A day in the life of a SRNA

  1. Hi All,

    I'm just another one of many contemplating applying to CRNA school. Something that would be extremely helpful to me would be for current SRNA's to give me a snapshot of what your days are like as a SRNA. Worst / best / average, etc. Thanks.
    Last edit by Joe V on Nov 29, '16
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    About rn326

    Joined: May '07; Posts: 1; Likes: 6


  3. by   shandsburnRN-CRNA

    My "day in the life of" will somewhat limited to others than may post since I'm only in my first semester......but here it goes.

    I usually get up around 0600 to be in class by 0700-0800 depending on what day it is. Class usually ends around 1530-1630 (this is Tues-Fri). After class I usually grab a bite to eat and then I'm back in the books around 1800 and I study until midnight sometimes later. When the weekend comes, you got it no rest, I usually study 10-16 hours a day depending how much I need to catch up on and any pending tests. Speaking of tests we usually have two each week.

    In addition to that we start clinical rotations next week and that will fill the Monday that we're not in class. Clincal hours vary slightly but the average is arrival around 0600 and leave to earlier than 1500. Oh and yes there is paperwork involved with clinical also.

    In my program as the semesters move on the didactic hours decrease in the clinical hours increase. Eventually we're at 49 hours a week with on or two 2 credit didactic classes.

    So overall, for me, the life as a SRNA is very busy. The program requires total commitment to your education, but is definately doable. I have several friends who are CRNA's and a few that graduate in May...ALL of them say it is well worth the sacrifice

    Good Luck, hope this helps.....
  4. by   srna44
    Well, let me just say that this is a marathon, not a sprint. An avg day? They vary so greatly depending on what kind of cases you're doing and what rotation you're in. But, just as an FYI, here's what happened today.
    0530- at the hospital, set up room, draw up drugs, check machine
    0630- anesthesia conference
    0730- out of conference, find pt in preop, interview pt, start iv
    0750- get pulled from my cases to move to a different OR... eval pt in
    preop...oh, ****!! It's a fiberoptic intubation that starts at 0800.
    0800- to OR with said pt. Attempt awake nasal fiberoptic intubation multiple times without success. CRNA unsuccessful. MDA finally successful...it took 45 minutes. Case starts...la la la.
    1130- case finished, to PACU. Quick BR break.
    1150- to ICU to transport next pt
    1205- To OR. Next case started. IV's, art lines started
    1330- lunch
    1400- back to OR in time to wake pt up and transport back to ICU.
    1420- to preop. Next pt interviewed, IV started
    1435- to OR. Case started. Pt intubated, turned prone...untangle wires and lines...report off.
    1500- to preop- I have two inpatient cases tomorrow, so I'm off to the units to preop them and then postop a couple of pts from yesterday.
    then after I relax a little while, I have to read for the next day. Eat, bed. Up again.

    I've only got 9 more months to go, so there isn't nearly as much prep reading and studying as I had to do before. Believe me, the first six months of clinicals are especially gruelling!

    I'm sure that I would do it again, but it's definitely a huge investment and not without sacrifice...certainly financial and definitely personal. Make sure this is something you want to do.
  5. by   smille13
    My program is "front-loaded." During the didactic, we had an exam practically every week. Saturdays/Sundays were 8-12 hour study sessions with my buddies. Just started full-time clinical 4 days/wk. Careplans the night before, max of 3. Takes 2-6 hrs. My week begins on Sunday going to the hospital to get my assignment.

    For an in-room time of 0700 am, the CRNA gets there about 0630. It is up to us what time we get there. You just better be prepared, machine check, cart and room setup (drugs, bed set up, monitors, checking the laryngoscope blades, etc.). I get there 0515, unless it is a new rotation (then 0400). CRNA comes and checks in on me. We preop the pt, give some Versed, go back to the room. Monitors on. CRNA calls MDA. In the beginning, for awhile, I would freeze when the MDA came in the room, but now I'm okay. Push some drugs. The MDA starts asking me a bunch of questions to stress me out. (drug doses, airway anatomy, whatever). Intubate the pt. Get all the other stuff on. Start the case. I still need a lot of prompting at this point. The CRNAs know where you are in the program and adjust your autonomy level accordingly. They are starting to force me to make the decisions (how much muscle relaxant do you want to give? how much gas do you want to run?) We emerge the patient, extubate, go to PACU, give report. Go see the next patient.

    We get one 15 min morning break, 30 min lunch, one 15 min afternoon break. Breaks and lunch seem to be sacred to CRNAs, and they keep them pretty sacred for us too. The day ends for me between 1400-1500 when I get the next day's assignment and come home to do careplans. Then I call my CRNA (we are required to), and go to bed. Usually I forget to eat dinner, but it's not that important. My friend asked me what I was giving up for Lent, but I told her I don't have anything to give up!

