This is an interesting little diatribe i read by a CRNA clinical instructor.
Why I think year ICU experience isn’t enough by “There, I Said It"
I am a Nurse Anesthetist and a Clinical Instructor of Anesthesiology at a large metropolitan teaching institution.
I have been a clinical instructor for some years, and have seen many students come and go. We have so many applicants to our program, and each time the interviewing process becomes more and more difficult, as each applicant appears to be cream of the crop. The difficult decisions as to who will be accepted into the program come from a comprehensive process that involves input from many individuals of varying levels of practice; from student nurse anesthetists to department chairs.
According to the AANA, requirements for admission to an accredited program of nurse anesthesia include a minimum of 1 year of acute care experience, such as in ICU or ER. Herein lies my beef. Applicants or students who think 1 year of acute care experience is enough to perform at an acceptable level, in my view, are sorely mistaken. I feel this requirement should be changed. Can one truly master the art of ICU or ER nursing in 1 year?? Is a year enough time to glean an adequate level of skills or experience in adult critical care or ER nursing? After one year, can you throw up epi, levophed, dobutamine, dopamine, nitro, etc. and truly be comfortable with what you are doing?? Do you think you’ll be able to insert a swan and know what in the hell you’re doing? How much code experience occurs over 1 year? Is a year time enough to mature the development of interpersonal relationships with other members of the health care team much less the patient? Ask yourself these questions and I bet your answer will be no, no and no!
The students who have slithered through the interview process with what looks good on paper but have never been realized in practice have a hell of a time in residency. The clinical instructor has to work overtime to protect the patient from the student. I daresay there are those individuals that just have met the minimal requirements and are truly stellar students. However, these are few and far between.
I suggest the minimal requirement in an acute care setting be increased to at least 3 years. Applicants, if you barely have the minimal requirements for admission, ask yourself if you truly have enough experience to entertain delivering anesthesia care to an elderly individual with an aortic aneurysm, a child with epiglottitis, or an individual with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen.
There, I Said It