CRNA vs. MDA - pros and cons - page 2

I am going to graduate with my BSN in December at age 22. It has been my goal for years to become a CRNA. I have thoroughly researched the profession (with help from some great posts on this forum)... Read More

  1. by   Tenesma
    i love how this thread went from discussing the merits of choosing a field to the usual us vs them mentality.... doesn't it get old after a while of maintaining the same old stereotypes???

    nurses/CRNA: love patients, protect patients, watch out for patients, don't care about the money, etc..

    MDs: don't give a crap about patients, only care about money and their egos....

    stereotyping is fun for sure - but haven't we outgrown that?
  2. by   deepz
    Quote from Tenesma
    .......stereotyping is fun for sure - but haven't we outgrown that?

    Physician, heel thyself.

    !
  3. by   rn29306
    Quote from Tenesma
    i love how this thread went from discussing the merits of choosing a field to the usual us vs them mentality....

    stereotyping is fun for sure - but haven't we outgrown that?

    and you think studentdoctor.net is any different in stereotypes of nurses and esp crnas for that matter. keep your condenscending comments on that side over there.
  4. by   AWDC
    Quote from gaspassah
    awdc i see your point but if i may make a comment. those starting salaries for crnas are usually based on a 40 hour per week schedule. are the physician salaries the same, ie are most of those based on 40 hours a week or do the doc usually have to spend more than 40 with call and all. i dont know just curious. and one of those web sites you posted noted that with benefits packages crna salaries were about 159 per year. also with 8 hours of OT per week the crna (on a base salary of 121k per year) can earn about 157k not including benefits. i'm not here to argue, just to provide a different perspective.
    d
    I assume salary is just that, a guaranteed amount regardless of the actual fluctuation of hours. Taking call is usually expected of most physicians (in most specialties) on a salary. And as you know, a supposed 40-hour work week schedule usually lengthens when you're working with patients. Frankly, I know as much about the specifics of these salary surveys as you do. I just thought it might be interesting to take a peek at the range of income that was out there. Sorry, I don't really have concrete info for you regarding those questions.
  5. by   AWDC
    Quote from foxyhill21
    Since u r in med school I have a question? Is it really hard or just alot of work? How was the MCAT? How long does it actually take to complete med school? If I am in med, school what will my sched (eg. mond-frid 8-5 at school) Thanks and good luck in finishing med school.
    For sure, I think almost everyone in medical school would agree that it is more difficult than their undergraduate experience. However, the material presented for the most part is not difficult to grasp... there's just so much of it that it becomes a challenge to know it all given the amount of time we have. I like to make this analogy... Medical school (especially the first two years) is like learning the alphabets to a foreign language. You need the learn the alphabets before you can start forming sentences and paragraphs... unfortunately, medical school has a rather large set of alphabets. The faster you can read and the faster you can learn, the better. Towards the latter half of medical school, now that you've learned the basics, you begin to do more problem solving (diagnosis).

    Ugh... the MCAT. Thank goodness I'm done with that. MCAT covers biological sciences (bio and organic chem), physical sciences (physics, general chem), verbal reasoning, and writing sample (2 timed essays on topics they give you). It's really more of a test of problem-solving than of rote memorization/knowledge... so it seems tricky but of course, the better you know the subject, the better you perform.

    Medical school is considered four years in length (e.g. start sep 2005 and graduate may 2009) usually with a summer break between first and second year only. During the first two years, the curriculum is mostly comprised of classroom teaching. My medical school does not have lectures/small group sessions requiring 8-5 M-F (and I don't believe most med schools do) but days can vary from a couple hours to eight hours during the first couple years. I'm really bad at estimating how many hours we had but if I had to hazard a guess, I think it would be 20+ (<30) hours per week in class. Sometimes, you also have clinical experiences with a preceptor during your first two years exposing you to patient care. My school didn't really have a lot of early clinical exposure but one of my friends goes to another medical school where they had clinical experiences about one afternoon a week for the better part of the semesters over their first two years (as I understand it, that's a lot for the first two years). After second year, you have about a month to take your first board exam before you start your third year. Third and fourth years consists of clinical clerkships (rotations) in which you are sometimes expected to take call with the team you are assigned. During your fourth year, you apply/interview for residencies in whichever field(s) you choose. Residency training comes after graduation and is usually 3-5 years depending on specialty and you are now paid (~$40K/yr) instead of paying. Fellowship comes after residency if you decide to subspecialize and that can be another 1-3 years. Hope this info helps and thanks for the word of encouragement.
    Last edit by AWDC on Apr 24, '05
  6. by   Tenesma
    rn29306
    ... i agree with you, stereotyping on that other website is immature as well...
  7. by   Lambert5883
    Quote from daitheflu
    I am going to graduate with my BSN in December at age 22. It has been my goal for years to become a CRNA. I have thoroughly researched the profession (with help from some great posts on this forum) and I have fallen in love with it. Lately, though, I've been contemplating attending medical school. Reasons include: 1) I currently have no constraints (single, no children, geographic freedom, funds available) to attending medical school 2) The desire to further my education to a higher level 3) To "be all that I can be" 4) I am interested in many medical specialties including anesthesia, emergency medicine, surgery, orthopedics, and radiology

