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Ask a CRNA any question you want

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by PaSSiNGaS PaSSiNGaS (Member)

PaSSiNGaS has 10 years experience and works as a CRNA.

2 Followers; 4,319 Visitors; 201 Posts

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PaSSiNGaS has 10 years experience and works as a CRNA.

2 Followers; 4,319 Visitors; 201 Posts

These types of questions are answered at least 100 different times in the CRNA forum but I will try to answer it a little. The ideal candidate if I was on an admissions board would be someone with 2+ years ICU experience at least, high GPA (which you have), and some higher level grad courses or a biochem course. I don't think your plan is bad but honestly after getting your year in your current floor I would try to apply straight to a SICU instead of doing another year in a step down floor.

Level II trauma centers or a larger SICU would be fine. Main thing is see the acuity of the patients you will be taking care of. If the level II trauma center allows you to take care of multiple gtts, CRRT pts, hearts, swans, etc then that should be just fine.

Some schools are even doing away with the GRE for admissions if your GPA is high enough. I honestly feel the GRE is worthless in determining success in grad school and it has actually been proven.

S-Hello, I am interested in becoming a CRNA and am looking for advice/tips for getting on the right path.

B-I am currently a new grad BSN working on a medical floor at a large community hospital/level 2 trauma center. I earned my BSN from a 20 month accelerated second degree program with a 4.0 GPA. Previously, I worked as a vet tech and thoroughly enjoyed participating in surgeries, monitoring anesthesia of the animals, intubating, placing IVs, etc. This piqued my interest for pursing a CRNA career. In nursing school, I had the opportunity to spend a day in the OR and spoke with the CRNAs there, which further encouraged this career goal.

A-I plan (hope) to complete one year on my current floor, which is a medical floor with an oncology focus. I then hope to work in intermediate care/step down for maybe one year, then move to the ICU for 1-2 years before applying for a program. This would give me 3-4 years as a nurse first. I am just shy of one month off of orientation now and though I feel pretty self sufficient most of the time, I still feel like I will never know enough to work in the ICU... The thought of taking care of patients with that level of acuity is daunting. I have never even participated in a real code yet! I of course plan to obtain my ACLS, PALS, telemetry training, CCRN, take the GRE, and any other necessary/available education, but do you think this time frame is realistic? Or do I need more time as an RN? Also, is experience in an ICU at a level 2 trauma center worthy enough? Or is experience at a larger CVICU or SICU necessary?

R- Any other tips, advice, words of wisdom etc. would be appreciated. Thank you!

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PaSSiNGaS has 10 years experience and works as a CRNA.

2 Followers; 4,319 Visitors; 201 Posts

The question may be genuine but that doesn't mean the person can't do their OWN research. I am here to help but a post asking about two TOTALLY different careers shows me they have done ZERO research. It is very easy to look up average salaries for both and just asking questions out of curiosity and not trying to do any research on your own will cause you to fail in grad school, I can assure you.

But to your questions the amount of independence in practice for CRNAs varies amount practices. There are solo independent CRNA practices (mostly in very rural areas), ACT practices which can be very restrictive or more of a team model where CRNAs can do anything and everything. It is all about where you choose and when interviewing for jobs these are questions you will want to ask. Ask do CRNAs do their own lines, do they do regional, do they manage PACU, etc.

In regards to lifestyle, again its all about the job you pick. Some don't require any call, some require call one weekend a month. Again it all varies. Average salary for CRNAs is the highest for any nursing speciality and can be found online. I know CRNAs making 300+ but that is usually in solo practice. I am close to 200k a year.

CRNA school isn't easy. It is a lot of reading and self learning. This is why I say you need to be able to do your own research on things and not just get butt hurt when someone doesn't answer your question immediately. I had classes for about 6-8 hours on Mondays and did 50-60 hours a week during the other days with trauma call or OB call 24 shifts during those rotations.

From an outsider's perspective, your response to a genuine queston regarding CRNAs was unprofessional. I was reading your posting so I can gain some insight on CRNAs before pursuing it foolishly without any background knowledge.There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to do some research on a potential career path, especially if it is such a huge investment in time, money, resources, etc. I thought it was a smart idea to ask questions to someone who is experienced in the field you are interested in. Regardless, you did not address any of his questions.

From my experience, I started off as a CNA at a SNF who was attending an ADN program. Ultimately, I graduated the ADN program with honors and BSN program with Magna Cum Laude. So I understand where pgee313 is coming from and just because they are starting off new, does not mean they do not deserve their questions anawered.