    Some CRNAs ask a million questions. One asks you to draw chemical structures of drugs. And you get Quizzies (the average score is a 20 I think). Then you get homework. But he is a really good CRNA and lets you use different drugs on every patient to get experience. Some don't ask you anything at all (and I actually feel cheated).The weekends are for studying for oral boards or for brushing up on stuff you will be pimped out on in clinical. And sleeping in.

    Someone asked me what is the hardest part. It isn't the didactic or the clinical. It's the emotional toll this takes on you. You go from being a clinical expert to not even being able to put freaking EKG pads on right. You can't clip the drapes right, put the BP cuff on right, start an IV correctly, label your syringes the correct way, your pen doesn't write fine enough, and on and on. And at the end of the day, someone grades you on a scale of 1 to 5 for various parts of your day. And 6 mo ago you were the one doing compressions on this person's 6 mo old baby after she had her Tetralogy of Fallot repair.

    CRNAs are a tough bunch. I think it is a rite of passage. You will essentially be an intensivist when you are done. When you make an anesthetic decision, no detail about the patient is too small. I guess that's why they are so meticulous with us. But the bottom line is that I haven't met a single CRNA who doesn't say they love their job. So if you think it is for you, find peace with the fact that while you are in school you will not be the smartest person around anymore, you will be wrong most of the time, and every single day you will be told a different way of doing the same thing. If you are one of those people who buck authority, hate to be wrong, and tend to be very verbal and confrontational, you are going to have a very hard time, at least in the beginning. Trust me I know. But they all say it is worth it.
  6. by   crnahopeful2011
    Great info everyone, Thanks!!!
  7. by   CVICURN80
    Thanks guys for the realistic picture of school. I will be starting a program in May of 2008. I think i'm going to go throw up now...LOL
    better get my script for ativan, eh?
  8. by   rnbeauty
    My day s a SRNA starts like this.

    Sunday night I go to the hospital and make a copy of the OR schedule. Go home research the cases and prepare a care plan. A care plan is basically what it sounds like....Choosing the anesthestic plan for your patients with rationales and treatments for any potential complications. As one previous poster stated about oral boards and getting to the hospital at 4am.....it's no way we do all of that.

    0515am- alarm goes off, hit snooze once, than in the shower
    0550- out the door and walking across the street to get to hospital. ( I am lucky to be at a facilty that offers free housing, gym and meals, therefore I can get to clinical literally in a ten step walk)
    0555- changing into scrubs
    0600-to pyxis to obtain narc boxes for my cases for the day
    0605-room set up ( draw my meds, check machine, prepare monitors, stock my IVF, ect)
    0640- as you can see i am slow with my preparation, it still takes me about 30-35min ( just started my first set of clinicals last month)
    0645- discussing with my crna and anesthesilogist my plans for the day. some and most days are awesome but some a very grueling...depending on your doc. Some will grill you on everything but most are very laid back and cool. Many are easy to learn from and actaully love teaching.
    0715- start interviewing patients, revewing chart and start my day. My day is usually over about 3pm
    1530- relax and wait for OPRAH TO COME ON AT 4PMI have to relax a little or I WILL GO NUTS
    1700PM- TAKE NAP
    1800-prepare for the next day of cases until about 9pm...depending on the cases.
    2200- study until 2300pm
    12 midnite - go to sleep

    on weekends i study ALL day with about 3-4 breaks in between. I may get on line, go running, talk on phone...but i get away from the books for a while. Usally about 10-12 hours of studying on weekends. Days that I have no clinicals but class the following day, I study about 2-3 hrs. I never go a day without studying something......I lied. Sometimes I do, usually after a big exam I will take that day off from studying and relax.

    Hope that helps.
  9. by   candiceena
    You guys have all been incredibly helpful to those of us who are CRNA hopefuls. Thanks so much!
  10. by   BamaCRNA2B
    Final exam preparation:

    7:00 am-- Wake up and get in the shower
    8:00 am-- To the library with breakfast on the go
    Noon-- 30-45 minute lunch break
    12:30-12:45 pm-- Back in the library
    7:00 pm-- Dinner break
    8:00 pm-- Library
    2:00 am-- Leave library
    3:00 am-- Go to sleep

    7:00 am-- Start over again!

    You will wonder if you will make it through. But after finals are over and you did well, you will see the pay off.

