How Old is TOO OLD to Become an Anesthetist?



I am over 50, and just started working as an OR RN in a busy teaching hospital. I realize now that I am much more drawn toward the goal of becoming a CRNA. My concern is this..... I will be 55-56 by the time I will have completed all my prerequisites. I 'm healthy,and energetic, . I'm a diploma RN , with excellent grades, in addition 3 years of college, with very good grades. I plan to get adult ICU experience, and do an RNbridge MSN ( I was advised it wasn't that much more time) , or BSN'

I am naturally more drawn to the science and technological skills of the nurse anesthetist.

I would greatly appreciate your input, as time is of the essence!

Thank you,

Over Fifty n' Fabulous


56 Posts

Hey, I am 49 energetic and will be going to TCU this fall. I spoke with a CRNA once because I was worried about it also and she said the average age in CA was 45 when she attended. If you have the desire to go I would say go for it. I was also concerned about age and I don't know how many people said you will be 51 any way whether you go to school and graduate or not so why not go. One thing my husband and I did was sit down and way the pros and cons what it would cost, wages lost, how long it would take to recoup my losses and how much I would be in debt. I hope this helps. Glenda


145 Posts

Go for it if that's what your heart desires! I am graduating this year, and I have met many students in their 40s and 50s through my own program, in clinicals, and at the state and national meetings. There are more of these "vintage students" than you might think! They seem to bring a level of maturity and wisdom to this whole process that the younger folks often lack. With the exception of possibly being away from school longer than younger students (thus, study skills may be a bit rusty), they seem to do just fine academically. It really is about what you want and your level of determination to get there!

One thing I will say, though. You may want to think long and hard about the impact that school will have on your quality of life. I was a nurse for 10 years, and was accustomed to a certain amount of income and free time to pursue hobbies, spend time with family, travel, etc. To say that those activities have been reduced tremendously is an understatement. Take the time to really weigh the pros/cons of attaining this goal, considering that you will be near/at 60 by the time you graduate and begin practicing. Here are some thoughts:

1. Being a CRNA is still a physical job. You are moving patients around, standing on your feet for long periods of time, and you can be really hustling if you have a very busy schedule with several cases in one day. Of course, you could teach, too, so that is another option. I think some of the practicing CRNAs on this board are mature, so perhaps they can tell you how they are managing.

2. CRNA education is expensive when you consider wages lost from RN work, cost of prerequisite coursework, cost of application, and costs of tuition and associated expenses of clinical. I exceeded my budget for school last year by more than a couple thousand dollars due to extraneous expenses I hadn't considered - copying, required texts, travel to clinical and meetings, gas. Even if the school you are considering is a bargain tuition-wise, it is still an expensive endeavor on the whole.

3. I said it above, but it bears repeating. CRNA programs will consume your life for two and a half to three years. In the end, I think most students will agree that it is worth the investment. On the other hand, think about how you and your family will deal with your emotional and physical distraction for that time period. Your schooling is something that you cannot take a break from - there is no emotional relief, because even when you are on a break, there is still something to be done, like studying for the next exam, prepping for clinicals, etc. You are very tired, emotionally and physically, for a long time. Some programs are worse than others in this aspect, of course!

Good luck with whatever you decide!

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