From my experience, I would have wished someone gave me insight on the different nursing fields such as medsurg, telemetry, oncology, paych, etc. instead of fighting to get hired to work that field just to end up disliking it, or if you're lucky, loving it. It just saves time.

Now, I am too curious what is the lifestyle for CRNAS are (long work hours, only night shifts available), amount of independence allowed in practice, difficulty in CRNA school, and salary (to be able to pay off the high tuition it requires).

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VANurse2010 has 6 years experience.

12,380 Visitors; 1,526 Posts

It's one thing to get a fresh heart out of the OR and wean them down off pressors and extubate them, but its very different when you are the one actually making the decisions in the OR what pressers to start, manage every aspect of a person's sympathetic nervous system and carry out your own orders as a CRNA. While you do take care of really sick patients in the ICU you are still just a RN and do not actually make decisions on your own. You follow a protocol or have to ask a doc to get something done. I actually make those orders and choose what I feel is most appropriate for the patient at that time without having to ask a doc.

I agree with this, but to listen to and deal with a large number of SICU and CVICU nurses you'd think they were running the show and had all the autonomy in the world. It's quite a bizarre dynamic. Part of the reason I've stayed in medicine and cardiac medicine units.

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PaSSiNGaS has 10 years experience and works as a CRNA.

2 Followers; 4,319 Visitors; 201 Posts

Yea, don't get me wrong they do get to make some decisions but its all based on protocols. I worked in a CVICU and while I felt like I had all the autonomy and made decisions on my own it definitely wasn't my decisions. I think you can get great experience from a SICU or CVICU and you will treat patients much more similar to what you do in the OR compared to a medicine floor though.

I agree with this, but to listen to and deal with a large number of SICU and CVICU nurses you'd think they were running the show and had all the autonomy in the world. It's quite a bizarre dynamic. Part of the reason I've stayed in medicine and cardiac medicine units.

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VANurse2010 has 6 years experience.

12,380 Visitors; 1,526 Posts

Yea, don't get me wrong they do get to make some decisions but its all based on protocols. I worked in a CVICU and while I felt like I had all the autonomy and made decisions on my own it definitely wasn't my decisions. I think you can get great experience from a SICU or CVICU and you will treat patients much more similar to what you do in the OR compared to a medicine floor though.

I personally have no interest in anything surgical - from the patients, surgeons, families etc.- but for what it's worth I've worked with a TON of MICU nurses who've gone on to CRNA. I would think working in a SICU would make more sense but it hasn't seemed to hold others back.

I am experienced with protocols as any ICU RN is, however some SICU nurses don't seem to understand the difference between protocol and autonomy

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RachelP_CRNA2B has 2 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Cardiothoracic ICU BSN, RN, CCRN-CSC.

2 Articles; 6,138 Visitors; 247 Posts

Oh I can't even describe how happy I am to have stumbled upon this topic completely by chance! Your responses, PaSSiNGaS, BSN, MSN, CRNA, are SO ENCOURAGING! I, like you, am finding nursing school to be surprisingly easy...people are struggling to pass most semesters and I'm cruising by with high A's in everything. I was only in my program for a matter of months when I was totally captivated by CRNAs, actually during one of our OR clinical rotations when one took the time to address my (I'd guess) mind-boggled, wide-eyed staring at all of the equipment! She brought me over, explained it all to me, told me what her responsibilities were, and allowed me to observe her (when my professor thought I would be observing the circulating nurse in there...funny joke, right!? :-P) I've been totally on fire for the industry and doing everything I possibly can to inch my way closer to a seat in a CRNA program ever since!

I recently accepted a position as a tech in the ICU with the intentions of being brought aboard as a new grad next spring. The facility I'm at has a FANTASTIC program in place to orient their new critical care nurses and get them certified. I was really discouraged, though, when a professor sat me down last week in clinicals and essentially told me I was making a huge mistake by entering the critical care setting as a new grad (not "paying my dues" in med/surg...gag!) She told me that 90% of new nurses who start out in the ICU wash out of the unit AND profession within six months of passing boards...I just couldn't believe it. I wanted to hear from nurses who did start out in ICU and DID survive and are doing phenomenal things years later! So believe me, finding this thread was a God-send. I plan on working my tail off in the ICU for several years to then apply to USF's CRNA program and I'm so excited!

