I’m sitting here working on my Contemporary Nursing final, and I think I’ve finally made up my mind. I mean, I think my mind was made up a while ago, but I’ve finally come to grips with my decision and am ready to sever the strings of safety and jump headfirst into the unknown.
As I mentioned in my previous thread, my primary concern was my wife’s well being with my decision. We’ve discussed it a lot over the past several months, and she’s always tried to play devil’s advocate: “our financial situation will suffer, I’m not sure how we’re going to pay for it. I’m not sure you’ll get in to med school; and if you don’t then what are you going to do?”
This weekend while up skiing, she said “I’ve been thinking about this all wrong. Instead of asking ‘how are you’ I should be asking ‘how are you not?’”
So I believe that next semester I’ll officially be changing focus from a BSN to the science & math classes that will be required to apply for admission to med school. I’m going to be working up my tenative pre-med class schedule as soon as I’m done with finals week.
I need to figure out my back up plan as well. I’m super paranoid about my 8 Ws and one glaring F from my old degree…
I wanted to ask about a few things though. Actually the first of these questions is specifically for OldManDave since I know he’s an anesthesiologist.
OldManDave (or any other anesthesiologists out there): I was originally planning on getting my BSN and working a few years in critical care before going to anesthesia school and getting my CRNA. To be honest, the BSN/CRNA path has been(and continues to be) the path that I see as being the most hopeful, because Only the work I’m doing on my BSN and subsequent certifications count towards my academic approval into anesthesia school. In other words, my crappy CS degree is ignored for the purposes of entering CRNA school.
So what’s the question in this? I guess: OldManDave did you ever consider the CRNA route? From my cursory look at schools, I suspect that getting into CRNA school is actually more difficult than getting into med school. I’m seeing about 800 spots in anesthesia school a year, vs. the ~12,500 med school spots. Of course the CRNA route is undoubtedly not as well trodden as the med school (i.e. many fewer applicants), but I would still bet there’s less than a 43% matriculation rate (43% is what I hear from my advisor as the percentage of accepted medical students nationwide).
But I still keep going back to that idear of ignoring my past for purposes of anesthesia school acceptance…
And my other question, for all of y’all:
Right now I’m enrolled in Gen Chem 1 (as opposed to the Gen Chem I just completed… the one I just did was for non science majors, yet is required by the nursing program… grrrrr… wasted time/money), statistics, A&P 1, and infectious & communicable diseases.
Only statistics and chemistry directly “apply” to my pre-med classwork, however, A&P 1 and infectious diseases are listed as “electives that would probably be helpful.” Right now, I’m thinking about not changing any of my courses, even if it means 1 more semester before I can take the MCAT, because of 2 reasons. 1) I’m genuinely interested in the two courses, and 2) if I do fail to make it into med school, I’ll probably fall back on a BSN, and these courses would apply towards that degree. Actually a third reason would be that these two classes are going to be more challenging than anything I’ve taken this semester, yet less challenging than, say, O-chem or physics. So it’ll be a nice taste of tougher coursework – so that I do make sure that this semester (fall '07) isn’t a fluke.
- Seacuke Said:
Right now I'm enrolled in Gen Chem 1 (as opposed to the Gen Chem I just completed... the one I just did was for non science majors, yet is required by the nursing program... grrrrr... wasted time/money), statistics, A&P 1, and infectious & communicable diseases.
Only statistics and chemistry directly "apply" to my pre-med classwork, however, A&P 1 and infectious diseases are listed as "electives that would probably be helpful." Right now, I'm thinking about not changing any of my courses, even if it means 1 more semester before I can take the MCAT, because of 2 reasons. 1) I'm genuinely interested in the two courses, and 2) if I do fail to make it into med school, I'll probably fall back on a BSN, and these courses would apply towards that degree. Actually a third reason would be that these two classes are going to be more challenging than anything I've taken this semester, yet less challenging than, say, O-chem or physics. So it'll be a nice taste of tougher coursework -- so that I do make sure that this semester (fall '07) isn't a fluke.
