Nurse Anesthetists

I have no problem working in a care team setting or as an independent anesthesia provider. If patients are our top priority, egos can’t get in the way - Candy Chapman CRNA

Nurse Anesthetists

image by: Bryan Franks

I love being a CRNA. The journey has been long and hard. No one told me it was going to be easy. And no one told me how hard it’s going to be either. One cannot fully appreciate how difficult until being in the program.

I became a nurse because truthfully, I didn’t know what I wanted to be after high school. I have always been practical. I wanted a job that will be stable and will be able to support me and my family. Nursing did not disappoint. I always had a job and I surprisingly found that I was good at helping people and enjoyed it as well. There are so many pathways you could go into nursing and I started looking into this. I’ve worked in the intensive care unit, day surgery, post-op, and GI. And I still did not know what area in nursing is really for me.

I was on call late at night in recovery room. While waiting for the patient to come out, I wondered why the C-section was taking a while so I went into the OR to see what was taking so long. The scene was chaotic. The patient was hemorrhaging badly and the circulating nurse was trying to get assistance for the surgeon. No one wanted to get involved. Amidst the chaos, was the anesthesia provider. He asked for a level one with a please and thank you. He asked to set up a phenylephrine drip calmly. He was infusing fluids, giving pressors, transfusing blood products and administering anesthesia all at once. It dawned on me at that moment that this was what I wanted to do.

So I did my research and learned more about the specialty. I worked to get my BSN. I got some recommendation letters. I worked on my CV. I went through a couple of interviews and by the time I know it, I was starting in my CRNA program.

My CRNA program started us out with didactic the first semester and incorporated clinical hours after. I was up very early and was driving anywhere from 30 mins to 3 hours to clinical sites. The night before, I was looking at cases that I was doing the next day, formulating care plans. The day of clinical, I had to deal with snarky preceptors and some really great ones as well. The great ones are knowledgeable, encouraging, patient, stimulating, and kind. I was constantly learning and at times it felt like my brain was going to explode. There were good days and definitely bad days. There were moments I felt like a rock star and ready to fly. There were moments where I got very close to quitting. The exhaustion from reading, clinical, exams, family, friends take a toll on you. I had no time for family and friends. The life of a SRNA is just anesthesia for 27 months. I ran a lot, it was a stress reliever and it kept me sane.

And then it was done. I graduated, took the NCE and am currently working as a CRNA. I am happy as a clam. I love my job. The best part of my job is when my patient wakes up and asks when he or she’s going to surgery, or when a parturient stops screaming in pain after the epidural is placed, or when the patient tells me that’s the best sleep he’s had in years. I get paid to do this. I still am in awe of it.

Source: Sandman, Journey to CRNAdom, Behind the Drapes, November 1, 2016.

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Last Updated : Thursday, October 26, 2017