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    Default Survived and Maybe even Thriving as an SRNA during first semester!

    So I just wanted to share my experience as a SRNA during my first semester so that others who are about to start on the journey can be ready -or at least as close to ready as possible. I have to be intentionally vague about certain topics because as a SRNA there lies this unspoken maxim that anything we say can and will be used against us so I have to be careful. This advice also comes from someone who is single and does not enjoy the many blessings and responsibilities of a family. I just have to make sure that I don't walk out in traffic or defibrillate myself.

    I entered this program 6 months ago with the expectation that my classmates and I were a herd of cattle that were about to be culled and that I will find a way to survive each and every cut. I am embarrassed of my neuroticism but also happy to report that for the first time in my college adult life that I am very much treated like an adult, shown respect, and that I have been set up to succeed. I have always been a lone wolf in college but now I am part of large study group and we support and learn from each other. The program, tests, lectures, clinicals, and hours of endless studying are mostly enjoyable and dare I say that I am thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to just throw myself into what I hope to be a cherished and life-long career. I just can't seem to get enough that even on my downtime I'm just trolling this site so that I can learn even more from the pros. However, I had to make some very painful yet smart decisions to get this far and I hope that some of my perspectives can help those that are just starting out with applying.

    1. Take an honest and hard look at your life and if you feel exhausted, tired, or burnt out - then make the tough decisions to unclutter and streamline your life now before you begin anesthesia school. It is too tempting to try to do it all but the majority of students simply cannot work and excel at school. There will always be outliers who have done it (and I would posit that they would have been even better SRNAs without work serving as a distraction) and that is great but the demands of this degree simply negate the often minimal benefits of trying to hold down a job. If you find yourself in a relationship that is unsupportive of your career goals, not have enough money, or just don't feel ready then figure out a way to change these circumstances because a difficult breakup, a move, or a personal/financial crisis is ill-timed during anesthesia school.

    2. There are many professional/political battles that our profession is currently embroiled in. There are state board meetings, annual conferences, other meetings to attend such as the APRN coalition, and I find it very inspiring to be around such passionate and accomplished professionals. Find out where these are taking place or just go to your state board meetings and introduce yourself - you would not believe what the whims of chance could have in store for you by just putting yourself out there.

    3. Dig deep into this forum. You can learn so much from what others have shared. Due to this forum alone I have held my own in professional debates regarding anesthesia and have shown that - at the very least - I am committed to a high standard with my own knowledge and practice. I have surprised many CRNAs and one has even said, "how the hell do you know that already on your second week!" I was not trying to impress or anything but I just read a debate regarding reversals of neuromuscular blockade and particular debates on its dosing and what I didn't understand I looked up and asked questions. This forum makes me a smarter student and the information is sometimes much more valuable than anything you can find in Nagelhout, Barash, or Miller.

    4. Integrated programs are absolutely wonderful and I highly recommend a program such as this to a front-loaded one. Clearly I am biased but being in the OR gives me the inspiration and humbling I require to get on those books and learn more and more and more...I learn about neurology and nerve monitoring - I pick a neurologic surgical procedure that has neuromonitoring. I also have to pick a book and read all about it and access the literature so that I don't make a complete fool of myself. It makes me take ownership of my own scholarship.

    5. The more experience you have going into this, then the easier you can hit the ground running. The easier it is to master technical skills, the easier it is to do a pre-op interview, the easier it is to stand out during a bad situation and hold your own, the easier it is to assimilate facts from many sources and formulate an anesthesia plan and move forward. The experience does matter and it becomes apparent very quickly during clinical. This program is very challenging. Therefore, anything that can make it easier is well worth it. People pick up on this and let you do more, they teach you more, they back you up more, and they respect you more.

    6. Dare I say that this is the happiest I have ever been in my life and I can't wait to see what the future holds. I can't wait for the next day in clinical and I can't wait to be pimped while I intubate an unanticipated difficult airway...this is the best career ever.

    No disrespect to anyone intended...good luck.
    Last edited by Anesthesinator; 01-11-2014 at 06:36 AM. Reason: Atrocious spelling and lack of proof-reading.

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