. But I can't yet picture myself at the head of the bed. Can't imagine myself knowing as much as I will have to know, thinking as fast and as critically as CRNAs think. I guess what I'm saying is, I don't know if I can do this.

    I'm sure a lot of this has to do with being young, female, and having a limited amount of nursing experience (2.5 yrs). I'm by nature a person not confident in my own abilities until I have demonstrated multiple times that I can do it and do it well. I was petrified as a new ICU nurse (weren't we all?) and couldn't picture myself running all this machinery, all the drips, the tubes and wires. Now I get a little nervous with a real sickie or a diagnosis I haven't seen much, but basically I walk into a room and get things done. So maybe it's just the way I am and it doesn't mean I don't have what it takes to be a CRNA.

    It's like, it's okay for nurses to be nervous and if they have good colleagues they get support and reassurance. But being a CRNA is the big leagues and we have to act like doctors: we don't need to eat, sleep or pee as long as patients need us, and we never doubt ourselves.

    Do most students struggle with this? It is such an awesome responsibility. I guess everyone has to be a little scared - if you're not THAT'S scary. I am still in the process of interviews and applications, not a student or even pre-student yet. Sometimes I think, I still have time to back out.
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  4. 9 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    apaisRN

    Don't you dare back out. Just as the ICU was once intimidating and now you feel comfortable with the knowledge base that you have currently, so will the anesthesia world be. What is funny is that you are not only my age, but you are where I was when I interviewed (2.5 years of unit exp) Do you think that the 31,000 current CRNAs are somehow gods, have infinite wisdom, started out knowing it all and they never doubt themselves? A wise CRNA once said, "there are many ways to skin this cat" (talking of delivery of anesthesia).....
    School is a tremendous hurdle and so it should be. If it were easy, then everyone would do it. In the end, you will be the go-to person for all kinds of problems and school prepares you to practice at this level. Granted, BSN didn't teach you all you know about ICU work either, but this is why SRNA school is so clinically focused also.
    You are where you need to be as far as a prospective anesthesia student, think of this: If the schools didn't think you were ready, then you wouldn't make even the first cut. If you get granted an interview, then the adcoms think you are a candidate for the school. Relax, self-doubt needs to be turned into something useful, such as motivation.
    Anesthesia is the best decision I have ever made. I have been preparing for this since the 9th grade and it is even better than I thought it could be. There are reasons there are not a whole lotta unhappy gas givers....think about it.

    rn29306
  6. 0
    when I was a new ICU nurse I was scared, I had no idea what was going on. had never even seen an art line let alone zero it.
    one day I was called upon to set up a swan. and failed misserably. intially I waited for the day their would be a code and I wondered how I would act or if i new what to do. the first time one my patients started to "desat" I remember thinking.. "is this it" is now the time when I open that forbidden ambu bag.. after that time coding patients for ventilating patients who needed became rather routiene.
    my first week as a CRNA resident was very much the same, I had never even been inside an OR let alone be resposible for someones life on the table. I had a bleeding ulcer those first couple of weeks. I am relizing now that with repition all things become routiene. In my youth someone told me in regards to daiting that you have to "go through stupid to get to smooth" now when I am wake up in the morning if its a case I havn't done yet. I think to my self well today might be a stupid day. but thats ok because yester day was a very smooth day when i did 6 lap chole's.
    I did two crainotomies last week and Ill be honest I think I needed a beta blocker after the frist one. but it really was ok, the patient lived.. I lived. the second one was a little easier.
    of course you don't know if you can do it know. noone ever does. expect there to be a day when the someone says somthing to you that seems so simple to them and have no idea what theyre talking about. and don't be afraid to say what are you talking about. that is what serpates a wise person from a not so wise person. I see medical resident always pretending to know what they are talking about or pretend to know what they are doing for the sake of their pride. you will be a learner and its OKAY to be cluless sometimes.
  7. 0
    I agree with Alan, I am so sick of surgery residents thinking that they can power by on their egos. One of the best doctors that I know (now a cardiologist) was a resident with me in Biloxi (now here my hospital). He had no problem stating that he did not know everything. I completely trust him--not for his great knowledge, but by the fact that he never lost sight that he was human.

    Confidence and competence will come with repetitive tasks and experience. Complacency comes with letting your guard down...as an ICU nurse or a CRNA never forget that we are not beyond mistakes. Just always leave options (or ways to skin a cat, as stated above).

