Thanks so much for answering my previous questions.:roll
I have a couple of student contacts in the CRNA program @ Westminster (here in Salt Lake) that I know personally. Maybe some of the bad stuff they are telling me about their experiences there is attributable to the growing pains of a newer program (they just got accredited in Jan '07 and have yet to graduate a first class). They say that it has been chaotic, disorganized, callous, malignant, and that they have been pretty much treated like crap. One even said that if he had it to do over again that he would have waited another year and gone elsewhere. So alot of my next round of questions for you have to do with the climate/environment of the program @ UC.
I do not have visions of Care Bears sliding down rainbows singing "cum-by-ahh". I know any CRNA program is going to be demanding and stressful. So don't candy coat it please, lol.
1)How do you feel you have been treated?
I feel we are treated pretty well. Most of the CRNAs and MDs we work with are happy to teach. Of course, there are always a couple who you might not "click" with, but that would happen anywhere. I would definitely never say we are treated like crap. At first, it can be really hard in the OR b/c everyone you work with wants you to things their way and that can be frustrating. I think some people perceive this as being treated badly, but it's not...it's the nature of anesthesia. UC is one of the oldest programs in the country and definitely is well-organized.
2)Would you have gone somewhere else if given a choice to go back and do it all over again or do you think UC is the "the bomb."
I would not go anywhere else. I think we have a great mix of didactics and clinicals, with opportunities to do rotations at many sites, which gives you a different perspective on things (private hospital vs. university). We get a ton of trauma and big cases at the U, lots of peds experience (Cincinnati Children's has one of the highest surgical volumes in the country and they do over 150 cases a day), high-risk OB, and then we get to go to several private hospitals, which is great. The only negative I really have to say about the entire program is the courses at the College of Nursing are very annoying, but I think that would be true of any MSN program.
3) Are you getting more than ample clinical opportunities with particular regard to regional anesthesia? Competing with MD residents for opportunities?
Everyone in my class definitely has many more cases and hours than are required. We do have residents at the U, but I don't really feel like we compete with them. The only cases we don't do at the U are hearts (We spend 2 months at a private hospital for hearts) and liver transplants. The residents do get some of the bigger cases such as thoracic and vascular a lot of the time (although we do them too) but that is because they do not get to rotate anywhere else. We do thoracic and vascular cases at the VA, as well as the private hospitals, so I do feel I have done plenty of those. As far as regional, we do a ton of epidurals and spinals, no problem there. For peripheral nerve blocks, the pain service does them at University (although we can do them occasionally), but we get a lot of experience at the private hospitals and the VA. I think I have done about 30 peripheral nerve blocks, which I think is pretty good.
4) My friend and I are both married with kids: Have you had to find day care (mine is 2 yrs, wife due with baby #2 May '08). If so rates $?
I have a three year old who was 18 months old when we moved here so yes, we had to find daycare. We live in Florence, KY and our rates are about $650/month for one child.
5) Is commuting sucking the life out of you?
I live about 15 miles south of Cincy and it doesn't really bother me at all. Early in the morning it is no problem but traffic can be a problem at peak times. We do have 3 students who commute over an hour a day and while they sometimes complain about it, they haven't had a problem.
6) Neighborhoods within decent commute times? (I am from Dayton, Ohio and am a bit familiar with Cinci).
As I said, I live in Florence, KY. We have classmates who live right by campus (not the best neighborhood for kids), in Hyde Park (about 10 minutes away), and some who live as far north as Mason and West Chester (about 30 minutes). With kids, I would recommend looking at the suburbs, not right by campus b/c as I said, not a great neighborhood and I think you would have a hard time finding child care.
7) Has financing the whole show been really rough? (My wife is a law student, so I have a little experience, but her program is cheaper all-inclusive by far). We also have access to equity out of our houses here and can tap 401k if need be--had to do that or know anyone who has?
It hasn't been terrible. We pretty much have not altered our lifestyle from before school financially (our choice) and we took out loans to cover what we needed. See below and I will tell you your options.
8) What do you estimate your total program costs to have been when done?
In-state tuition is about $28,000 for the whole program, which is pretty cheap for grad school. Other costs would probably be about $4,000-5000 with books, Valley Review, Anesthesia meetings, and certification exam. The university does offer scholarships for the first 2 years that pay b/t 60-85% of your tuition (I think it's about 60 right now). To qualify for those, you need to do well on the GRE b/c they take all incoming graduate nursing students and rank them by GRE. Usually about an 1100 and above will make the cut. There are stafford loans that can be taken out up to $20,500. Then you get private graduate school loans from Bank One or Sallie Mae for up to $40,000/year. The money is definitely there, it just depends on how much you want to borrow vs. how much you want to save and pay on your own. We have quite a few loans but have a plan to pay them off in 5 years, which is pretty good, I think.
9) During first year about how much time do you think you spent per week in class and/or studying?
I would say that the throughout the program, I have spent between 60-70 hours a week either in class, in the OR, study for tests, or preparing for clinical.