Hello from a future CRNA - page 2
Hello Everyone! My name is Linda, I am new to allnurses.com, which is great by the way, I too am interested in becoming a CRNA, but am only working at the stage of working on my pre-reqs for the RN... Read More
May 11, '02Ok, here is my story.
I became a nurse for two reasons, the first was to become a CRNA, and the second, that I didn't realize until I had practiced for a while is I like helping people. To be a good nurse and get the experience you will need to become a CRNA, you need to have empathy and be caring. Once you know that you have those qualities and can exercise them daily in your job, you will make a great nurse. Consequently you will make a great CRNA some day.
I started out just as you are, I had 3/4 of a computer science degree done, and hated it. (Systems programming if you are interested, I wrote and assembler and attempted to write and OS based on minix, Linus Torvalis I was not.) My wife ended up in the hospital and I met a CRNA. Right there, I found my career path. That was 1993, I started classes the next semester, and entered nursing school in the summer of 1995. I like you thought I would do it in steps, i.e. get an associates, and then a BSN, and get the experience on the way. Fortunately for me, the associates program had a two-year wait after finishing pre-reqs. So I went to the University and completed the pre-reqs for their program in one semester. (took path I, path II, pharmacology, abnormal psych, and a nursing concepts classes all at once, after that, nursing school was cake.) Doing this, I came out a semester later than I would have at the associates school, but I had the BSN I needed. Then I went straight to work in a CCU, and one year later moved to a Trauma surgical burn ICU, where I am currently the night Charge. While working in the ICU's, I bolstered my science background, by taking real college chemistry, Genetics, immunology, two semesters of physics, molecular cell biology, and other things of interest. One thing I learned in doing that, is that most nursing programs do not cover enough science. And science is the basis of anesthesia. Think acid/base, and biochemistry. If you don't like science, but can do it you will do fine, if you have no ability to understand science, it will be tough.
So, I say take all the classes you can, and if the programs you are looking at require a BSN, go straight to that. Also, learn to tolerate science, as I have said elsewhere, the first thing I am doing when I start, is taking a two week required science refresher and a big test at the end off it. I have already started studying for it.
Hang in there, you can obtain your goal. And you can probably do it faster than I did, as I had to wait for my wife to finish here pHD. So that she can help support me, and I can call her Doctor. J Another tip, I wish I had known, when you introduce yourself on that first day of nursing school, Don't blurt out that you are becoming a nurse to become a CRNA. Nursing instructors tend to think everyone is going to become a community health nurse, because that "is where the future of nursing is". So they just resented me for my whole program after I said that I wanted to become a CRNA.
May 11, '02Thanks for the information jfpruitt, I am going to check on the "shadowing" thing tomorrow. Is that what I should call it when I talk to the hospital, shadowing? To answer your question, why do I want to become a CRNA, I believe it will be fulfilling and rewarding and I also believe it is what I was truly meant to do. Fulfilling in that I know I will be making a career out of helping people in need and what could be more rewarding than that? As far as my opinion goes, nothing could be. Having been a computer programmer for five years I began to hate what I was doing. I often complained to my husband that I was helping no one in my job, then one day he told me to "do something about it." So that is what I am attempting to do. It was a toss up between two careers I had always thought about, CRNA and Teaching. Obviously, I chose CRNA. Every time I would lean a little towards Teaching, something about CRNA would present itself and I would be back to CRNA. This may sound silly but I believe in "signs" and I have to say I was getting several of them. There are other reasons too though; I would like to make enough money to send my son to college and to allow my husband to begin working on his dreams, as he has so graciously supported me in doing so. I must admit I was quite concerned about my weak stomach and gag reflex, however when my grandmother became very ill, someone had to do something or she is going to a nursing home. That someone was me, I decided to care for her in her home fulltime. After doing "gross" things a few times I got over the gagging and did what needed to be done to help her. She was in and out of the hospital several times and I hated the care she received at the hospital. I found pills in her room that she did not take. The nurse I reported it to freaked out but did nothing about it. They would deliver her food trays, leave them sitting there all the while knowing she could not feed herself. And