Brian, I think that sounds like a reasonable plan. Assuming statistics is well taught, it's probably one of the more useful math courses out there. I think your reasoning is sound. Not only does it give you a chance to test the waters a bit with more rigorous coursework, but it gives you some more time to solidify your decision and make some plans before totally abandoning the BSN path.
since you are starting out working on your nursing degree and not already a RN, the timeline for getting into and finishing a CRNA program would equal that of finishing your BS, getting into med school and graduating.
Most, if not all CRNA programs now require a BSN or R.N. that has a B.S. in something else as well as a minimum of 1-2 years acute care (e.g. ICU, CCU, ER), and probably realistically more to be competitive.
In addition, doing a CRNA “just” to do anesthesia may not be the best approach - you’ve got to look at yourself and decide whether nursing or medicine is the path for you. There are cases where CRNAs have a more independent position, but that and other hot-topic debates should be saved for another time and another forum.
My father is a CRNA and really, really enjoys his job. He works in a rural (<10K population) town and it’s just him and another CRNA (his partner) that take call. He would hate working in a large city/large hospital as a staff anesthetist because he is relatively autonomous. He is always in the presence of the surgeon during surgery, but they are most definitely colleagues and it’s a great system they have going. Don’t let the money aspect trick you either - CRNAs make great money - more than a lot of primary care physicians.
Anyway, my point is not to argue the workings of CRNA vs. MD (anesthesiologist) but to tell you to think about what you want most.
I just wanted to mention (in case you are not aware) that while your GenChem for non-science majors may not count towards the prereqs for Med School, it WILL be included in your BCPM GPA calculation. As will A&P and statistics. So as long as you got an A, it will not be a total waste.
Now, stop procrastinating and get back to acing those finals…
Thanks for the input y’all. Megboo, regarding the CRNA vs MD decision – I hate to make it sound like it’s a competition between the two – it’s hard to explain. I want to be in an OR, and I want to work in a rural setting (although I consider where I live currently to be pretty rural, I realize that by Montana standards it’s downright urban). I have counted on a 9 year or so odyssey to become a full fledged CRNA.
The difference, which initially made my wife a big fan of me pursuing a CRNA, is that after I receive my BSN I’ll be bringing home a meaningful amount of ca$hola, even if it’s only for 3-4 years as I’m pursuing my pre-CRNA accredidations (CCRN, PALS, etc). The fact that it’s school-work-school appealed to her more than the school-school-work approach of pursuing medicine.
Back to studying. Actually I only have 1 final left: I turned in my nursing final this morning, I finished my sociology final last Friday (got a 96 on it), and for chemistry… well, the average of all of my exam and homework scores this semester was over 100% (xtra credit woot!), and my professor had a policy where students who achieved 100% or better were exempt from the final. Booyaah. Sorry I just had to toot my horn for a while. After being a solid C student for so long, having a semester average over 100 feels darn good.
- Seacuke Said:
The difference, which initially made my wife a big fan of me pursuing a CRNA, is that after I receive my BSN I'll be bringing home a meaningful amount of ca$hola, even if it's only for 3-4 years as I'm pursuing my pre-CRNA accredidations (CCRN, PALS, etc). The fact that it's school-work-school appealed to her more than the school-school-work approach of pursuing medicine.
Back to studying. Actually I only have 1 final left: I turned in my nursing final this morning, I finished my sociology final last Friday (got a 96 on it), and for chemistry... well, the average of all of my exam and homework scores this semester was over 100% (xtra credit woot!), and my professor had a policy where students who achieved 100% or better were exempt from the final. Booyaah. Sorry I just had to toot my horn for a while. After being a solid C student for so long, having a semester average over 100 feels darn good.
