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Got into CRNA school. now cold feet?

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Hi so yes I recently was admitted to a CRNA dnp program. I start in May and believe me I am sooo excited and feel so blessed for this amazing opportunity in a field where you don't hear anything but good things!!! But The feelings I have had lately; anxious and nervous that I'm not making the right decision. Sometimes the stress keeps me up at night and I haven't even started. I have two small kids and supporting grandparents on both sides for help but we will have to hire someone for summer for sure and my husband works full time. 100k of loans on top of the 50 k I have but of course I realize this will pay off. I am wondering if these feelings of cold feet are normal?? I plan on shadowing again to make sure this is what I want to do. Even though I am already admitted. I know a little backwards.. This decision is life changing emotionally, personally, financially and I want to make sure 5-6 years down the road I will be as happy as 1-2 years into this career. any other recently admitted SRNAs feel this way? Any CRNAs out there doing it 5plus years as happy as the day they started? Any regrets at all? Thanks

Yep. I'm anxious too, looking at things that others do before starting school, but from the students I have talked to they all say relax as you'll learn everything you need to in school. But all will be fine. Loans can always be paid off, opportunities to make significantly more money and be happy working a great schedule are not always there.

I'm in CRNA school and I still get this feeling. I'm almost done with my first year (with 2 more to go) and when I sign for more loans I get nervous. Then I remember the stuff I'm studying and it's so interesting to me. I talk with professors and ask about their experiences in the OR that week and I remember that I can't wait to do that (my program is front loaded).

Definitely shadow again. I shadowed 10 times and I KNOW this is what I want to do. Your feelings are very normal.

RNtoCRNA16

Has 5 years experience.

I also have been feeling this way, but from asking around it seems normal. It's a huge commitment personally, financially, etc. I think it's healthy to question it and make sure it's something you want to do. And as others have said, it will definitely pay off financially although that doesn't much help the sticker shock. Glad I'm not alone!

RNDude2012

Specializes in ICU.

I'm in the exact same boat. I forfeit my spot in a program across the country because I decided moving that far for school was not worth it for me. The debt, and time away from friends and family just wasn't worth it to me. I figured I would do NP, . Anyways, long story short, I have an interview coming up with a local program, and I still sometimes question whether or not it's worth the time away from work, and debt, especially since the market is pretty saturated with CRNAs in my area. The field REALLY interests me, and I may do it just for that, because I would NEVER be happy being a bedside RN forever. I'm considering NP, but the fluffy nursing curriculum is very off-putting to me.

I think shadowing is a good idea, since this is more of an emotional decision. You have to decide:

1) Will you be happy as a bedside RN, and if not will you be happy in a role away from the bedside (case management, management, etc.) 2) Will you be happy in with your role as an anesthetist? It's pretty specialized, and you can't hop around jobs or specialties the same way you can as a bedside RN. You have to really be interested in the field. It's a huge investment to not be. Don't let the "glamour and prestige" cloud your decision.

If it's worth it to you emotionally, then you have decide whether or not it's financially feasible. You said you will owe 100k on top of your 50k debt. 150k paid back over 10 years: $1726/month or 20 years: $1145/month.

FinAid | Calculators | Loan Calculator

Take your local average salary (realize you will more than likely not start out at this amount), and plug the number into this calculator

Salary Paycheck Calculator | Payroll Calculator | Paycheck City

Also realize that when you're making as much as a CRNA does OT is HUGE

This will give you a more realistic take on how higher pay affects increases your tax rate and affects net pay. Also, compare your current net pay as a RN vs average CRNA net pay MINUS your student loan payment. This will give you a realistic view of whether or not it's worth it for you financially from month to month or paycheck to paycheck.

Bottom line is, make sure this is something you will be happy doing. Also, take into consideration whether or not you will regret NOT doing it 10-20 years from now. There ARE a lot of bitter bedside RNs who wish they did other things. Don't do it for other people. Good luck.

So basically my decision will be made after I shadow a couple more times. But basically I have my dad who of course knows someone who did this and he was not happy after a couple of years because it was "boring" Because after you induce you are just monitoring vital signs I mean I don't believe this is true at all but now I second guess. He just doesn't want me to invest and sacrifice so much to have made a mistake.I don't have any doubts I will change my mind because it will probably be my biggest regret in life but I think shadowing will give me a better idea as I have only shadowed once. I'm glad others feel the same way. Doesn't make

me feel crazy! :up:

I feel like literally a dozen people I have worked with in the last few years have all told me how much they regret not going to school to be a CRNA and how life happened and they had kids or decided to not go for whatever reason. Of all the CRNAs I have talked to, the ones that opened up about the job have said it was the best choice they ever made in their lives. They also said you sacrifice a lot for school, but in the end it is all worth it. Definitely make sure it is something that interests you. Money can be made back after school by employers who pay for your tuition and loans, and there are even travel CRNA positions after you get some experience. I can't even fathom what they make compared to traveling nurses. If money is a concern, it can definitely be paid back if you are willing to put the time in. The more anxious I get about school the more excited I am at the same time.