finally, the day before she died I took her to the doctor and told him she had a headache that will not go away, was off-balanced always leaning to the left, was talking crazy - and her mind had always been fine - it was her body that was always giving up on her, and she had been telling me her sight was blurry. Well, the doctor suggested I lower her coumadin intake by 2.5 mg and sent us home. The very next day she had a massive stroke and died. When I returned home that same evening I searched the internet for symptoms of stroke and guess what I found - every freaking symptom I had described to the doctor the day before. Yes, I know she was elderly and it was her time to go, but he was trained to recognize those symptoms - and failed to do so. When working towards making people better (health wise) and attempting to save lives medical professionals need to truly care and not just blow patients off because they are too busy. That was the "big push" I guess you could say, my mind was made up and CRNA it would be. I may not be able to change the world but I can do my best to help everyone I can. Also, I would like to assure you that my "feathers" have not been "stirred," although I must say in my own defense that I do not believe I ever said that I "hate" science, as you quoted in your last post. My statement was: "I don't really mind science courses, but I don't exactly care for them either. Basically, I take the courses because I have to." Now, the question I had asked was "So, I guess what I am really asking is can a person who really has no general interest in science be happy in a nursing career?" With that question I was hoping to get a personal experience or two from CRNAs who do not particularly care for science much but really love their jobs. I am not going to let the fact that I don't like science stop me, not even a consideration. Guess what else, I also DISLIKE going to school, but I know there are things in life that I may not like doing but I must get them done, so I just get over it and get the job done. I am simply trying to get information on issues that are of current concern to me from people who have been where I am headed.
May 11, '02What a great story Nilepoc - thank you so much for sharing it and for the tip at the end. Actually the statement I made earlier, "I have been warned, although I refuse to believe it could be true, that most CRNAs or CRNA students would not give me the time of day due to the early stage of my education process," this warning came from a friend that is an RN and I do not think the RNs in my area like CRNAs very much. I could be wrong but their attitude changes completely when discussing CRNAs, you know what I mean. She wants me to work with her in neonatal - but she does not understand that is what she wants to do, not me. Do you mind if I ask how old you were when you began working on your education? Thanks again for a great and informative post!
May 11, '02I totally agree with nilepoc
Never tell anyone unless your sure they like you anyway that you want be a CRNA. infact, I have found that almost the only safe people to tell withing academia are the upper-devision type research teachers.
I made the same mistake craig did and have been playing cover up for the past 6 years. I started in 1996 ( I am not a CRNA or even an applicant yet) and I have worked straight toward it. orginally I thought " this shouldn't be to bad, two years for my RN, a year for my Bsn and then two more for my CRNA" hmmmmmmm yeah right. anyway. whenever you have to wright a professional goal paper for admissons or anything else just state that you plan to continue your education and never elude to the fact you want to be a CRNA.
you will find there are some disgusting social pathologies that exist in nursing. you will survive if you simply get along with everyone. many nurses love join sides and pit themselves one against another. I just make everyone belive I am on there side. nurses rape each other over stupid things like "who didn't fill up a water mug or who didn't empty the catheter" just always belive that every nurse faces a diffrent set of obstacels and problems durring a given shift and that every nurse does there best with what they have. (this is somewhat of a soapbox of mine) we preach individualized nursing care but we try to generalize it more and more with every silly rule we make.
May 11, '02Lfulton
I may not be the best person to answer your question, since I generally enjoyed the science classes I took on the way to RN and CRNA, but let me give you a thought or two. The science classes you take ARE important to your career, both in nursing and as a staff nurse. They give you the knowledge base to understand what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how it works, usually at the cellular level. Especially as a CRNA, but also as a nurse, it is not enough to know that "if I give drug 1, it will have effect A." You must also understand why it will have effect A, how it accomplished effect A. It may be that effect A is exactly what you need, but the means by which that effect is accomplished is EXACTLY the wrong means to get to where you want to be.
