Am I Too Old To Become a CRNA

  1. Hi Everyone,

    I am a newbie, and would like to share my situation and ask a question. Thank you in advance for your help. I am a Clinical Analyst in the IT healthcare field at age 39. I am considering a career change from IT to CRNA and wonder If I am too old. I am married (no kids) my wife and I are the same age and she is a ICU-RN and is supportive of the change if I should decide to go for it. I have done some investigation and know that I have to complete some pre-reqs. I have a BS in Computer Science and (believe it or not) have worked in the OR fixing computer issues during surgery in the main OR and Ambulatory surgeries as well. I always liked going in the OR because I like watching the surgeries. I done some research and this is what I came up with:

    1 year: Pre-reqs (Chem, Microbio, A+P 1 and 2, Psych)

    1 year: Accelerated BSN or 2 year Cert RN then BSN

    2 years ICU experience minimum. And any pre-reqs for CRNA if needed.

    2 years CRNA school.

    I should be 46 or 47 be the time I am done. By the way, while I am going to nursing school I would become a student nurse to get my feet wet in an ICU unit if possible.

    Even though the US reports say that computers in the healthcare industry is hot, it's really not. In computers they want someone with years of experience, specific criteria and you always have to learn some new software without getting full knowledge of the previous software or project you just finished. Lots of meetings, keyboard punching and fast multiple projects, Analytical and critical thinking is a must. I know that CRNA to some people in the RN field can be boring. But I think it is interesting because each patient is different and you don't know what's going to happen with the next patient, but you hope for the best in all surgeries. It requires fast critical thinking and action when trouble arises and at the same time the situation must be handled in a calm and confident matter. And at least you will become an expert as a CRNA. Most jobs are stressful and CRNA definitely fits the bill. I actually shadowed a CRNA for the whole day and observed 2 surgeries. I asked questions and I even talked with the OR-Nurse to get an understanding of what they do as well. As added benefit CRNA are compensated very well. So I'm just wondering if it is too late for me to change my career at age 39.
    Has anyone started a change in their careers to CRNA at my age or older? Thanks again for your help.
  2. Visit Megabyte profile page

    About Megabyte

    Joined: Apr '10; Posts: 2; Likes: 1


  3. by   RN543
    Well first off, i'm not a CRNA nor a SRNA (yet) but will be applying to schools next year. But I have done a LOT of research as this has been my goal since before starting nursing school. And I've talked to a lot of admissions counselors at different schools that I am interested in. So whatever that's worth to ya. You are not too old to become a CRNA. I don't think you are ever to old to go back to school. Regardless... in 7 years you will be 46, whether you become a CRNA or not. If it's truly your passion then go for it... you don't want to be sitting around at 46 regretting that you didn't go back to school. Becoming a CRNA at 46 or 47 still gives you plenty of time to enjoy the profession before you retire. Also, I've read posts on here from people that went to CRNA school later in life. You are not alone.

    Now, I would recommend that you go for the accelerated BSN if you can get into a program. It would be the faster route. Also, requirements for CRNA schools are different for each school. Minimum requirement for most of the ones I've looked into is 1 year of critical care. Others are 2... and there may be schools that require or prefer more than that but I'm not sure. Of course, the more experience you have, the better it will look when applying to schools. And you may feel like 1 year just isn't enough for you and you want to have more experience before starting school. But also keep in mind that you will be applying to schools up to a year before starting crna school, so you will have even more experience by the time you start. And as far as the length of program. I only saw one program that was 24 months (but there might be more). Most seem to be about 28 months. Also what you mentioned about working in the hospital when your in nursing school is a good idea. Even if it's not in an ICU if you can't get in an ICU, anything will help. Because at least right now, new grad RN jobs are very hard to come by. Those that are hiring new grads (at least in the area i live in) are mostly hiring those that already work at the hospital as a tech or those that have connections (maybe your wife could help you with that). So do whatever you can to get your foot in the door. Hopefully you will be able to get a job as an RN in ICU fresh out of school... however, many ICU's don't hire new grads. And especially in this economy (which will hopefully have changed by the time you graduate). You have to take what you can get. So you may have to factor in a year or so working in another unit before you can transfer to an ICU. Oh another thing, when taking your pre-reqs for nursing school, try to take the highest level of chemistry you can take... one that will count toward you requirements for nursing school but will also look better when applying to CRNA school... kill 2 birds with 1 stone that way. Like I said, they all have different requirements. Some require no chemistry, some require one semester of chem, others require 2. And if uppper level chemistry is not required, it is preferred and will look better on your apps... they like organic, biochem. Some require physics and/or statistics as well. You may want to look at the specific requirements for the schools in your area or the ones you are interested in so you can plan a little better.

    Anyway, I'm sure some SRNAs or CRNAs will have some better info to post since they have been through it all but I wish you all the best
  4. by   peace2
    No way you are not too old. As an "older" person embarking on my second career, I was apprehensive about the process. I've come across many "older" students on the same journey. It was comforting to know there are others out there! GO FOR IT. You will be 47 anyway!!!
  5. by   Megabyte
    Thanks everyone for your help! The journey begins!
  6. by   LGB2010
    Thanks for asking that question. I, too, was wondering if the CRNA path was going to be one that would work at all giventhat getting into the schools is based not only on grades, but on an interview. I have a 4.0 and a high nursing school entrance exam grade and couldn't get into the first nursing school I applied for--although they said that the average GPA was 3.7 for applicants. It got me wondering if political or personal issues would keep me out of this specialty or possibly any other. Good luck on your pursuit and remember, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
  7. by   plowboy911
    I certainly do not think you are too old. That being said, can you see yourself pushing carts around, transferring pts from cart to bed, starting IVs, etc., when you are 60+? In reality, going back to school at this point, you will need to work well into your 60s unless you have a good nest egg built. You may also consider NP school if healthcare is really your thing.

