Journey to CRNA

  1. Hello guys! I am new to this forum

    I am calling out all the CRNA students because I have a question.
    I am planning on becoming a crna because I've always wanted and knew I was going into the medical field, and, the anesthesia field just intrigues me a lot.

    My planned path is to get an associates in nursing and take the NCLEX-RN. Then Im planning to work part time and go to school for my BSN full time. I was looking at Franklin University to do online BSN degree. Is this something you guys would recommend?

    After getting my BSN, I was going to try and work in the ICU or volunteer as well as shadow a crna (I've read from posts here that shadowing is not required but always a good idea, which I agree).

    Following that BSN, i planned on going to Pittsburgh, Drexel, or UMD to get a DNP.
    THIS IS WHERE I GET CONFUSED.
    is me getting a DNP necessary? Can I apply to crna schools with just my BSN?


    Would it be easier and would it reduce my workload for crna program if I get my MSN first and then apply to the program?

    Please help! I am trying to figure out the easiest (i know it wont be easy but im trying to weed out unnecessary classes) and cheapest way to become a CRNA.
  2. Visit ARODtheCRNA2b profile page

    About ARODtheCRNA2b

    Joined: Sep '18; Posts: 18; Likes: 3

    18 Comments

  3. by   ICUman
    CRNA programs are transitioning to the Doctorate level only, by 2022. If you aren't in a Master's anesthesia program by then, they're gone.
    After your ADN, apply as a new grad in the ICU. That will be a shortcut.

    Some people get their MSN first before anesthesia school but that isn't necessary and it's more time consuming.
  4. by   loveanesthesia
    Yes, most people startthe DN(A)P programs with a bachelors degree.
  5. by   m1lkofamnesia
    Since you don't have your RN yet, you'll have to do a DNP program. As stated above...2022...only a little over 3 years away.
  6. by   Shanimal
    Quote from ARODtheCRNA2b
    Hello guys! I am new to this forum

    My planned path is to get an associates in nursing and take the NCLEX-RN. Then Im planning to work part time and go to school for my BSN full time. I was looking at Franklin University to do online BSN degree. Is this something you guys would recommend?

    After getting my BSN, I was going to try and work in the ICU or volunteer as well as shadow a crna (I've read from posts here that shadowing is not required but always a good idea, which I agree).

    Following that BSN, i planned on going to Pittsburgh, Drexel, or UMD to get a DNP.
    THIS IS WHERE I GET CONFUSED.
    is me getting a DNP necessary? Can I apply to crna schools with just my BSN?


    Would it be easier and would it reduce my workload for crna program if I get my MSN first and then apply to the program?

    Please help! I am trying to figure out the easiest (i know it wont be easy but im trying to weed out unnecessary classes) and cheapest way to become a CRNA.
    I don't know anything about Franklin University so I can't recommend that program specifically, but there's nothing wrong with doing an ADN first and then completing your BSN while you're working. That's how I did it because it was the best choice for my situation financially and otherwise, although it took longer for me to earn the BSN than if I'd taken the BSN-only route. However, I was able to start accruing the critical experience needed for nurse anesthesia school while earning my BSN and had my employer reimburse me for some of the expense, so there's that.

    You should DEFINITELY shadow a CRNA before you apply to or interview at a nurse anesthesia school. It's almost always a given that you'll be asked about your shadowing experiences in some way or another when you apply, whether it's in the application itself and/or during the admission interview. It's such a simple thing to do and it demonstrates that you have at least some idea of what you're getting into, so I really don't understand why some applicants DON'T do it. I know of several instances that otherwise strong candidates were denied admission for no other reason than they did not shadow a CRNA.

    OK, now to clear up your confusion. By the time you apply, all accredited nurse anesthesia schools will be required to award a DOCTORAL level degree (it can be either a DNP or DNAP, but both prepare you to be a doctorally-trained nurse anesthetist). You only need a BSN to APPLY to the program (although some programs will accept non-BSN RNs with a bachelor's degree in another field). You do NOT need an MSN or DNP/DNAP to apply.

    It's very, very unlikely you would reduce your workload much (if at all) by earning an MSN first. Most courses in a nurse anesthesia programs are very specific to the specialty and you won't be able to take them unless you're already enrolled in the program. Additionally, graduate programs in general limit the number of courses that can be transferred in (and in some cases, do not allow ANY graduate credits to be transferred in). A graduate-level course or two, especially a relevant science-based one, can look really good on an application for nurse anesthesia school. As long as you earn an excellent grade, it demonstrates that you're capable of performing well in graduate-level courses. Just don't expect that course to necessarily reduce your nurse anesthesia courseload requirements. So do yourself a favor and skip the MSN (and all the time and money that goes into it).

