So this is posted in a student forum (SRNA
, student registered nurse anesthetist). For specifics about being a CRNA, you can look at the CRNA forum; there are a lot of great posts already on there answering some of the questions you asked about stress.
Just to clarify, CRNA is a graduate degree, meaning you first have to have a Bachelors. As of right now it can be a masters degree but by 2020 all the schools will require it to be a doctorate. It isn't something you can do right out of high school.
Here is the timeline:
Bachelors in Nursing: 4 years
ICU experience as an RN: 1 year required to apply for CRNA school (typically 2-5 because it just takes that long to get the experience, CCRN certification, and all your ducks in a row)
CRNA School: 3 years minimum for your doctorate (since you are in high school now, you won't have the masters option which is 2 years minimum)
So start to finish from high school is at least 8 years. When you've heard shorter timelines, they are referring to people who already have their bachelors. Most people don't start thinking about CRNA out of high school.
Remember that during this time you will graduate as an RN, have a great career as an RN and have other opportunities such as nurse practitioner if you decide CRNA is not for you.
As for the job/stress questions you asked, I am an ICU RN applying to CRNA school so I can't speak for CRNAs. As an ICU RN, I can say that yes, it is very stressful but yes, it does get better. The more experience and confidence you gain, the better and more routine everything gets. Some of us actually enjoy the pressure and the stress at times. When you are properly trained, it can be very exciting to have a patient crashing and be able to make a difference in their lives. That all comes with time though. Also, all CRNAs I have worked with say that 99% of the time, their job is far less stressful than when they were an ICU RN.
You're young and have no education in healthcare right now and no experience so of course it is all going to sound super crazy and stressful right now, but once you have a strong education and quality training, you absolutely can be comfortable. The job is certainly not for everyone but it is really hard to tell who will love it and who will not be able to overcome the pressure without having some experience. If you absolutely love healthcare and want to be on the front lines, I think you should go for it. A majority of the people who go for it, can handle it and actually find the pressure to be exciting.
Overall just remember that you are soooo far away from even applying to CRNA school (at least 5 years) so don't focus too much on deciding the rest of your life right now. Do you want to be a nurse? Do you want a career in healthcare? Why CRNA? I'm just curious why you're thinking about graduate school when you haven't finished college. You have a lot of time before you have to make any decisions about even your major.