I've researched this field for months and months now and feel like I know the AANA website like the back of my hand. I know what different programs require, what the ideal candidate looks like, what CRNA programs consist of, etc. (it's old news, IMO...that info is everywhere!) That being said, my only question for you is in regard to your actual ICU experience...what experiences do you feel contributed to your preparedness for the program and, as a new nurse, how'd you keep yourself motivated and cruising through toward your eventual goal of becoming a CRNA? Naturally, I'm going to try to soak up everything I possibly can throughout my time in the ICU, but now I'm a little freaked out about becoming one of those washouts. I know I'll be able to adapt and handle it, but I want to make sure that I'm making the most of my time prior to getting into a program.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and knowledge! :-)

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PaSSiNGaS has 10 years experience and works as a CRNA.

2 Followers; 4,319 Visitors; 201 Posts

Your professor is an idiot and doesn't know what he's talking about. I'd love to see the research he got that percentage from. I started in the ICU and most CRNAs I know started in the ICU and we didn't wash out.

Oh I can't even describe how happy I am to have stumbled upon this topic completely by chance! Your responses, PaSSiNGaS, BSN, MSN, CRNA, are SO ENCOURAGING! I, like you, am finding nursing school to be surprisingly easy...people are struggling to pass most semesters and I'm cruising by with high A's in everything. I was only in my program for a matter of months when I was totally captivated by CRNAs, actually during one of our OR clinical rotations when one took the time to address my (I'd guess) mind-boggled, wide-eyed staring at all of the equipment! She brought me over, explained it all to me, told me what her responsibilities were, and allowed me to observe her (when my professor thought I would be observing the circulating nurse in there...funny joke, right!? :-P) I've been totally on fire for the industry and doing everything I possibly can to inch my way closer to a seat in a CRNA program ever since!

I recently accepted a position as a tech in the ICU with the intentions of being brought aboard as a new grad next spring. The facility I'm at has a FANTASTIC program in place to orient their new critical care nurses and get them certified. I was really discouraged, though, when a professor sat me down last week in clinicals and essentially told me I was making a huge mistake by entering the critical care setting as a new grad (not "paying my dues" in med/surg...gag!) She told me that 90% of new nurses who start out in the ICU wash out of the unit AND profession within six months of passing boards...I just couldn't believe it. I wanted to hear from nurses who did start out in ICU and DID survive and are doing phenomenal things years later! So believe me, finding this thread was a God-send. I plan on working my tail off in the ICU for several years to then apply to USF's CRNA program and I'm so excited!

I've researched this field for months and months now and feel like I know the AANA website like the back of my hand. I know what different programs require, what the ideal candidate looks like, what CRNA programs consist of, etc. (it's old news, IMO...that info is everywhere!) That being said, my only question for you is in regard to your actual ICU experience...what experiences do you feel contributed to your preparedness for the program and, as a new nurse, how'd you keep yourself motivated and cruising through toward your eventual goal of becoming a CRNA? Naturally, I'm going to try to soak up everything I possibly can throughout my time in the ICU, but now I'm a little freaked out about becoming one of those washouts. I know I'll be able to adapt and handle it, but I want to make sure that I'm making the most of my time prior to getting into a program.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and knowledge! :-)

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568 Visitors; 12 Posts

That wasn't my issue. The issue was when I asked what the salary was, I was put down and told don't worry about it until school is finished. But why make an AMA if you're going to do that? We were all students once, trying to figure out the next move.

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998 Visitors; 8 Posts

Thank you for the reply it was very helpful. I currently worked at an outpatient same day surgery center. I really enjoyed this field and the way the anesthesiologist operates. I was hoping to see jf, as a CRNA, I can operate the same way.

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PaSSiNGaS has 10 years experience and works as a CRNA.

2 Followers; 4,319 Visitors; 201 Posts

Actually CRNAs operate very different than anesthesiologists. We actually take care of patients and provide anesthesia. We don't just sit in the lounge and drink coffee.

Thank you for the reply it was very helpful. I currently worked at an outpatient same day surgery center. I really enjoyed this field and the way the anesthesiologist operates. I was hoping to see jf, as a CRNA, I can operate the same way.

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1,692 Visitors; 45 Posts

How do you feel about programs that have limitations for SRNA's learning their practice? Have you found that institutions are open to teaching new grads skills they might not have gotten a lot of exposure to in school? For example placing a lot of central lines and blocks. My concern is that I'll leave school and not be marketable in any setting.

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PaSSiNGaS has 10 years experience and works as a CRNA.

2 Followers; 4,319 Visitors; 201 Posts

Schools that don't teach a CRNA to practice independent or not teach you how to place central lines and blocks are worthless. Do your research before applying and don't apply to schools that don't give you adequate numbers. If you go to a school that only gives you simulated central lines or where you just watch someone place blocks you will hurt your chances of finding a job especially if that is a prerequisite of the job.

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