Having said that, much of that information becomes "background" information. You know the material, and have it in the back of your head as you administer anesthetics. But you don't consciously think of the science that underlies what you are doing every time you are doing it. For example, if your patient has a blood pressure of 80/40 with a heart rate of 56, you reach (possibly) for the ephedrine rather than the phenylepherine. You know that phenylepherine will raise the pressure, but will probably also slow the heart rate further. You know that ephedrine will both raise the pressure and heart rate. You don't consciously think about the receptors involved that make this true every time you reach for a vasopressor, but if anyone asked, you could give a good explanation for what you are doing and why.
I could give other examples, but I'm already taking the long way around the barn to answer your question. The short answer is yes, there are CRNA's who disliked, or even hated, the fundamental science courses they had to take to become CRNA's, but handled the coursework quite well. One thing to consider. All of anesthesia is based on science. The performance of anesthesia is both a science and an art. In school, you learn the art in clinical settings, while the science is learned in class. So, essentially, all the classes are science classes.
I want to reinforce what nilepoc said about telling people your ultimate goals. There is a great dislike among many nurses for CRNA's. This is particularly true among academia at nursing schools. I think the reasons for this are primarily envy and resentment. CRNA's are well paid. Our professional organization, the AANA, has its act together, and helps CRNA's speak with one voice in Washington, and elsewhere. This absolutely cannot be said for the ANA. They won't tell you these are the reasons. In fact, when I started nursing school, one of my old instructors (who knew my ultimate plans when I was in nursing school, and tried to make my time there VERY difficult) lamented the fact that I was "leaving nursing" to become an anesthetist. In any event, when you get into nursing school, I'd recommend you keep your ultimate goals to yourself. No one (I hope) would try to flunk you out because of your desire to become a CRNA, but many would think nothing of trying to make your course in nursing school, and your life, a little more difficult along the way. So, keep your plans to yourself.
May 11, '02Lfulton
I am glad my story helped you in some small way. To answer your question, I will turn 33 on the day before school starts, August 8th is the day my life gets flipped on its head. So I was 23 when I decided to pursue gas passing as a career.
BTW I actually had a hard time getting my first ICU position, because people knew of my goal to become a CRNA. You see, people with ambition, move on and don't become that 20 year vet bitter ICU nurse. They get their experience and move on. Managers don't like that.
It kind of sucks, you have to stay enthusiastic about your goals, but the people who should support you the most, your peers, won't support you. This is the one thing I have come to regret about joining nursing. It seems that there is a bitterr group of nurses out there that resent anyone seeking to better themselves. This is an attitude, that I think will not get better, as the very people that could address it and fix it, are the ones that move on to other careers, such as CRNA and NP. Thus potentiating the divide between the goal seekers, and the langoliers. Granted there are many nurses that are hapy in their current role, and will support you. But I find them to be few and far between.
CraigLast edit by nilepoc on May 11, '02
May 12, '02WOW! eating the young is alive and well everywhere. I thought I was the only one who met these cranky nurses.
How do you get referrences then from other nurses that are somewhat mad at your ambitions? Did you find out ahead of time that some people you just don't ask for references.?
Did your program directors ever share with you that one of the references made not so nice statements?
May 12, '02My manager asked me "why do you want to waste all that knowledge in nurse anesthesia school?" She gave me a great reference, though she felt I should not leave critical care nursing.
May 12, '02Thanks, this is really great advice - I have decided to tell most people for now that I want to work in ICU and leave it at that.
Oh and Nilepoc, Your begin date - August 8th is my birthday - if yours is the day before, Aug 7th, that would make you a Leo and that is proof enough for me that you'll survive successfully!
May 12, '02Nevermind - My post is in the right place! I am still half asleep and trying to look up PS2 codes for my kid at the same time!
By the way - Happy Mother's Day to all of the Mothers out there!
May 12, '02lgcv,
I am curious, if you do not mind sharing, how did you respond your manager's question? Did it catch you totally off gaurd, or did you already know she felt that way?
May 13, '02Hi Again. Glad you didnt take offense to the science question. I just wanted to warn you how much science will play a part in your academics. I myself have not mentioned my goals to be a CRNA, and now after reading all this, glad I didnt!!! I had kinda heard that before, but wasnt sure if it was true.