This blog post will detail my 3 years of CRNA schooling. I will point out the most important aspects of each year, and what to focus on in order to help the new Student Nurse Anesthesia student (SRNA) successfully complete the DMPNA program.
Keep in mind that the content of this blog is just my opinions and my personal experiences I had during CRNA school. Not all of my strategies will work for everyone, but I aim to give SRNAs and future SRNAs a bit if help as they read what worked for me.
Training consisted of mostly classroom study with a small amount clinical training in the training lab and hospital during the first year. I considered the first year to be the hardest due mostly to the stress of restarting school, being in a new environment with new people, and generally being stressed out to the max.
Year 1 is where you decide if the CRNA career is right for you. Stick it out for the duration of the first year and you know you can make it. The best strategy for me as a 1st year SRNA was to focus on one day at a time, achieving one small goal before moving to the next. Sure, the one main goal is to graduate and become a CRNA, obviously, but that goal cannot be realized until year 3…
Second year, clinicals ramp up considerably, but so do the tests. Class work and clinic start competing for your time equally now. This year was the toughest mentally and physically for me, you are essentially working full time in the operating room along with a full load of class work each week.
During this time you must learn how to manage your time wisely, or face mental and/or physical overload. Sleep is vitally important in year 2, having a new born baby at this time isn’t advised… my wife and I may have not followed this advice. Read my previous post to see how that went.
All CRNA schools are phasing to a doctorate program from a masters program by year 2025, as ordered by the Nurse Anesthesia COA (council on accreditation). Many CRNA programs have already been producing PhD graduates for years, like the school I attended. So instead of graduating in 2.5 years as a Master in Nurse Anesthesia, Doctorate graduates are required to spend an extra half year completing a research project.
By year 3 clinicals and research become your life. While there is still some classroom work, it is much lighter than the first 2 years. Clinically, this year you begin to become proficient in the technical skills of a CRNA. These include: Intubation, spinal and epidural placement, arterial and central line placement, regional blocks, and more.
The goal for most of my class was to complete our research and presentation of our project before the holiday break. Once completed with the research you are free to coast through the last half of year 3… I’m joking of course. The last half year of Anesthesia School is probably the most important time period of all, you must use this time wisely.
Presenting your research project early in year 3 is a big accomplishment and, in truth, it does give you more time to focus on other things. These “ other things” would be completing your required clinical hours and studying for boards
Check out my next post to see how I passed my CRNA Board Exam.