    Also, having spent a considerable amount of time in the PACU, I can easily spot a CRNA that only did the minimum to get into school. I strongly encourage ANY nurse to do a year in med/surg before moving on to critical/acute care. I am not trying to rain on your parade, but it's a big job and a lot of school.
  8. by   LGB2010
    Thanks for the post and the advice. I actually think at 60 I'll be doing great because my mother is 71 and still golfs, does Zumba, and does aerobic weight lifting with 8lb weights. I am thinking I should be able to be just as physically active and as mentally acute as well (hopefully.) I am not sure about the CRNA route yet and really think it is unlikely that I would be chosen even with a high GPA because of my age (it really only makes sense to factor that in since I would be competing against others with high GPAs yet they would be much younger probably and/or they would at least have more years as an RN under their belts.

    I will look at everything when I start school that I can in order to get a good idea of the trajectory that I want my career to take; I understand it is important to make these decisions early on and take the right first job as that can be a big determinant in where you end up going in your career.

    Thanks a lot.
  9. by   mildcigar_2001
    Good Luck to you.
  10. by   Imscray
    I'm 48, about to turn 49, and am a new CRNA student this academic year. I graduated nursing school several years ago (not that many), but I did have a break in between with no academic pursuits. I will tell you that a./ you're not too old, but that b./ this will be THE hardest thing you've ever done - by a big huge long gigantic shot. I went in with my eyes as wide open as I think it's possible for them to be, but until you're in it, you simply can't have any conception of how hard this is. And being "of a certain age" doesn't make it one iota easier. I'd say the opposite - I can see a distinct difference in my ability to absorb information compared to just a few years ago in nursing school. Actually a *big* difference. And let's face it, at forty-something your physical reserves just aren't what they were 20 years ago either. I'm keeping up, but just barely. I pretty much live exhausted about 98% of the time. If you have a family, please for your sake and theirs try to impress upon them that for the two plus years you're in school, they need to consider you gone from their lives. Pretend you're in Iraq and count yourself luck if you get to see them once in a great while. Physically you may be present, but mentally I guarantee you won't be. In my case, I'm single, which brings another whole set of difficulties - like laundry, mowing the yard, playing with the dog, etc. All those little things that eat away your time - nobody else does those for me. I can't impress on you (any of you thinking of applying to CRNA school) - this is VERY DIFFICULT, and for a reason. You're at the very tip of the very sharp end of the stick. It's you and nobody else at the head of the bed when the poop hits the ventilator. You're expected to perform 135% every time all the time. The academics are very tough, but doable. Your biggest obstacle if you're in a front loaded program will be time management (for example, I really should be studying right now). There simply aren't enough hours (I actually count minutes, not hours) to get everything done. There just aren't. You have to prioritize, then prioritize your prioritization. My fervent hope is that this is all worth it in the end - and that I get to the end. The word "humbling" was used frequently going into this, and I can't think of a better description. Don't fret if you get a B or (gasp) a C - your days of being #1 at everything are done. In a class of 30 CRNA students, probably 25 were at the top of their nursing school class and are used to being top dog at whatever they do. No longer. Somebody will still be the top, but that's not what it's about. It's about learning, doing your best, and getting through two and a half years of Marine Corps boot camp. You will be dehumanized and belittled. You will be praised and patted on the back. You will have great days, and you will have days when you're ready to stop by McDonalds and fill out an application on the way home. Trust me, it will happen. Like I said, I feel it will be worth it in the end, but it's an extremely trying and stressful time.

    Best of luck with your application process (that's the easy part)...
  11. by   RN1980
    imscary, i got a former co-worker thats in her senior spring semester in a program. she is 44. she claims the same issue with mind recall as you did. she said what helped her out was studying for the ccrn for about 6 solid months before applying to school. she claims it sort of helped her mind get a quick inshape workout before the marathon of education in the crna program. she syas her biggest problem is having to stand all day for the cases, and her feet and lower back hurtin her, apparently the srna students are not allowed to sit during the cases.
  12. by   LeO13
    Yes you are too old to become a CRNA... J/k. Age shouldn't be a factor nowadays, There's people who's starting the nursing with me who are in their late 40's to early 50's. Also there was a CRNA at the hospital where I work at, and he told me he finished the program right when he hit 60.
  13. by   canchaser
    Go for it!! Just met a crna working eyes and endo at age 72.
  14. by   wendyroo
    I am 44 and in my 2nd year of applying to CRNA schools. I have wanted to become a CRNA since I graduated from nursing in 97' and for many reasons "life" kept getting in the way and now that I am finally getting the chance. I too have felt "too old", however, not ready to give up my dream! Stick to your guns and don't give up. At 47 you can continue to work at a job you don't want or like for the next 20 years or one that you will most likely love! I have a son who is 7 and a very supportive husband they will be my biggest sacrifice. But in the end it will all be worth the work!