Nursing's Love - Hate Relationship with CRNA's

  1. OK, I'm looking for YOUR opinion. In 1993, I left the military, with the intention of becoming first a nurse, then a CRNA. Last August, I realized my goal, graduating with an MSNA, and have been a practicing CRNA ever since. Throughout my career in nursing, I have noticed a prejudice among many (but not all) nurses against CRNA's.

    This seems to be particularly true in nursing academia. When I started nursing school, we were asked what we thought we would be doing in our nursing career. I (being naive) honestly stated what my plans were. From that point on, I was treated differently by many of my instructors. When I was accepted to anesthesia school, one of my BSN instructors expressed regret that I was "leaving nursing."

    I have my own thoughts on why this is true, but these are my thoughts. I'm really interested in hearing the thoughts of others.

    If you are a nurse who has no problem with CRNA's, but has an opinion on why this is true, tell me what your opinion is. If you are a nurse who does not like CRNA's or believes as my instructor did, then tell me what you think, and why. I really want to know. You don't even have to tell me what side of the question you personally fall on.

    A caveat: I have asked for your opinion. That being true, I won't be angry at you for giving it to me. I won't flame anyone who responds. I really want to know your opinion, whatever it is. I'd ask any other respondents to this question to show the same courtsey. I want this to be an honest, frank discussion. Flaming someone for being honest and frank serves no purpose, other than to try to shut that person up. I don't want to shut anyone up.

    I am really curious about this, and I want honest, even brutally honest answers. Thanks.

    Kevin McHugh, CRNA
  2. Visit kmchugh profile page

    About kmchugh

    Joined: Mar '02; Posts: 2,000; Likes: 66


  3. by   Tephra
    Hey Kevin, way to go! Enjoy your career, it's one of nursing's many ways to represent and advance yourself. I'm working on the NP degree myself, and finding the role transition very weird and fascinating at the same time.

    Personally? I like working with our CRNAs. Most interact/interpret well in that gray area between doctor and nurse (perhaps the reason why your instructors had a strange response). Neither fish-nor-fowl, as it were. But I think maybe some see the CRNA as "using" nursing to achieve near-doctorhood (even though that's not how it is).

  4. by   sunnybrook83
    I have no problem with CRNA's- in fact some of them I've worked with were much more competent than the MD's!! I think that some nurses are resentful because the CRNA's have more autonomy than other nurses.
    I wonder if your instructors felt the same way about NP's? Perhaps since AP nurses don't usually answer call lights and do the day-day routine that one usually associates with nursing, your instructors feel they have "left nursing"!
  5. by   ceecel.dee
    Yes, it may be a bit of autonamy envy.

    However, a bit of an elitist attitude is apparant from ours. She walks up and asks for the chart rather than look for it herself as we do. She rifles through it, sure that the orders cannot possibly be complete ("where's the Hgb, how recently was it drawn, did anyone listen to her lungs, when did she eat last") like she dosen't know that all this is actually WRITTEN DOWN somewhere in there!

    We are all becomine CALS certified (comp. ALS) in our rural area and RSI is a big part of this. She will not let go of "her" drugs! She was doling out single use syringes of etomidate or succinylcholine or even wanting control of every drop of versed in the hospital like she was personally responsible and accountable! The Doc's finally told her that they indeed could order those meds and even care for those pt's independant of her. We are giving these meds to sedate and paralyze for the purpose of intubation, and then air ambulance out!

    She is actually really great at her job, and I would put my kids' life in her hands any day. She just comes off as really territorial and maybe all that is job security for her.

    Just my $0.02.
  6. by   kaycee
    I have never had a problems with any CRNA's, in fact a friend of mine was going to school while she worked in our ER. She was a great ER nurse and is a wonderful and extremely competent CRNA. I think with any advanced nursing role be it CRNA or CNP, it's all in the attitude. If you come off as being better or your ego is out of control you can be sure to Pi$$ off your fellow nurses. On the other hand there are some RNs that may feel threatened or envious of a CRNA or CNP's position and make trouble when there isn't any. So it can be both sides that can be the problem. I personally have never met a CRNA that I didn't like and respect. As far as leaving nursing per your instructor, what a crock. I think there was some nurse envy there. Nursing is multifaceted and you are just one of the many facets!!!(sp?)
  7. by   fedupnurse
    Hey Kevin,
    I'm an ICU rat. I deal with CRNA's all the time. I work in a teaching hospital. I think CRNA's are a Godsend, especially in July!!! There are a couple I don't like but it's because they are gruff and arrogant and were before they became CRNA's. I think I'd rather have a CRNA. I truly believe nurses pay closer attention to detail, the little subtle things, than doctors do. I do believe however, that anyone who chooses to go on for an advanced degree and go into your specialty or any NP type deal should have to have 5 years clinical experience as a staff nurse before they can go to school. I went for my BSN and another student was getting her RN, working on her BSN and would graduate with that one year after graduating as an RN and then went right into an NP program. NEVER worked as a nurse. Nothing can take the place of clinical experience. As Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio has said: "I know alot of smart people who fail the test (CCRN) and alot of stupid people pass it."
  8. by   ERNurse752
    I've never noticed any difficulties between staff nurses and CRNA's where I said above, most of us like them better than the MDs!
    I can see the other side though, where some people may feel some "AP envy."
    I've been an RN for almost a year now, and I plan on going back to school for the FNP program in about another year.
  9. by   Jenny P
    Kevin, I've worked CV-ICU for many years and many CRNA's in this area are people that I used to work with. Each year when the new group of nurses go off to anesthesia school, I give them grief for "leaving us just when they are getting good at their jobs!" They know what I mean: I'm wishing them luck in their new profession and will miss them mightily once they are gone. I miss the ones who leave; but at the same time I have run into many of them when I or family members need surgery; and have also run into them through professional and political settings. No envy here at all; nor do I think that they are leaving nursing. We just have different areas of practice: my place is at the bedside, their spot is passing gas.
  10. by   P_RN
    No problems here either. In fact the last two surgeries I had I chose MY CRNA and she could work with the anesthesiologist of her choice. SHE knew me. The Doc did NOT.