    BTW, why are the MDA residents doing their ICU rotations the best SICU residents??
  8. 0
    i think alot of the confidence (at least for me) comes from being prepared. read up on the cases, knowing the drugs i use, going through scenarios while the case is going smooth, ie what would i do if.....
    secondly, there are alot of problems that can be avoided by vigilance. try staying one step ahead. if there is a subtle change in heart rate, or vent pressures, start evaluating early dont wait until there is a problem full blown. many problems in anesthesia occur from someone not paying attention to the little details, then of course there are the problems that just happen.
    d
  9. 0
    I am going to be a student in the fall and don't think for one second that I and lots of others haven't felt the same as you. Think about when you first started in ICU..you didn't know a thing and now you could probably handle whatever rolls through the door. Just be confident in yourself and be teachable. That's all any of us can do. Good Luck and be positive.
  10. 0
    Quote from apaisRN
    I am probably going to get beat up for this. I'm sure the line will be that if I can't picture myself as a CRNA then I shouldn't be one. When I applied to the ICU internship, I had to write an essay about "why I want to be a critical care nurse." I asked for help on a different nursing forum, because what I really wanted was to be a CRNA and I didn't know how much I would love ICU. Someone said that if I didn't know what to say on the application I obviously wasn't someone to count on in a crisis, ie, not cut out for ICU. ?????

    Anyway . . .

    I can't envision myself calm, competent, running the show, bringing patients to the edge of death and back. I am a competent ICU nurse, I can do what needs to be done in a code or emergent intubation, but the docs run it all. I'm sure I could learn as well to be a competent OR nurse in a reasonable period of time. But I can't yet picture myself at the head of the bed. Can't imagine myself knowing as much as I will have to know, thinking as fast and as critically as CRNAs think. I guess what I'm saying is, I don't know if I can do this.

    I'm sure a lot of this has to do with being young, female, and having a limited amount of nursing experience (2.5 yrs). I'm by nature a person not confident in my own abilities until I have demonstrated multiple times that I can do it and do it well. I was petrified as a new ICU nurse (weren't we all?) and couldn't picture myself running all this machinery, all the drips, the tubes and wires. Now I get a little nervous with a real sickie or a diagnosis I haven't seen much, but basically I walk into a room and get things done. So maybe it's just the way I am and it doesn't mean I don't have what it takes to be a CRNA.

    It's like, it's okay for nurses to be nervous and if they have good colleagues they get support and reassurance. But being a CRNA is the big leagues and we have to act like doctors: we don't need to eat, sleep or pee as long as patients need us, and we never doubt ourselves.

    Do most students struggle with this? It is such an awesome responsibility. I guess everyone has to be a little scared - if you're not THAT'S scary. I am still in the process of interviews and applications, not a student or even pre-student yet. Sometimes I think, I still have time to back out.
    Apais RN,
    I too want to go to back to school with the end goal of being a CRNA. I am doing what you are doing working in the ICU, getting ready to put myself out there and apply. Honestly, can I see myself as a CRNA in the OR with all the knowledge they have, as a competent anesthesia provider? No, not right now, but that is still what I want to be. I know I'm not ready this minute to become a CRNA, but who ever is what they start school? It is hard to imagine yourself as a CRNA right now because it is a learning curve all through school shaping you into being the end result of CRNA. It is important to remember, you don't just wake up one morning with the anesthesia degree- it takes 2-3 years of hard work, sacrifice, and dedication to prove yourself. You'll realize during these 2-3 years you have what it takes, that you can succeed in this profession, and you'll let out that big breath you've been holding doubting yourself. Don't give up on your goal, don't let fear keep you from taking that first step on the long road to CRNA. Good Luck!
  11. 0
    I'm getting teary here! Thank you, each of you, for the support and not telling me to toughen up. I'm glad to hear we're all scared out of our britches sometimes. It's very true that a lot will happen between now and the time I graduate ready to take boards - it's not like I have to know it all tomorrow.

    Alansmith, you'd never been in an OR? Wow! How'd you get through a BSN without it? I spent a couple days there as a student, one as a new grad orienting to a general surg floor, and one with a CRNA last fall. My experience in the OR is that I invariably mess up someone's sterile field or tray. But I would be a lot more scared than I am now if I'd never seen an OR!

    Surgery residents ARE full of hot air, aren't they? I didn't realize how much until I began work in the MICU, where the residents are generally real people.

    Again, thank you all. You don't know how much it meant to me.
  12. 0
    Best of luck to you!
  13. 0
    apais Rn- thank you so much for your post! you said, very succinctly, everything I have been feeling since I got accepted into a CRNA program!! That is exactly how I feel! so thank you thank you thank you for not only letting me know these feelings are normal but for expressing everything I have been feeling/thinking in a clear manner (my head has been reeling and I would never have been able to organize my thoughts! ) and thank you to everybody who replied....I am literally saving this post to refer back to when I am in school!! wish me luck and good luck apais RN


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