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CRNA School with a young family

SRNA   (1,809 Views 16 Comments)
by ECRNICU ECRNICU (New Member) New Member

ECRNICU works as a Registered Nurse.

357 Visitors; 5 Posts

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Hello Everyone!

I have a question that I am wanting other perspectives on.

I am a MSICU RN at a Level 1 Trauma Center and have been for about 1.5 years. As you can see from the title, I am wanting to go to CRNA school; have wanted to for some time now. I am a mother of 2 young boys, currently on maternity leave actually :) my eldest is 2. My husband is very supportive as well.

My question is with the programs all being DNP programs, do you SRNA's have time for family still? I completely understand the program is intense and you basically breathe Anesthesia. But wouldn't you treat it like your "job" and still have "free time"? I know I want to do this more than anything, but I don't want to make a selfish decision when we have our family to consider. I know that it will be worth it in the end, but what about during the 3 years.

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CowboyMedic has 2 years experience and works as a MSNICU RN.

1 Like; 9,554 Visitors; 364 Posts

I'll be in a similar situation once I am accepted. My wife will be the sole income provider for 3 years and I will view the CRNA program as my full-time job. I will make it a priority to spend as much time with my wife when I am not in class, clinicals, or studying. She understands that this will be an intense 3 years but the sacrifice will be worth it once we are done. We don't have any children right now so my situation will be a little different than yours.

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ECRNICU works as a Registered Nurse.

357 Visitors; 5 Posts

Exactly. I figure that there are 24 hours in a day and it should be quite doable to make time for the things that are important. I hear people all the time say that "you neglect your family for 3 years" and "it takes all your free time" blah blah but I wasn't sure how accurate that was. Even if we spend like 50 hours a week to school (studying, class, clinicals) wouldn't that leave a lot of time still left over or am I missing something?

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m1lkofamnesia has 2 years experience and works as a SRNA.

1 Like; 6,035 Visitors; 238 Posts

How much sleep do you need? Lol. But in all seriousness, I don't have a family and it's been exhausting :) On the flip side I have classmates who have young kids and have made it, so yes, it's doable. Props to them. It is what you make of it I suppose!

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DreameRN has 10 years experience as a BSN.

8 Likes; 3,573 Visitors; 83 Posts

Agree. Most of the time I have enough time after studying to get the time that I want with my husband. However, this is the didactic phase, and that changes with my program with clinicals. Depending on how your program is, there could be significant time away. My program does multiple rural rotations away per year, up to over 5 months when you are physically at the rural site Monday-Friday and are 3 hours away from home and living in housing they provide during that M-F. People with kids struggle with this. Not all programs do this I think, but it's a factor to take into consideration.

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2 Likes; 1,548 Visitors; 70 Posts

I had two kids during school (one was born during school). It was OK. It forces me to plan ahead and prioritize my time in a way that made my studying more efficient than my classmates. When I got my syllabus for the semester I would start working on papers/projects that weren't due for months so I could get ahead. I listened to recorded lectures during my commute. My wife actually liked the schedule better than when I was in the ICU (every weekend/holiday off during school and was able to put my kids to bed every night as opposed to working 12 hr rotating shifts/holidays/weekends in the ICU). It isn't the most fun thing in the world but I think my kids' lives will be much better in the long term with me being a CRNA as opposed to not going to school. The schedule/financial difference is huge and having a Dad that loves his job is probably better than being over stressed, under appreciated and unhappy as an ICU RN.

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Shanimal has 6 years experience and works as a Nurse Anesthesia Student, Critical Care RN.

5,014 Visitors; 184 Posts

My question is with the programs all being DNP programs, do you SRNA's have time for family still? I completely understand the program is intense and you basically breathe Anesthesia. But wouldn't you treat it like your "job" and still have "free time"? I know I want to do this more than anything, but I don't want to make a selfish decision when we have our family to consider. I know that it will be worth it in the end, but what about during the 3 years.

I'm going through school now as a mom to toddlers. The amount of free time you have at any given point depends on how the program is structured. In my first two semesters I was able to continue working and still had a reasonable amount of time to spend with family. Now that I'm in my third semester, working is out of the question. Aside from class time, I'm easily averaging 45-55 hours every week in just studying. Every weekday I leave my house while the rest of my family is still sleeping, and by the time I get home it's already time to put the kids to bed. On weekends I spend most of my time at the library studying to be away from distractions. I haven't even started clinicals yet (I'm in a front-loaded program, so our clinicals don't start until next semester). We start with two clinical days a week, which gradually increases to five days a week before we graduate. Some programs require that students rotate through distant clinical sites, often for weeks or more at a time. So it depends on how much "free time" to spend with your family you consider to be sufficient, because added up these things don't leave much left over.

When it comes to family time, what I lack in quantity I try to make up for in quality. But none of this is easy, especially the times when the kids cry when they see me leave for the day or whenever I miss one of their milestones. I went into this willing to make those sacrifices if that's what it took, but I could never fault those who decide that having to make those sacrifices isn't the right choice for them or their family. Good luck in whatever you decide.

Edited by Shanimal

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ECRNICU works as a Registered Nurse.

357 Visitors; 5 Posts

Thank you all for your responses. This has definitely given me a lot to think about and consider. I really appreciate you guys!

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Kcordova has 5 years experience.

2 Articles; 611 Visitors; 8 Posts

I am a single mother of a 11yr old, and doing it. Not only am I doing it as a single mom I also packed and moved across the ocean to PR to do it. IT CAN BE DONE! when you say breath anesthesia, that is an understatement. all you will do is study, shower, eat, sleep and repeat. The time I get to be a bit flexible is just for my kid, not only time is limited but income is also limited to go out and do extracurricular activities. With that been said I also suggest to do it while they are young, it is much easier, as the kids grow they get involved into activities sports, etc. when they are as young as yours I think is easier plus they won't remember as much the fact that they had the tv or the bouncy chair as a full time nanny while you burn your eyes studying. Do it while they are young, and take advantage of he blessing of having a supportive spouse with a supporting income.

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Lovetoker22 has 4 years experience.

195 Visitors; 7 Posts

I was just accepted into CRNA school- a 27month program. Thank goodness its a 27mo vs 36mo program- because I also have 2 toddlers. I don't think I could stretch another year of missing my babies grow into children. I start in June 2019, and am VERY nervous about how we as a family will deal with the school/family balance. When I start my kids will be 3yo and 1yo, respectively 5.5yo and 3.5yo when I graduate. I am 100% dedicated to getting through this and am searching for as many successful stories on other parents who have been through this before. Following this thread for more encouragement :D Thanks for all the hardworking mommas (and dads) who inspire the rest of us!

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ECRNICU works as a Registered Nurse.

357 Visitors; 5 Posts

That's amazing Lovetoker22!!! I wish the programs in my area weren't 3 year programs. All three schools have transitioned over to the DNP this upcoming program. We will be in similar situations when I start (hopefully), except I'll be in school longer :(. I wish you all the best of luck! You got this!

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1,547 Visitors; 28 Posts

I think it depends on your program. Some people in my program had children so it's obviously doable but definitely not easy. In my program you could think of the time you spent in class/clinical as the time you would spend working but it's all the additional studying necessary on-top of that which makes it difficult. Between class, clinical, and studying I was definitely putting in much more than 50 hours a week, not including the sometimes 20 hours I would spend studying on the weekends...

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