I graduated in December 2010 with a B.S. in Biology and want to pursue a career as a CRNA. For the majority of my time in college, I really didn't know what I wanted to do for a career (I made the mistake of earning a Biology degree because it's "The Pre-Health Degree"), and during my senior year, I took physiology and neuroscience classes and fell in love with the material (especially physiology). I was especially captivated by the lab experiments we conducted for the physiology class, which included "anesthetizing" frogs with ether and measuring neuronal activity with force transducers and neuromonitoring machines. When I considered how cool and rewarding it would be to do conceptually similar work in a healthcare context involving humans (as patients, not lab frogs!), I researched careers and learned about anesthesia. I also love the specificity of the work in the sense that, as a practitioner, every decision to administer a drug has to be evaluated on a cellular basis in terms of receptor/ligand binding and physiology (I.e., "When I administer drug X, what receptors is it going to bind to, and what subsequent physiological response will arise as a result?"). I love that manner of intellectual stimulation and the fact that as a CRNA, I would apply it with the purpose of bringing the ultimate form of relief to a patient undergoing surgery.
In terms of stats, I have a 3.64 GPA and an 1140 on the GRE, which I will be re-taking next week.
I had originally decided to pursue a career as an AA but was actually steered away from that profession by several practicing AA's who informed me of a number of issues plaguing their profession, including opposition from CRNA's (apparently, one of the anesthesia groups in my city has made it clear that they are never hiring another AA) and difficulties securing employment due to not being cost-effective as anesthetists. Ironically, several local CRNA's more or less paraphrased those sentiments.
I'm not a genius, but I'm not so stupid that I can't read the writing on the wall. So having said that, I would like to finally ask a question: how would you guys recommend I go about pursuing a career as a CRNA? I understand that many CRNA programs require that applicants hold a BSN, while others will consider applicants who possess R.N. licenses and have earned B.S. degrees in other areas of study. I was comparing tuition rates for the nursing programs at the local community college and university, and the cost disparity between the two programs is astounding -- it would only cost between $5,000 - 7,000 to attend the CC's RN program, and it would cost over three times that amount to attend the university's BSN program.
Is the substantial additional cost of the BSN program worth paying, or would I do just as well to attend the CC's RN program? From what I understand, graduates of both programs are hired just as willingly to ICU nursing positions at local hospitals.
Another option that someone informed me of is to go through a direct-entry MSN program, but this seems like it would be a MUCH more expensive endeavor than pursuing either of the two options discussed above.
Any advice would be sincerely appreciated!