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CRNA or FNP: Which has better prospects?

SRNA   (14,333 Views 12 Comments)
by jrv100 jrv100 (Member)

3,711 Visitors; 120 Posts

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Hi all! First let me say that I first learned about this site about 9 months ago. Since that time, I have read hundreds of threads and many of the posts have helped to give me perspective and relieve some stress. I chose to attend Bunker hill CC in Boston (luckily got in on 1st attempt) and just finished my last final yesterday. (All A's this semester!)

My question is simply this: I am very concerned about career prospects and want to make the "right choice" regarding my second career as a nurse. I am drawn to the "high-energy" brainpower needed to be a CRNA and believe I would enjoy that career path as well as it's financial rewards. However, I'm very much a people person and all of my profs. have said I might find it boring.

I do like the idea of being a Family Nurse Practioner but am uncertain of the opportunities that exist for FNP's as compared to opportunities for CRNA's.

I have done some research on both but would very much welcome any input from those that may have faced similar decisions in their careers.

I would also be interested in a health management position down the line. I have great company experience and I recently graduated with an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT, so I would also be interested in entrepreneurial endeavors related to bio-sciences and medical devices or even consulting.

Any input is greatly appreciated.

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3,711 Visitors; 120 Posts

just bumping this thread...

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1,737 Visitors; 59 Posts

jrv, I believe being a NP would be more beneficial toward the background that you have! With your corporate experience and the nice degree from MIT. Especially if you want to get involve w/ the med. device, bio-sciences, having the general knowledge as a middle health care provider (NP) would def. fit nicely toward your background compare to CRNA, IMO.

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dfk has 11 years experience and specializes in critical care/emergency.

5,942 Visitors; 501 Posts

it seems to me that if your future goals are what you say, then i don't see why you would choose CRNA, or FNP for that matter. but, entrepreneurial in the loop, you could utilize that to your benefit if you were to be a solo practitioner in either profession (CRNA/FNP).. you need to decide what it is you like and go for that. these two careers are completely different. shadow a CRNA for a few days and do the same with an FNP. that will give you great insight into each role. if it is management you want, then go that route and don't "waste" your time with the other education (CRNA/FNP), unless you have time and money to burn. as for being bored with anesthesia, again, that is an individual belief. i would be bored with FNP and doing H&Ps all day long. just my opinion. as for job security and all that, CRNA will outlast FNP in the bigger cities, especially with regards to pay. if in the rural areas, both would have good prospects, as both would most likely be the primary care givers in complete autonomy. so, basically feel out each role, and go from there, and if it's management you want, it could be pursued with being a CRNA/FNP, but you may be less marketable than if you directly pursued management from a specific perspective, especially with the master's training you already have...

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japaho41 specializes in MICU & SICU.

4,076 Visitors; 280 Posts

You have to keep in mind of the competition between NP and PA's for jobs. There are some regions that favor using PA's over NP's. Yes there is the emergence of AA's competing for CRNA jobs but the number of AA's in the field as well as number of programs is still very small.

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smileyRn96 has 11 years experience and specializes in ER/ICU, CCRN, SRNA (class of 2010).

1,892 Visitors; 161 Posts

I have looked at both options, I got my BSN a few years ago in a RN-MSN program that had a FNP focus. I chose that program over others because I could take graduate nursing classes vs undergraduate classes. I was already a nurse for several years and thought this would help me test the graduate waters. I hade a class in Adv. Health Assessment which I spent 100 clinical hours with a FNP working in a family practice doing H&Ps and sick visits. This FNP worked 5 days a week m-f 730-530, had rotating call on the weekends and also nights during the week. Keep in mind this MD was also medical director of a few small nursing homes and they covered for him as well. So, the hour are many and the pay is not great. I want to say they make around 70-80,000/yr. So if you like the continuety of Family practice as well as doing physical assessments primarly with little advanced skills like a-line/central line placement, intubations and all the rest ,then FNP is for you.

Personally after those 100hr with a FNP, 40hr with Acute NP, and countless with FNP in ED and some time with a CRNA...CRNA matched my personalty the best.

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traumaRUs has 27 years experience as a MSN, APRN and specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU.

15 Followers; 146 Articles; 187,035 Visitors; 20,756 Posts

Smiley hit the nail on the head IMHO. It's what works for your personality. When I was considering grad school, I knew that I can not stand still for very long. If I had chosen CRNA I would have been peeking over the curtain to see what was going on, asking when we were going to be done, etc.. All things not conducive to a long CRNA career - lol. The NP/CNS role fit my personality better. I like to be moving around and seeing lots of different types of things. I'll be honest though that I don't care for the primary care aspect of NP/CNS. I really still have the ER mentality: treat 'em and street 'em!

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57,426 Visitors; 10,263 Posts

I simply can't imagine a good CRNA being a good FPN and vice versa. Money has so little to do with this decision!

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3,711 Visitors; 120 Posts

It seems to me that FNP's do a lot of physical assessment's each day....moreover it seems like everyday would be like a "cattle call"..trying to see as many patients as possible each day to make the doc lot's of cash.

This sounds boring to me. I want to use my intellectual abilities to the fullest. Being a CRNA would seem to be more in line with that. I want to practice advanced concepts and I am also concerned about never having to worry about excellent career opportunities. From what I am hearing, CRNA's seem to have it significantly better in that department.

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3,711 Visitors; 120 Posts

My problem is I believe my personality is suited for both career paths...however, I am very concerned about career opportunities, salary potential etc. as well. It seems that NP's take it in the pants when it comes to salaries vis a vis their education and experience levels.

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3,711 Visitors; 120 Posts

I have been looking for management type positions with no success. Each wants 3 or 5 years of specific healthcare experience. . I have awesome management experience and I am only midway through my RN program.

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juan de la cruz has 27 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in APRN, Adult Critical Care.

3 Followers; 8 Articles; 57,916 Visitors; 3,778 Posts

First, I don't see being an FNP as being less "mentally-challenging" as CRNA. Both require a certain degree of intellectual competence in order to be good at each role even though the practice settings are entriely different. I also feel that there are serious mental challenges that FNP's face especially those who are totally autonomous or practicing on their own without physician involvement.

In my opinion, the facts that you may need to consider are: (1) CRNA programs generally require full time commitment with very little chance of being able to work while at school, whereas FNP programs allow a greater degree of flexibility allowing you to work to some extent while in school, (2) employment opportunities appear to be better for CRNA's than FNP's in general, (3) earning potential for CRNA's are better than FNP's, (4) CRNA programs are very comptetitive to get into, whereas FNP programs are more widespread with varying levels of difficulty in terms of likelihood of being admitted, (5) FNP job opportunities are dependent on specific geographical locations - most rural areas are excellent settings for FNP's to practice. Not being a CRNA myself, I can't provide you an honest account of employment patterns for CRNA's if we break it down to specific geographical areas.

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