Overwhelmed SRNAs

  1. I just have to comment on nilepoc's latest blog entry. In it, he addresses the question posted in another thread "Is it what you expected?" To say he feels overwhelmed by school right now, I think would be an under statement by any account.

    I feel compelled to share that what he is going through is perfectly normal. I said once here "anesthesia school is the hardest thing you will ever do." I didn't qualify that statement then, and I still don't (OK, maybe our guys/gals in Iraq might have a valid argument with me-but the point is I feel strongly about this.)

    Only the best get into an anesthesia program. These are people that are accustomed to excelling at anything they put their mind to. Then they become a SRNA, and find that they are challenged to the n-th degree at every turn. It's hard. It has to be hard. If it wasn't hard, it wouldn't take over two years of 24/7 committment to accomplish it.

    So it is normal to feel overwhelmed. Everyone feels overwhelmed. It doesn't mean you want to quit, or that you regret your decision. It just means that it takes alot of energy to get through school. And it takes all kinds of energy-physical, emotional, social, cognitive, etc.

    But there are peaks and valleys to a SRNAs emotions. Your support system is invaluable. Family is great, but it usually takes some peer support as well. When you are down, maybe one of your study partners will be not-so-down. Of course, at this time of year (the end of the second semester) just about everybody is completely spent.

    I hope that nilepoc, and other SRNAs, are getting close to a break. Those times are invaluable, to renew your energy and spirit. Do something for yourself, and don't even think about school. You will do yourself a world of good.

    And it does get better. Ask the students ahead of you, I'm sure they will say they are less overwhelmed, the further they progress.

    Thanks to those of you who somehow find the time during school to share how it is going. Sometimes old-timers forget how it was back in the day. It is good for us to be reminded.

    loisane crna
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    About loisane

    Joined: Aug '02; Posts: 409; Likes: 12


  3. by   WntrMute2
    Keep your chin up, the first 2 semesters were the worst, a bit better the third and the forth (wrapping up Friday) was not bad at all. I guess we'll see after finals. After Friday, 2 semesters to go. Sprint to the end.
  4. by   Passin' Gas
    Well said, loisane.

  5. by   MICU RN
    Just read nilepoc's blog and yes I am waiting to hear from school and find out if will be joining the sadistic club in the fall. I certainly can relate to his motivation of not wanting to go back to the ICU and deal with crap. And yes, I do think it will be the hardest thing I will ever do academically, however, after also looking into med school I think that would be harder because of the extra time (four years) and the diversity of the class work. But I do think crna and med school are the hardest programs in the medical field. At the program I have applied to the srna's take physiology and some of the pharm classes together with the med students and I have heard it is hard as hell. So I can only image what nilepoc is going through right now. I just hope to that one day I will be able to look at it and say it was worth it.
  6. by   London88
    I am in the process of taking general pharmacology, and it is the hardest class I have ever taken so far. I am literally fighting to obtain a B+ on each exam, and I am a pretty good student. Before beginning the anesthesia courses in the fall, I would have completed eighteen of the university credits of which there are 24 credits, and 21 anesthesia credits. I looked at Georgetown's curriculum in reference to nilepoc's blog and it looks grueling, hence why I chose to go over three years rather than two. The downside of going over three years is that it affects your financial aid, but it is a sacrifice I am willing to make. I am a good listener, and took the hint when the program director told me it was better to do this over 3 years rather than 2, and that many of the students do work part-time after the 1st two semesters when they do the 3 year program. I guess this helps make up for the loss of financial aid. Any thoughts on this?
  7. by   loisane

    You raise an interesting point. I am only familiar with programs 24-27 months in length, although I know some exist that go 30+ months.

    I have only heard negatives about a longer program format-that it is difficult to recruit students, because you are competing against the shorter programs. But your point is well taken, that the longer length allows for a more reasonable academic pace. It goes to show that things aren't black or white, there are usually pros and cons to each choice.

    There was discussion lately about increasing the minimum length of programs from the present 24 to a new standard of 30. Nurse anesthesia educators protested, and the change was not made, at least for now. Probably will happen eventually, but now is not the time for such a change, with the huge provider shortage projected to last for years to come.

    Keep up the good work, you will do fine,

    loisane crna
  8. by   TraumaNurse
    I know Nilepoc personally and I know how smart he his...that's why it has scared me to death to see how overwhelming CRNA school can be! I have interviews in the coming weeks and am very excited, but I have had a new case of fear and second guessing related to the gruelling amount of work that CRNA school presents. I am not afraid of the work, but the amount of time I will have to spend away from my two young children!
    The one fear I have about one of the schools I will be interviewing at, is that they told me that students do not get any breaks in the program...that even during a brief academic break, that there will still be clinicals and care plans to be done.
    I want to thank all the SRNAs and CRNAs who take the time to post on this board to provide information, guidance and support.
  9. by   WntrMute2
    Most schools give real time off every six months, but your correct that semester breaks just mean clinicals 5 days a week instead of 4.
  10. by   srna
    I just wanted to put my two cents in. I see pros and cons to the argument.

