Confused & don't know what to do

  1. I really need some help. I'm not looking for anyone to tell me what to do, but I want honest feedback and need to hear what you think of this...

    So my situation is that I've been accepted to an anesthesia program, and I'm all set to start in August (getting close, I know). Prior to being accepted I spent several years researching the CRNA role & getting the appropriate experience (2.5 years SICU), CCRN & CMC certifications, shadowing, etc.

    My problem is that now that I've been accepted and the challenge of applying to programs/anticipation is over...I'm feeling wishy-washy about truly wanting to pursue it and start school. This probably seems like a really odd post to most of you, and quite frankly, I am surprised at myself for feeling this way. I had to take a chem class a pre-req before starting the program (just finished the class), and I HATED being a student again. Hated it. I'm not sure I am driven enough or want this badly enough to give up 2.5 years of my life, time with my husband, friends, and family, and having to delay starting our own family.

    Beyond hating the chem course (which I did do well in, if that makes any difference)...I wonder if I'm truly cut out to be a CRNA? Yes, I was very successful while working in the ICU; I consistently got positive feedback from senior nurses and felt competent caring for complex patients (mainly fresh hearts). Even though I regularly participated in them, emergency situations and codes make me feel nervous/anxious. I'm talking heart THUMPING, I feel frozen for a second anxiety (but quickly I MAKE myself get over it and get to work). I recently read a thread on here saying "if you want to run away from the crisis on the unit, anesthesia may not be for you. If you want to run toward it, you'll enjoy anesthesia" or something to that effect. I always feel like I want to run away from the crisis--and would prefer for somebody else to take care of it (although let me be clear that I never actually act this way, but this is how I feel). I am also a soft-spoken, shy person who doesn't like to be the center of attention ever and can get nervous easily. I worry about being in the OR with nasty surgeons and the like (which I know is going to happen).

    I shadowed CRNAs multiple times before even applying to programs, and each time, I left the OR excited and I couldn't wait to apply to school. What I love the most about ICU constantly monitoring/assessing/intervening/titrating gtts. This is also what excited me about anesthesia--all the good things about ICU without the code browns and other chaos. But now that it's a reality for me and I'm less than 2 months from starting school...I'm terrified. I don't know if I really want to the one people call when there are scares me that I will be "the one", that I can't just call somebody else for help, it's on me, I'm the end of the line. It will be just me in that OR...gulp.

    I know I would be successful as a CRNA; I alway do what has to be done, regardless of how I feel about it. But I don't want to pursue a career that is going to be anxiety provoking for me all the time? I can't tell if I just have cold feet, or if I keep feeling this way because it's the wrong thing for me...Did I pursue this just to prove to myself I could do it, or do I really want this career?
    Please help, any feedback is welcome.
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    About putmetosleep

    Joined: Dec '07; Posts: 188; Likes: 65


  3. by   arelle68
    Sounds like you're burned out on school. Who wouldn't be? You've achieved more than most people on the face of the earth ever will, even if you were to quit now. (Which I suspect you won't, BTW.) What would it hurt to give yourself a break? I think you should wait until you feel sure, and do what you know you love in the meantime.
  4. by   Vito Andolini
    Often there is a let-down feeling after achieving something big. You have achieved getting into CRNA school. That's very big.

    You are also feeling understandably scared and nervous about the sacrifices you'll be making to achiever your full goal.

    I think you should pamper yourself a little - a massage, a little vacation, a new dress or something decadent and frilly - or whatever makes you feel good.

    I guess you have discussed this with your husband and he is supportive?

    Just take it slowly, one day at a time, and you'll be done "before you can say Ticonderoga, if thou canst say Ticonderoga." (quote from The 3 Stooges)

    Let us know, ok? And best of luck to you, whichever path you choose.
  5. by   putmetosleep
    Yes, my husband is very supportive of me starting school. In fact he is one of the reasons I feel like I can't pull out; after spending years obsessing about getting accepted to a program I'll appear to be a crazy woman for not following through. Are there any CRNAs or SRNAs out there who have felt this way? Is this normal? Or is this me realizing this might not be the right career path for me? I just feel so torn up inside with uncertainty.
  6. by   LoveSong
    I think many of us realize that the "dream" is now going to be a reality, and in order to achieve it we have to sacrifice so much- family time, some of us may have to leave our family for 2.5 years, rack up a debt of 6 figures, not to mention dealing with the feelings of being new again and learning new skills, studying 12 hours a day, having no social life, etc etc... but the best things in life are the things we earn and work for. I had my "freak out" about CRNA school, where I though to myself, "I must be crazy to give up my wonderful life- one where I live with my boyfriend, we go out to dinner 4 days a week, see family every weekend, see our friends, go to the beach, have BBQ's, have money, have 4 days off a week, enjoy good movies, good reading, good travel; to give all of this up and go do this CRNA gig", but you know, for the brief week or two that I thought to walk away from it, I felt in my gut it was wrong to leave my CRNA dream behind, and that there is no way around it, I have to go for it. I want to be a CRNA so much, I can feel it in my gut, and no other profession will give me back as much as I put in. For me, it has to be done, so I made peace with all of it. It took about 4 months for me to really accept the challenges ahead and the sacrifices I have to make.