Sounds like you have a pretty good plan. :) I am supposed to start school in a month and am getting cold feet as well (but only about the specific school I'm attending, not CRNA in general). Keep us posted on what you decide and I hope you enjoy your shadowing experiences!

Edited by lemonstolemonade

CCUnurse18

Has 13 years experience.

which school are you going to? I have applied to a couple of schools and have not gotten any interviews. I have applied to several hoping to at least getting an interview for experience. The school that I really would like to go to I will apply to after the first of the year for a start date Jan 2018. Just talking to several RNs in my unit that will start classes next month I just get so envious of. I have made sacrifices to get to this point and am just hoping that its not just wishing hoping! Good luck to you!

I am going to Rutgers university in Newark nj

It sounds like you are worried about 1) finances and 2) if CRNA is right for you? I'd like to give you my thoughts on both of these...

I think it is normal to worry about finances, especially when you have little ones and you are helping to support family members (that is highly commendable by the way!). Every time I accepted the full amount of the student loan offered, I felt some moments of stress but I kept pushing it away to focus on surviving.

I have been a CRNA for 2.5 years. I have a total of 200K in debt from my out of state undergrad and from my private university I attended for CRNA (I knew what I was getting into when I started this). My take home pay after taxes and after putting aside the max for retirement is about 8k-11k per month depending on how much overtime I felt like working that month. My student loan payment is $1500 (I call it my second mortgage). I still have quite a bit of money leftover to travel, eat at nice restaurants, and buy the things I want (we don't have children so this is what we choose to do). This didn't happen right away. My first few paychecks went right to paying bills and there was one time I even cried to my husband that I was never going to recover from my debt and he just looked at me like I was insane (he's a finance guy and a business owner). But over time, my margin of being comfortable just kept increasing. I am not trying to be bragadocious- just factual that the money you will make will make you forget about the student loans and other financial commitments. You will be able to provide for your family in an even greater way than you do now.

There were several students in my program who had small children. You will feel torn and you will feel like you are missing moments. You will be stressed. Getting through the program is very tough emotionally sometimes, and I've actually never heard anyone say that they really enjoyed their program either. You bond with your classmates, you will have ups and downs, and you will bust your butt and do the best you can working with different personalities all the time in a learning environment. But, I have NEVER heard anyone say it wasn't worth it. When you shadow, ask the CRNAs these questions- ask if they knew anyone who did it with small children and ask how they handled the financial situation.

2) Is CRNA right for you? Again, I've never heard any CRNA say that if they could go back and do it over- they would do something different. CRNA has one of the highest rates of satisfaction as any advanced nursing degree and jobs in general at this pay scale. Is it 100% rainbows and puppies? No, of course not! Sometimes you get obese patients that don't ventilate well, sometimes you have a crashing trauma, sometimes the people you are working with are unreasonable or rude, sometimes you don't get relieved from your shift exactly on time...BUT, is any job easy and fun 100% of the time? I don't know of any that are, and even NP's are hit or miss on their happiness level- sometimes they get the shaft on patient load, rude doctors, difficult patients and patient's families...

Someone above mentioned it being boring...as a CRNA I am rarely bored. It may SOUND boring, "just monitoring someone's vital signs" but you always have a little undercurrent of adrenaline going. It's a common joke in the profession that it's hours of boredom and moments of sheer terror. What keeps it interesting is the vast array of surgical procedures we can anesthetize for, the different types of anesthetics we can administer, thinking about the different modes of drug therapy that would be right for our particular patient at this moment, etc. You are not just sitting behind the drape- you are listening to the audible beep of the heart rate (which tells you how fast the heart is beating and the tone tells you the patient's oxygen saturation), you are constantly treating high and low blood pressures, adjusting depth of anesthesia, and paying attention to the surgical procedure (is something stimulating about to happen? are we losing a lot of blood?), etc.

Again, ask the CRNAs these questions- don't just take my word for it! I think it would be tough to find many CRNAs that would say they regret doing it or that it was a poor financial decision. I think your findings will be proof that you are doing the right thing!

Edited by CRNAGuide2016

I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for sharing your experience. I even showed it to my husband and my dad and it is definitely reassuring. I will shadow again but there is no doubt I will love this profession! Thank you again :)

I think it's a great field. People get caught into the whole salary thing, which is fine, but being a CRNA is not really much about the money, but the passion to do the things you do. Sure, we all need to make a living, and a job that pays well certainly makes us feel better. Many of us are doing quite well as RNs, making a lot more than the average joe. Back at the bedside, I used to bring home more than 150K a year, only working 4 days a week. As an SRNA now, I realized that with anesthesia, you can't just do it for the money, you have to like doing anesthesia for you to survive.

As a bedside nurse, there's quite a lot of responsibilities, but you have other nurses and doctors to help and assist. As a CRNA, you may be on your own with little help, and people expect you to function right off of school. There's a lot more responsible and like every other SRNA and CRNA will tell you on here, if anything happens to your patient...it's always anesthesia's fault.

