Preparing for Nurse Anesthesia School
If you are like me then you will have probably been out of college for a few years by the time you get into Nurse Anesthesia school. This can make it hard to transition back into the lifestyle of a student. Being back in school comes with unique challenges, especially when you are pursing a degree plan that is as tedious and time consuming as nurse anesthesia. Most of you probably have families or are at least in a serious relationship or married. There is nothing you can say to your spouse that is going to prepare them for this difficult journey until you are in the middle of it. I remember talking with some classmates one day, and a few of them were saying that their wives asked them “Do other classmates have to study this much?” or “Are you finished with the computer? I want to watch Netflix” Haha.
This is a very tough road. Tight finances, little to no social life, missing out on important events because you are on call, mental and physical exhaustion, spending more time with your classmates than your spouse and family, etc. etc. Having said that nurse anesthesia school is only 28 or so months and well worth it. After you gain admission into CRNA school, it is important to talk with your family about this prior to starting the nurse anesthetist program. You don’t want it to be a shock when they find out how much time you will be focusing on school.
Managing Your Time in CRNA School
The hardest part for me in CRNA school was time management and saying no to my friends when they wanted to go eat or hang out. It was fairly lax the first summer, because all I did was go to class, have Fridays off, and study some on the weekends. The second semester in nurse anesthetist school was when clinical started. I was up at 4 am, and we’d have clinical till 11 am, then class till 4 or 5 in the afternoon on most days. I’d get home around 5:30 and stay up till 10:30 studying. Our third semester was the worst for me. We started taking call, working weekends, had clinical all day, plus 3 difficult anesthesia classes. One week I might work a 7 to 3, (but I’d get there at 5 am to set up for the day), an 11 to 7 shift, a call shift (3 pm till 0700 am the next morning), be off a couple days, then work two 12 hr shifts on the weekend. As the program progressed our responsibilities would grow as well. You can probably guess how exhausted I was.
How Hard is CRNA School
Honestly, some days I’d be so frustrated and hard on myself I’d want to cry and just quit. After a short pity party I’d have to remind myself that I’m not a quitter, and I’m in so much debt I’ll never pay it back on an RN salary. Trust me that alone is a big motivator to graduate CRNA school! Haha. Nurse anesthesia school is like a rollercoaster… it gets better, then it sucks again, then it slowly starts to get better. To unwind a little after tests we’d often go out for drinks as a class minus the ones who were on call of course. When I first started to intubate patients, I had a poor technique, insufficient arm strength, and I’d crank back on the teeth. It was terrible, but then I eventually got the hang of it.
The same thing happened with inserting arterial lines. I felt everyone was hitting them except me. It just takes practice and a few good preceptors who are patient and willing to teach new techniques. These are the CRNAs who will give you the confidence that you can do this. Not every CRNA is patient or good at teaching. Some just thrive off of making students look stupid. That’s just the way it is, and you just gotta suck it up and roll with it. You learn pretty quick which CRNAs you like to be with, and which ones to stay away from.
Gaining admission into CRNA school is only half the battle. Once school starts you will be faced with a whole new set of challenges. If you stay motivated, have a strong work ethic, and can manage your stress, then you will do just fine. I have many more blog posts coming, so stay tuned for more insight into the life of a CRNA student.
J. Bentley RRNA
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Get Into CRNA School This Year
If this student blog has sparked an interest in becoming a nurse anesthetist, then please checkout our CRNA School Admissions: The Cold Hard Facts. It answers common questions like, “How to get admission into nurse anesthesia school?” “How hard is CRNA school?” and “How to ace the anesthesia interview?” We will cover how to write personal essays, pick a school, attain important certifications such as the CCRN, job shadowing CRNAs, and how to make a professional application that you will be confident sending off to any CRNA school. Our CRNAs are also available to answer any questions that you may have along the way. Get into CRNA school this year by using strategies that current CRNA students used to get accepted into some of the top nurse anesthesia programs in the country. If you would like more information please don’t hesitate to contact us through our website.