    Good Luck!
  11. by   hell000nurse
    this is one of the bests posts ive read. its a lot of fun and very insightful (and scary?) to hear how peoples lives REALLY are while theyre in school.
  12. by   starae
    Average clinical day
    0415 - wake up cranky, hit snooze a couple times and stare at the TV news people because it's nice to know I'm not the only one up this early
    0500 - head to hospital (and I'm one of the later ones, many classmates already there)
    0520 - have changed and head up to OR to set up room and pray I don't have any major issues or to hunt for everything I will need. Mentally prepare for first induction
    0600 - please let my first patient be in pre-op so I can start interview & IV (but they are probably running late) tap my foot and pace if they are not there yet while BP rises and nerves are firing up
    0630 - hopefully have finished with the patient so I can have an intelligent discussion with CRNA. If so day starts off well, if not feel like a slacker
    0715 - off to OR to start the fun. Boy I hope I remembered everything I needed in that room. Why do I always forget to check for the PNS?
    1300 or 1500 - off to class depending on the day and lasts until 1600 or 1830. Go to gym if class ended at 1600 to work off all that nervous energy
    1. Prepare care plans for next day -1-3 hours depending on the cases. May have to go back to hospital if the patients are inpatients or to see patients from the previous day
    2. Eat something not too unhealthy but most likely cereal because I have no time to go to the store. And friends milk is often expired or empty
    3. Study because I probably have 2 tests or quizzes that week
    4. Read up again on any special techniques or procedures for the next day
    5. Shower and get to bed - always plan on 10pm, but usually around 11 +
    6. Stare at the ceiling and wake several time a night from nerves. Check the alarm clocks 2-3 times to make sure they are set for 4:15am

    Oh what a fun life!
    Wouldn't trade it right now!
  13. by   FLAreN
    OK...this is my day in the life with a husband and 2 kids (toddler and infant...for those of you with a family):

    Clinical day:

    Wake up at 0130 - because my infant is my natural alarm clock and he
    is letting me know he wants to eat

    0200 - 0400- do my careplan for my case and read if there is time
    0400 -0430 - prepare bottles / clothes for the kids
    0430-0500 - get dressed and packed for clinical (calculator, fine-tip sharpie, ezekial drug book, palm pilot, M&M book, clip board, 3 pens, stethoscope, nurse anesthesia pocket guide, lunch, anesthesia secrets book, oh yeah and my brain)

    0500-0501 - kiss the family
    0501 - 0510 - finally gather my things and get downstairs to start my drive
    0510 - 0530 - drive to site & pray for a good day and for me and my family
    0530 - 0540 - get to site and walk to OR
    0540 - 0630 - check my machine + circuit, draw up my drugs and prepapre syringes (INDUCTION - fentanyl, versed, lidocaine, rocuronium and/or vecuronium, propofol, succinylcholine REVERSAL - neostigmine+glycopyrrolate OTHER - atropine, ephedrine, neosynephrine), arrange my leads, check monitor settings / alarms, check suction, get blanket and 'pillow' arranged to ensure proper sniffing position, get intubating gear that I will use and may need (MAC 3, MILLER 2, handle, OG, BIS, lube, alcoholol wipe, 4x4, 7.0 & 7.5 cuffed tube with syringe and stylet - tested - , LMA 4 with syringe, esophageal temp probe or skin thermometer, oral and nasal airway, tongue blades)
    0630-0700 - preop my patient and any others that haven;t been preoped
    0700-0715 - go back and rearrange setup for patient and anesthesia type (General with tube or LMA or MAC)
    0715 - 0730 - wait for surgeon to arrive in preop holding and take patient in with circulator
    0730-0740 - apply monitors, preoxygenate and begin induction, start antibitiotics if ordered
    0740 -0745 - make sure patient is breathing or on vent, turn on gases, do a sweep, secure tube and place all other items on patient if wanted / needed (BIS, temp, OG)
    0745 - 0800 - case starts
    0800-0845 - case ends
    0845-0855 - patient wakes and is transported to PACU
    0855 - 0905 - endure sarcastic remarks and eye-rolls from PACU nurse for whatever reason (OK so you forget to HELP them place the pulse ox because you are trying to recover from being yelled at in the room), give report, final charting and chart / billing check, place papers in appropriate box
    0905-0915 - goto preop and check for patient and do history
    0915 - 0920 - RUN back to room and change circuit, draw drug that you need, prepare setup
    0920 - RUN back to preop and take patient back to OR with circulator

    THIS pretty much is the day until 1730

    You get a 30 min lunch, do preops on inpatients if your cases are done before 1730 and if your cases arent done by 1730 then you stay

    1730 - 1830 - pick up the kids if hubby cant, pick up food (hopefully something healthy)
    1830-2000 - shower, make sure kids and hubby eat and kids bathed and ready for bed (NOTE: dinner is a luxury for you)
    2000-2130 - put kids to bed
    2200- you finally get to sleep
    0200 - start clinical day again

    Studying is done interim and class days are from 0700 to 1800

    Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!
  14. by   candiceena
    Do you ever sleep? LOL