    Hope that helps some.
  7. by   Spadeforce
    make sure you actually know and like what CRNAs do before pursuing nursing with the direct end goal of CRNA. It is always likely that one would end up in bedside nursing perm somewhere along the line. There is no shortcut. No matter what, the path to CRNA will include some time as a bedside nurse
  8. by   ARODtheCRNA2b
    Hi Shanimal! Thank you so much for you advice! It definitely cleared up my confusion. I will for sure shadow a CRNA when I get a chance. As far as the DNP, I don't THINK I will need it since I will be done with my ADN winter 2019. As far as workload, I guess thinking my workload would be lightened was a fantasy. But your advice cleared up my path. Thank you! I know I haven't even finished my ADN yet, but, I am someone whole likes to plan for every scenario so I have a clear idea of my next few years, education wise. AGAIN, THANKS A BUNCH! I am trying not to get too excited so early but I am truly passionate about my career choice. I guess will see if i'm built for it once my crna program starts I've heard gruesome but amazing things about them.
  9. by   ARODtheCRNA2b
    Do you think so? l have my ADN winter 2019. After I take the NCLEX-RN, I plan on working part-time and focus full time on my studies so Im giving it 2.5 years to finish my BSN, which i think will be cutting it close to 2022 but it wont be 2022. As far as experience, I plan on getting that covered by either taking @ICUMAN's advice and apply for ICU position straight out or just volunteering while I work as an RN.
  10. by   ARODtheCRNA2b
    Quote from Spadeforce
    make sure you actually know and like what CRNAs do before pursuing nursing with the direct end goal of CRNA. It is always likely that one would end up in bedside nursing perm somewhere along the line. There is no shortcut. No matter what, the path to CRNA will include some time as a bedside nurse
    I know this isn't exactly the same as actually shadowing and seeing it in action but I've read countless of blogs, articles and watched vlogs from CRNA's based on their day-to-day life and I am quite fascinated by it. I want something that is going to challenge me and includes problem solving and critical thinking, etc. And if I have to be a bedside nurse for some time, that's okay. I am passionate about helping people so I don't really mind. Good things come from hard work and long hours put in.
  11. by   Al_R
    Hey! I'm also an A-Rod and interested in becoming a CRNA in the future lol. Not to hijack the thread, but when is it recommended to shadow/how would you go about that?
  12. by   ARODtheCRNA2b
    Quote from Al_R
    Hey! I'm also an A-Rod and interested in becoming a CRNA in the future lol. Not to hijack the thread, but when is it recommended to shadow/how would you go about that?
    Since I haven't really began any nursing classes just yet (still on my gens), I can't answer that for you. I used to want to be an anesthesiologist but I decided it was going to be too much for me so im going for CRNA. During my research for anesthesiology, I was introduced to an anesthesiologist and I was hooked up with a shadow opportunity. Only bad part was, I was not 18 (maybe it was that specific practice). So I believe you can do it whenever, BUT, I think it would be smartest to do once you're halfway-towards the end of your BSN. That's my plan thus far.
  13. by   Shanimal
    Quote from ARODtheCRNA2b
    I plan on working part-time and focus full time on my studies so Im giving it 2.5 years to finish my BSN, which i think will be cutting it close to 2022 but it wont be 2022. As far as experience, I plan on getting that covered by either taking @ICUMAN's advice and apply for ICU position straight out or just volunteering while I work as an RN.
    You may need to reverse your work/BSN study plan there. New grad acute care jobs (i.e., in a hospital) almost always require full-time employment, and for very good reasons. There's a saying that goes something like, "you go to nursing school to pass the NCLEX, but you don't learn how to be a nurse until you start working as one." Nursing school barely scratches the surface of what you need to know. So don't think of the ICU experience as something to just check off a list. That experience teaches you not only how to be a nurse, but how to be a critical care nurse.

    Also, you need at least 1 year of full-time equivalent critical care experience in an acute care setting to apply to nurse anesthesia school (many schools require more than 1 year, and you definitely need more than 1 year to be a competitive applicant). Even in the very unlikely event you were able to secure a part-time ICU job as a new grad, you'd have to work for close to 2 years or more to meet the absolute minimum experience.

    Another reason not to rush the ICU experience: the train has already left the station. The vast majority of nurse anesthesia schools will already be transitioned to a DNP/DNAP degree program before you apply, even if it's before the "cut-off." A doctoral program is 3 years vs. 2-2.5 years for a master's, so the time commitment isn't really that more significant in my opinion.

    Part-time school is doable while working full-time as a new grad but requires focus. I'd recommend working at least 3 months before starting an RN-BSN program. As a new grad there is so much to learn--you'll come home too exhausted to do anything other than go to bed more days than not. I sense your excitement, but don't rush this stuff. Focus on being a strong critical care nurse first--it's the foundation for everything else that comes after.
  14. by   Shanimal
    Quote from ARODtheCRNA2b
    Since I haven't really began any nursing classes just yet (still on my gens), I can't answer that for you. I used to want to be an anesthesiologist but I decided it was going to be too much for me so im going for CRNA.
    Oh dear, this concerns me. While anesthesiologists and CRNAs have different pathways to becoming anesthesia providers, they both are trained to provide anesthesia the same way and both are trained to be independent providers.

    With that understanding, I don't see what is "too much" about becoming an anesthesiologist but not a CRNA, other than a lack of knowledge about what goes into CRNA education and training. My apologies if I misunderstood your statement.

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