    I love nursing and everything that it represents. I am just at a crossroads in my life and I am trying to make the best decision possible for my future. I've had doctors tell me that CRNA is a wise decision and to not become a doctor. I have also read about CRNA's that proceeded to return to school and become MDA's.

    My primary concern is that I do not want work to completely overwhelm my life...I would prefer a fair balance between work and other aspects of life such as family.


    In the following questions I refer to only MDA's, but feel free to answer the questions regarding MD's in general.


    1) What would you say were some advantages/disadvantages of being a CRNA over an MDA (ex. lifestyle, respect, work opportunities, etc.)?

    2) If a person has the opportunity to become either a CRNA or a MDA, which one would you recommend?
    You have said you've already thoroughly researched aspects associated with Nursing Anesthesia, so you should have a strong impression on whether or not it is for you, already. It seems to me, looking at your interests in some of the medical specialties availalble and your quest for a more advanced knowledge base, you should strongly consider medicine.

    You are a young and free and unencumbered, soon to be, professional. You have at this moment a point in time in which your decisions are soley based on what is good and appropriate for the betterment of your livelihood -- what is good for you. And, I am sure you can appreciate how precious a moment such as this is. Therefore, make the most of it.

    One poster has suggested that you research the fields of medicine and nursing, as they pertain to anesthesia and pain management, to forcast possible future trends affecting or impacting both professions. I, personally, think this is where some of your energies should focus. Get a feel for the direction that both professions are gravitating towards, by conversing with those edcucators and practitioners, in both professions, whose position is to advance their respective profession's policies, status, requirements, what have you...,e.g, associations/organizations/societies like ASA, AANA, AMA.

    Also, on any account, I would look closely into how one can fund medical school, or CRNA school, and consider your options wisely. There are some very good avenues one can pursue in finding means that offset the costs aassociated with higher education, particularly within the field of health care, but, of course, this will come at a price; a time committment from you.

    Regardless, I wish you all the best and hope that all the participants, thus far, in this thread have imparted wise counsel from which you can ponder and consider.
  8. by   Nitecap
    I know the med student talked about student loans. CRNA school is not to cheap either. I am currently an SRNA. Tuition for the 2.5yr program is 41,000. Very comprable to most medschool tuitions per semester. Plus same cost of living for 2.5yrs as a med student has. You do the math, I will be 90-100K in the hole when I start. Prob end up paying 110K after all is paid off, maybe more. Now dont take this comment and flip it saying CRNA's want to be MD's, I am simply comparing costs.

    I go to Baylor CRNA school, the cost of tuition is very close to that of med students, I have thousands in lab fees just like they do. Cost of living loans is the same. Only diff is i go 2.5 yrs, med goes 4yrs. I can start paying right after 2.5yrs, med student must finish another few yrs depending on their speciallty to start paying the loans off.
  9. by   Tenesma
    nitecap...

    you are right on the money... the cost per year is about the same, in fact there are some med schools (state vs private) that are cheaper per year than some of the more private CRNA schools - so for everybody out there be careful with those loans cause they can take BIG bites out of you - especially if you start spending money like a big baller before you get a chance to make payments (then you are really hosed)!
  10. by   shpongle
    The only problem with med school is that even after you finish the schooling, you are not guaranteed a residency to become an anesthesiologist (I would assume such positions would be highly competitive, but then again there is a shortage for some reason...but this is true of all physicians). So am I mistaken in believing that one could go through med school, move onto residency, but be completely barred from getting a residency in a field they chose due to lackluster scores, high competition, etc.? Though I guess if you're desperate enough, you could search the ends of the earth for some podunk hospital to take you.

