Lost Pre-Med Student: CRNA or AA?

  1. Hey there! Lost pre-med student here. I recently had a change of heart and I need some god-honest advice. Thank you for your patience in advance - I'll probably vent a little.

    I just graduated with a BS in Biology and a pre-med minor. The reason why studied Biology/Pre-Med was because I was planning on studying Veterinary Medicine, but after participating in 2 summer internships and gathering aprox. 1,000 hours in clinical experience, I realized the Veterinary profession didn't satisfy me. The clients didn't listen, the patients wouldn't get better, there was no teamwork, and I just felt incredibly drained at the end of the day. I base my life in compassion, empathy, service, and dedication, so I already knew I wanted to study/work in Health Sciences or Medicine.

    After realizing this, my life came to a complete stand-still. Last year, in the middle of it all, my father got diverticulitis, and the inflammation got so bad they had to surgically remove more than 3 feet of intestine. I honestly thought I was going to lose him because his colon was close to bursting and septicemia was a big risk. The day of the surgery I met a very nice nurse that helped me understand that my father was going to be alright. She was the CRNA in charge of overseeing my father before, during and after the surgery. I began asking questions (bad habit of mine) and she explained the procedure to me while asking my father how he felt, etc. I immediately took a liking to her - our personalities were quite similar, she paid attention to detail, and she was very throughout with whatever she was doing. After my fathers surgery I began researching this profession.

    My research came to a halt when I found out that you had to have a BSN to become a CRNA. At that time, I was only a semester away from acquiring my BS in Biology/Pre-Med minor, and I decided to just finish it and not change departments. I also found another anesthesia profession: Anesthesiologist Assistant. For this one, you need all the pre-med classes required for Med School (check!), take the GRE (I'm already scheduled to take this one in August) or MCAT, and gather clinical hours with either an Anesthesiologist or Anesthetist (CRNA or AA). Truth is, even if the AA profession suits me better because I already have half of the requirements, there are some details I'm not sure about - for example, needing to be overseen by an Anesthesiologist (no autonomy), not being able to practice in all states (including PR, where I'm from), and receiving a lower salary for having the same responsibilities of a CRNA. These are making me feel unsure about the profession being worth it.

    On the other hand, to become a CRNA, I would completely lose everything I've worked for for the past 4-5 years. My 3.8 GPA was not easy to obtain, and those OChem, BioChem, Physics, Calculus, Adv. Micro, Embryo, Physio, Cell/Molecular Bio classes were definitely a pain in the a**. I already spoke to an adviser on our nursing department, and she told me that since I already have all those classes I'm allowed to skip first year of nursing school (they would validate them). That would leave me with 3 years of nursing school to complete a BSN (which would be my second degree), 1-2 years of experience as a RN, and then I could apply for CRNA school. Also, I don't receive any federal help. I worked as a private tutor and professor/laboratory assistant to pay for my studies. I don't know if I'm willing to do it again for 3 more years.

    I don't know if I can get over the disadvantages that come with being an AA, but I'm also not willing to lose what I've gained in the last 4 years and suffer through 3 + 2 more years of it to become a CRNA, even if I'm just 23 years old...

    PD. No, I don't want to go to Med School. Over-saturated profession, too much suffering for a common salary, plus a 400K life debt.

    Told you guys I might vent a little. Thank you for reading my post and I'm incredibly grateful to all of you that help me with your advice! Be honest!
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  2. Visit MementoMori profile page

    About MementoMori

    Joined: Jun '18; Posts: 5; Likes: 1

    9 Comments

  3. by   m1lkofamnesia
    You don't need 3 years to get a BSN. Look at accelerated nursing programs: 1 year and you have your RN. I say CRNA so you can practice anywhere in the USA.
  4. by   jj224
    Accelerated BSN, 2 years ICU, and your strong science background will make you a shoe-in..

    Don't become an assistant.

    Also, you mentioned that physicians make a common salary. I'm not going to convince you one way or another, but anesthesiologists make 350-400k per year, not common at all.
  5. by   loveanesthesia
    CRNA - AA opportunities will become more limited as cost tightening increases while CRNA opportunities are expanding. You're ideal for the accelerated BSN. And the nursing experience is key to providing you the clinical basis to become the professional you admired.
  6. by   Future1Intub8er1995
    If youre looking for AA encouragement/promotion. #WrongMessageBoard
  7. by   MementoMori
    m1lkofamnesia - Hi! I deeply apologize for the late response.

    Thank you for mentioning the accelarated BSN program, as I had no knowledge of it prior to your response. I searched for ABSNs in PR and, sadly, there are none. Luckily, the same university where I just graduated from has a nursing school. I spoke with an adviser this week and she told me that I could finish it within the next 2 years. I would have preferred finishing it in 12-15 months, but this is the best I could find.

    I'll be starting my second degree this fall and want to thank you for taking a bit of your time and responding to my post. It helped me greatly, and I'm really looking forward to this new beggining. Even if I end up finishing the DNPA program when I'm 30 yo, it's still better than limiting myself by choosing a quicker path. Again, thank you!
    Last edit by MementoMori on Jun 28
  8. by   MementoMori
    jj224 - Hi! I deeply apologize for the late response.

    Thank you for mentioning the accelarated BSN program, as I had no knowledge of it prior to your response. I searched for ABSNs in PR and, sadly, there are none. Luckily, the same university where I just graduated from has a nursing school. I spoke with an adviser this week and she told me that I could finish it within the next 2 years. I would have preferred finishing it in 12-15 months, but this is the best I could find.

    It's also a relief that my first degree won't be lost as I noticed that some CRNA programs require Orgo I or II and BioChem. I also want to mention that telling me not to become an assistant made me realize that I certainly don't want to be one. I'm quite independent, and having to be overseen by someone just screams cero trust in my abilities.

    Oh, and I'm very sorry for not being specific. When I mentioned "common salary" I was referring to general physicians with no residency. Sorry!

    Thank you again for taking a bit of your time to respond to my post and giving me that little push I needed. I'll be starting my BSN this fall thanks to you guys, and I'm looking forward to it!
    Last edit by MementoMori on Jun 28
  9. by   MementoMori
    Quote from Future1Intub8er1995
    If youre looking for AA encouragement/promotion. #WrongMessageBoard
    No one here promoting one or the other, just needing honest advice about 2 health professions - but thank you for the unnecessary input!
  10. by   MementoMori
    loveanesthesia - Thank you for your response!

    I decided to go for the BSN even if it took me 2 years (no ABSNs in PR). Again, I really want to thank you guys for helping me, as I had no previous knowledge of these programs. And I completely agree about the nursing experience since I realized some time ago that I find my true self when I care for others, even if it's an incredibly sacrificed profession. Good things come from self-sacrifice, and I'll make sure I get there even if it takes me longer than expected. Thank you for your time!
  11. by   forevernursem
    Look into ABSN programs. One good thing about nursing is that they're SO many opportunities. Even after becoming a nurse, you might find that a CRNA is not what interests you anymore, and may go into a different nursing direction. It's your life, and it's important to get a degree and find a job that you would love to go to everyday.
    Remember, your education is a journey, not a race. Find what interests you and go for it, even if it might take you a few extra years.

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