In the end, do you enjoy doing it? Only shadowing can answer that.... Will loans and being away from family pay off in the future? Yes, but only if you like what you're doing. Keep in mind there's lots of politics within the anesthesia community and that being a CRNA not only means providing anesthesia, but also giving back to the anesthesia community by attending conferences to better ourselves and fight for the profession.

Thanks so much, I needed to hear this as well!

RNDude2012

Specializes in ICU.

It sounds like you are worried about 1) finances and 2) if CRNA is right for you? I'd like to give you my thoughts on both of these...

I think it is normal to worry about finances, especially when you have little ones and you are helping to support family members (that is highly commendable by the way!). Every time I accepted the full amount of the student loan offered, I felt some moments of stress but I kept pushing it away to focus on surviving.

I have been a CRNA for 2.5 years. I have a total of 200K in debt from my out of state undergrad and from my private university I attended for CRNA (I knew what I was getting into when I started this). My take home pay after taxes and after putting aside the max for retirement is about 8k-11k per month depending on how much overtime I felt like working that month. My student loan payment is $1500 (I call it my second mortgage). I still have quite a bit of money leftover to travel, eat at nice restaurants, and buy the things I want (we don't have children so this is what we choose to do). This didn't happen right away. My first few paychecks went right to paying bills and there was one time I even cried to my husband that I was never going to recover from my debt and he just looked at me like I was insane (he's a finance guy and a business owner). But over time, my margin of being comfortable just kept increasing. I am not trying to be bragadocious- just factual that the money you will make will make you forget about the student loans and other financial commitments. You will be able to provide for your family in an even greater way than you do now.

There were several students in my program who had small children. You will feel torn and you will feel like you are missing moments. You will be stressed. Getting through the program is very tough emotionally sometimes, and I've actually never heard anyone say that they really enjoyed their program either. You bond with your classmates, you will have ups and downs, and you will bust your butt and do the best you can working with different personalities all the time in a learning environment. But, I have NEVER heard anyone say it wasn't worth it. When you shadow, ask the CRNAs these questions- ask if they knew anyone who did it with small children and ask how they handled the financial situation.

2) Is CRNA right for you? Again, I've never heard any CRNA say that if they could go back and do it over- they would do something different. CRNA has one of the highest rates of satisfaction as any advanced nursing degree and jobs in general at this pay scale. Is it 100% rainbows and puppies? No, of course not! Sometimes you get obese patients that don't ventilate well, sometimes you have a crashing trauma, sometimes the people you are working with are unreasonable or rude, sometimes you don't get relieved from your shift exactly on time...BUT, is any job easy and fun 100% of the time? I don't know of any that are, and even NP's are hit or miss on their happiness level- sometimes they get the shaft on patient load, rude doctors, difficult patients and patient's families...

Someone above mentioned it being boring...as a CRNA I am rarely bored. It may SOUND boring, "just monitoring someone's vital signs" but you always have a little undercurrent of adrenaline going. It's a common joke in the profession that it's hours of boredom and moments of sheer terror. What keeps it interesting is the vast array of surgical procedures we can anesthetize for, the different types of anesthetics we can administer, thinking about the different modes of drug therapy that would be right for our particular patient at this moment, etc. You are not just sitting behind the drape- you are listening to the audible beep of the heart rate (which tells you how fast the heart is beating and the tone tells you the patient's oxygen saturation), you are constantly treating high and low blood pressures, adjusting depth of anesthesia, and paying attention to the surgical procedure (is something stimulating about to happen? are we losing a lot of blood?), etc.

Again, ask the CRNAs these questions- don't just take my word for it! I think it would be tough to find many CRNAs that would say they regret doing it or that it was a poor financial decision. I think your findings will be proof that you are doing the right thing!

Your post pretty much solidifies my decision to attend anesthesia school. Thanks!

So what did you decide? Curious to hear your experience now. Read your original post and it was as if I just read my own post on having cold feet. I too have two small kids (1 & 4 year old), and am anxious to death over the amount of time I will lose with them, the financial commitment, and whether I would be satisfied with the job and love it down the line. How are you doing with balancing family life and school if you decided to accept?

Hi so I am currently in school still working part time and it's too much so I will be dropping to per diem next month. This semester is mostly online so it's doable but still tough. I still have old feet everyday but it's happening the financial burden is very scary taking out more loans but it will pay off The job will be satisfactory for sure. There is almost no doubt about that. And as far as the mama guilt. It's HUGE and honestly that's the worst part but they are small and don't know any better right now so that makes it better but it will be a constant battle of guilt and terrified of being poor and failing. But all these "fears" I guess are normal. I just bit the bullet and here I am if it's something you really want I say do it. And everything will fall into place. And loans suck but will pay off good luck what are you debating?

I still spend a lot of time wth my family but aslso spend 5-6 hours a day sometimes studying but my family will always be my number one. Which I think it should always be that way