    I am just becoming a senior, and my program is front-loaded. The drawback is that all of the didactics are compressed over the first three semesters, which leaves you just cramming to pass tests. Much of the information is not retained. I am presently finishing my fourth semester, and entering my fifth. I am taking research methodology, which is very watered down in comparison to all of my previous coursework. This makes it much easier to just focus on clinicals, and REAL anesthesia. This period of time is very rigorous in the clinical arena, and I would hate to have serious coursework at this point. Our clinical coordinator does a great job in posting projects and case scenarios to integrate into our clinical practice. These projects are just pass/fail and count towards our overall practicum grade. Anyhow, what I am saying is that I could not imagine having any clinicals during the first three semesters. However, if the coursework was more spread out, clinicals may be more feasible.

    Being where I am now, I would not change things, but my thinking was different during the beginning of the program.

    Well, the best of luck to everyone! There seems to be some light starting to shine through the tunnel!
  11. by   Qwiigley
    Loisann's message helped me so much. I am at this point overwhelmed, exhausted and can barely think straight. I'm fed up with writing my research proposal, sick of getting beat up in clinicals day in and day out. I'm tired. We have had not had one day off, including weekends d/t having to study every waking moment since the days after New Years. I look forward to my only break May 24 for 1 week. Then it starts all over again. My husband left a picture of himself on my pillow this week so I could remember what he looked like. I am in clinicals for the last 3 months 3 hours away from home. Weekends I rush home to do care plans, write thesis and study for pharmacology. Thank goodness he brings food to me and I don't have to cook. I have no children, thank god, 'cuz I'd never see them.
    -------------- WHEW! -------------------
    Thanks for letting me vent! I actually feel better!
    Ok thats enough of a break, back at it!
    Good luck all! You are not alone!
  12. by   Qwiigley
    Do you think that the light at the end of the tunnel might be a train?

    Just kiddin'
  13. by   u-r-sleeepy
    Loislane & Qwiigley & others have nailed it pretty well. It is very challenging to maintain your focus & do well throughout the program. I am not far from the "finish line" now and it truly looks GREAT!!! I've been interviewing different places and the "future is looking so bright..." - yeah, the shades & all that. ;-) Being "wined & dined" and offered plane tickets and treated like royalty is not getting old for me!

    I heard former Senior students say long ago, "When you get within 6 months of graduating, it starts looking really good!" They were right!

    To all who are struggling - just hang in there! There is no substitute for simply doing the work and finishing the program. I've worked hard on keeping my eye on the goal. I'm doing 96 hours in less than a week right now (4 - 24hr shifts in OB) and it's grueling. I get about 1/2-1hr sleep total during the 24 hours. Is that tough? Yes, but there are lots of "tough" things in life. It's a lot easier than watching my child go through open heart surgery - twice! Your perspective is critical.

    I used to read a lot of comments on this board for a variety of reasons. One of those was to find out if my school was "unusually wierd & difficult". After talking with many current CRNAs & reading on this board, all schools are challenging! There are some that appear to be worse than others - it looks like I landed in one of the worst! "Oh well...!" You learn to "keep your head down" and just hold your nose and eventually, you'll get through it. If I'd known before starting school what I know now - I would NOT go to my school, but sometimes that's just the way things work out. Am I unique in my school/class? No - my classmates are just like me with regard to my school and no - I won't be telling you where I'm attending as my paranoia is warranted. 8-O

    My point? Even if you consider yourself to be in the most difficult task of your life and perhaps one of the "worst" schools out there - you can still do this! I helped advise a younger classmate on interviewing and getting accepted to my program only to find out s/he dropped out without even talking to me less than 6 months into the program. What a waste! S/he probably burned up $20k in "up front" school costs and cost of living + lost income for that period of time and went away defeated and will never realize the goal. Now THAT is sad!

    Don't do that! :-)

  14. by   nilepoc
    I never thought my Blog would spark this kind of discussion. But I am glad it did. I think it is important for prospective students to know that their thoughts of self doubt are normal. I am currently on an upswing. We had an oral exam in our anesthesia class, and I knocked my question out of the park. That is the highlight of my semester. Now, I just need to ride the wave of enthusiasm into my last three finals.

    Good luck to you all.


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