    I'm currently an undergrad, considering either an AA or (yeah right) med school to become an anesthesiologist or one of the other specialties suggested via the R.O.A.D. to medicine. My GPA is probably too crappy for me to get into a med school. I'm a Junior at UCB and my GPA is around 2.5 (yes I know, it's horrible, but I guess I just didn't really care too much, bad study habits, plus a lot of other excuses, but whatever)

    What really attracts me to this field is the pay, the lifestyle, the practicality of the skills and the need I'd fill, and also because they all seem so damn happy (probably skimming off the top from the meds maybe).

    I can probably raise my GPA if I can give myself a good ass kicking. I've looked at many different options. DO, Carribean, Dentistry, Optometry, PA, RN, etc. AA seems like the perfect gig, but it seems it's so close to going for an MD, might as well just go for the MD if one can get in. But then I read about years and years more of residency, more work responsibilities, a lot more paperwork, etc. It's always easy to think in your mind, ahhh what's 5 or so extra years, but then when you think of grinding it out day by day, night after night, that time is not akin to a little 5 minute time out.

    What deters me from the MD is all the paper work they have to do. When I think of AA's and CRNA's I think of swingers, making good money, the work isn't too hard and their hours aren't that bad. They clock out when the sun is setting in the evening and drive away in little sporty convertibles to disco clubs or w/e while the MD is left grumbling at all the paper work like ebenezer scrooge. All while the state and insurance companies are colluding to take another bite out of scrooge's wallet, and lowering him closer and closer to the position of the AA's and CRNA's, except they didn't incur as much debt and time spent schooling and busting one's ass to be top notch. The healthcare system is becoming more and more like an assembly line, I wonder if it's necessary to have one man know how to build the entire car now.

    What scares me though, is they might do this to the AA's and CRNA's too. More of the schools that produce these specialists might expand and start ******** out more of them and flood the markets, and thus lower the pay; or the insurance companies might arbitrarily say "hey we want more of your money, gimme."

    What I find ridiculous is how the positions are so immobile. Like seriously, why can't an AA eventually become an MD with maybe a 1 year course, or a test of some sort instead of redoing it all over again. So these decisions wouldn't have to be made, you could start off taking small bites and stop when you're satisfied.


    I think AA is the path of least resistance if you're just getting out of undergrad. To become a CRNA you have to become an RN (which is a couple years on top of undergrad), work a madatory year or two in order to be eligible for CRNA, then apply to the CRNA school which will take a year or two. All of that added up seems eerily equivalent to the time an MD would have spent.

    AA is a 2-3 year program right out of undergrad with a ~3.0 gpa required. MCAT/GRE and is a masters degree.


    Well enough of my rambling, until I think of something else.

    I really love all of the insight in this thread, best of luck to all. I especially what I've come across regarding AA's explaining their actual salaries, hours per week, work environment, and job outlook, future, etc. Also what kind of GPA/scores/ etc. was necessary to get into the programs and successfully obtain their careers.
  11. by   bibibi
    You think you don't have too much paperwork in nursing? I think you are mistaken. Nurses have a lot of paperwork to do.
  12. by   CerebralCRNA
    Quote from shpongle
    When I think of AA's and CRNA's I think of swingers, making good money, the work isn't too hard and their hours aren't that bad. They clock out when the sun is setting in the evening and drive away in little sporty convertibles to disco clubs or w/e while the MD is left grumbling at all the paper work like ebenezer scrooge. All while the state and insurance companies are colluding to take another bite out of scrooge's wallet, and lowering him closer and closer to the position of the AA's and CRNA's, except they didn't incur as much debt and time spent schooling and busting one's ass to be top notch.
    Again, total nonsense..........................

    Who is moderating here again? Wow, I am speechless............
  13. by   NRSKarenRN
    Thread started in 2005...our volunteer mods off today.

    Pointing out misperceptions with factual info more helpful than personal comment alone... please help enlighten this first post newbie member.

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