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Premed to CRNA


Hi everyone,

I am two weeks from graduating with a degree in biomedical sciences. My entire undergraduate career I have worked as a medical assistant/scribe under an anesthesiologist who is currently practicing pain management. Since then my dream has always been to become an anesthesiologist. This last semester of college I have been questioning my decision of pursuing medical school for the following reasons:

-I will have to take out loans and will be looking at 150-200k worth of debt after I finish residency.

-I am unsure how I feel about giving up my twenties to pursue medical school. I have realized I would like to start my life and have a family sooner than later.

-I also understand that physicians work crazy hours and if I were to have a family I would like to spend as much time as I could with them.

I have looked into Anesthesiologist Assistant school since it has all the same pre-reqs as medical school, however I feel becoming a CRNA is the better route although it will take me longer to achieve.

I am considering the BSN accelerated option and working for a few years to complete the ICU requirement and also save money to pay for CRNA school. I was wondering how competitive CRNA school is. I have a 3.65 undergraduate GPA taking premed courses. I was wondering if you guys think it is smart to go CRNA, or do you think it would be a waste of time because at this point in my studies AA school would be the must faster option.

Sorry for such a long post but any feedback is much appreciated! Thanks!

I don't think it's a waste of time, however being a nurse and being a doctor are two TOTALLY different things. You need to make sure that nursing is what you want to do.. because you're going to have to do it for at LEAST 2 years and that's if you get into and ICU right out of school, which can sometimes be difficult. You have to ask yourself are you really going to be happy during the 11/2 years going through school and then the 2 years that you're going to have to work as a bedside nurse. CRNA school is extremely competitive and nursing is a hard profession, and the unfortunate truth is that it's a lot of work for little pay. Also, the loans for med school will suck--- but the payout is well worth it, in my opinion, you would make back what you owe within the first year.

I think if your goal is MD, you won't be happy doing something else. Just my opinion.

Many medical residents have families. If that is what you want then have a family. The problem is, 1-1.5 years of accelerated BSN + 1-2 years of ICU nursing + 2-3 years CRNA school depending on the length of your program? At best you're looking at 4 years and at worst/more realistically, 6.5. It would take 7-8 years to become an MDA (4 years med school plus 3 years residency, 4 if you do an intern year). That is really not that much difference in the grand scheme of life, you would meet your ultimate goal, and during the last 3-4 years you would be making at least a modest income as a resident.

Also, many CRNAs come away with $150-200K in loans, and make significantly less than an MDA. Look at tuition at some schools. The two schools closest to me would have cost near $100K just for tuition- then there is living expenses on top of that. I had to relocate very far from home to attend a more affordable school.

CRNA schools are very competitive, yes. I would not recommend AA due to the practice restrictions. You would never be able to function independently, always having to answer to an MDA- especially because you originally desired to BE an MDA, that could get really old.

Anyways, just some things to think about, from a current student CRNA. A quote that kept me motivated during my ICU nursing time: "don't give up your goals because of the time it will take to accomplish them- the time will pass anyway." Applies here, I believe, as well.