    Good luck with your decision, and keep us posted.
  7. by   radrn2001
    putmetosleep...... First, you are not alone. I start in August too and I am on the upswing of what you are going through. I began to doubt myself, my abilities, started thinking "I am crazy for doing this." I almost wanted something to happen to prevent me from going... an excuse. I certainly don't LIKE being a student, but this type of learning is different than the English Literature class you had to take for your BSN. You will be among others like you.

    When I was really struggling with the "what have I done?" moment, I made a list of pros and cons and let me tell you, the pros won. I know that if I didn't do this, I would always wonder what could have been, and I think that feeling would be worse than the misery of school. I called a CRNA friend about my doubts and she said that was totally normal and expect to feel that way the first few months; it will get better. I know I can't retire working at the bedside, it will make me old way before my time..... that's another motivator.

    No all of us are adrenalin junkies, but that brief rush of panic is normal...... your sympathetic response.... normal. I don't try and match wits with "nasty" doctors, honestly, I would lose most of the time, but I can handle myself in a professional way and while advocating for my patients.

    Good luck and let us know what you decide to do.
  8. by   NurseKitten
    Honey, if you WEREN'T ambivalent about it, I'd worry about you.

    Those who go into a CRNA program thinking it's going to be just wonderful and dreamy are seriously deluding themselves.

    Make no mistake. It sucks. At least for a while. I'm in a front-loaded program, and my friends and family had to routinely talk me out of quitting on a weekly basis for the first year.

    But I'm in the summer session, and learning more than I ever thought possible. I even realize (now) that all the crap from the first year was highly necessary for the background to understand what we're doing right now.

    Being back in school isn't everyone's idea of's the one part of it I thought I wouldn't mind but I actually do. I'm more than ready to be done, but I have 18 more months.

    It will be worth it in the long run. If you don't want your patient to crash, learn it and learn it well. I'll tell you the same thing I told my dialysis trainees, and I'm seeing now in anesthesia - 99% of the complications are 100% preventable if you know what you're doing and what you're looking for in the EARLY stages of trouble. Things like the plethismogrophy wave on the pulse ox will be one of your first signs of hypovolemia - it'll show up before your CVP, heart rate or anything else.

    Please think very hard about what it is your want to do, and the opportunity you have. I don't know that it's a right or wrong decision, just what is going to work for you.

    Keep talking to us - get it all out here before you do anything rash.
  9. by   putmetosleep
    I really, really appreciate everybody's input...keep it coming. I think the biggest thing that scares me is the HUGE responsibility that I will have...which is odd because I obviously knew all about it before pursuing it. Right now, sure, of course I am responsible for my patients...but if things go REALLY bad, there are others to call for help. In a few short years, I will BE the help. That scares me. I really think that maybe I've just had too much time to sit around and think about it all since I've been accepted. Rationally, I do realize that there is a reason I spent so much time and energy to just be accepted...
    It's reassuring to know that there are others out there who feel/have felt this way but have pushed through and are successful in their programs. I have a lot to think about and your input really is helpful to me.
  10. by   NurseKitten
    You're scared because you don't know what to do your current level of knowledge!

    Believe me, you will be taught and given plenty of opportunity to practice and learn.

    You will learn physiology and pharmacology like you have never imagined you could ever know them. Things you did in the ICU will make EVER so much more sense. You will begin to draw correlations and understand where things could have gone REALLY wrong save a little luck...and be amazed that you were allowed to do what you were to real live human being as a bedside nurse in the ICU.

    Imagine taking what you know now and doubling it...tripling it. That'll be you when you graduate, if you do it right.

    You will be more than ready to be "the help". And you have the humility and maturity to realize what a responsibility it is.

    Yup, sounds like the perfect combo for a CRNA!
  11. by   Qwiigley
    Personally, I think you should wait a year. Enjoy life to the fullest. Commit to your husband and family. Then go to school the following year whole heartedly and supported by those you love.
  12. by   putmetosleep
    Quote from Qwiigley
    Personally, I think you should wait a year. Enjoy life to the fullest. Commit to your husband and family. Then go to school the following year whole heartedly and supported by those you love.
    Thank you so much for the Advice. Just to clarify, I have all the support I could ask for; my family & friends are behind me 100%. This is completely my own internal struggle...I'm beginning to feel a little better about starting school. We all know that it's not as simple as just waiting a year-- just because I was accepted this year does not mean I'd be accepted next year.
  13. by   Qwiigley
    Usually, yes. Schools prefer that you are completely ready to commit. If you start and 1/2 way thru you just can't do it (for some reason or another) They can no longer put anyone else in there. This is not the kind of schooling that you can take one semester at a time. If you do this, it is ALL the WAY. Otherwise, you have taken a place that someone else's dream had to be put on hold. I saw this in my own program. It made very bad feelings toward that person from the rest of the group. She lost our respect.
  14. by   poodlicious
    How about this... remember how it felt your first days in the MICU? Were you unsure of how to care for your patients? Want to leave and never come back? Everyone feels this when starting something new. Totally normal. I just started in the ICU and I feel this all the time! I've heard it only gets better, and it will be the same for you. Go ahead and pursue your dreams.

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