Hi!, As some here know I'm an RN and now a MSIII, I love it, its hard being poor, but it will be worth it. I did not like nursing for the last 5 years I practiced (17 years) but it had nothing to do with medicine it was politics of Nursing and Males. It's lng to go into so I will spare you, just know that Males in Nursing have problems.
CRNA's do not as much as NP's do not as much.
If you work as Nurse for awhile do not tell the other nurses you are going to medical school you are a traitor to them if you do ( Of course not all but it may be management that thinks this and then you are in for it!)
So I have always believed you need to burn to do this, you have to do this or you are not happy.
If this is the case do not settle and go for it!
Do not give up and also remember practice is the goal, only problem I see is with your past a few do make it in USA schools like OMD did but the Caribbean is an option too, the big four are OK but Anesthesia is very competitive and hard from the Caribbean, I'm going into FP Rural so I'm OK.
Hey DRFP, I am sorry you had a bad experience as a “murse”! I am a nurse too; I knew even before I started nursing that I wanted to do medicine, but let me just say that the attitudes of many nurses I encounted has increased my resolve tenfold! (And I’m a girl!) So many male nurses are treated badly, it really is a shame. It’s a shame how nurses treat each other in general… I think this is largely associated with the high turnover rate and subsequent shortage of nurses. Just a breif rant, had to share!
First, sorry I did not see this question that directed at me for such a long time. I hope that you return to read my guru-level, ultra-insightful reply…LOL
- Seacuke Said:
I hate to tell you this, but your wife is not just playing Devil's advocate - she is on the money. The questions she is asking are real, have serious implications & should be addressed & planned for. Unless you are independently wealthy & able to pay for med school out-of-pocket w/o affecting your budget, then yes, this will profoundly affect your financial situation. To go into this not fully ackowledging this & at least investigating how it will & how you will pay for it is tempting the fates & courting disaster. Many relationships have ended in an ugly fashion over financials...bear this in mind.
Furthermore, there is no guarantee that you will get in & you should have a contingency plan. There is also no guarantee that you will get into CRNA school either. In some ways, as an applicant to any highly-competivie professional program, you have to simultaneously be a blindly optimistic (I will get in) & hard-core pragmatic (what am I gonna do if I do not get in). As an older applicant, you are far more likely to be asked if & how you have considered this situation & what your contiingency plans are. You must be able to intelligently articulate & defend your choices.
- Seacuke Said:
What is past is past & there's not a dmaned thing you can do to change it. So, stop lamenting it. Your focus is to orchestrate your life in such a manner as to facilitate your doing your absolute best academically & for MCAT prep. There are no guarantees or magic numbers. You do not get brownie points for age or life/professional experience - period. the only way you land an interview is to prove you are academically capable of surviving the rigors of medical school. If you do this, then all of those extra0currics, life & professional experiences & so on can be huge assets. But, they will NEVER make up for academic or MCAT underperformance.
I am not implying that you must bring up your cumGPA to x-level. If you're any where near my level of academic disaster (dropped out while on probation to avoid academic expulsion in '87 with >90 Ugrad hrs & a cumGPA ~1.2), you will NEVER bring up the GPA to anything competitive. what you must do is earn very strong grades & then juxtapose them to your $hitty old grades in order to emphasize how well you are doing now, how much you have matured & are now capable of succeeding in an unltra-rigorous academic environment.
- Seacuke Said:
So what's the question in this? I guess: OldManDave did you ever consider the CRNA route? From my cursory look at schools, I suspect that getting into CRNA school is actually more difficult than getting into med school. I'm seeing about 800 spots in anesthesia school a year, vs. the ~12,500 med school spots. Of course the CRNA route is undoubtedly not as well trodden as the med school (i.e. many fewer applicants), but I would still bet there's less than a 43% matriculation rate (43% is what I hear from my advisor as the percentage of accepted medical students nationwide).
Sure I considered CRNA back when I was an RRT. As much as I loved being an RRT, I knew pretty quickly I was gonna run out of challenges & get bored. And, at that time (early-/mid-90s), there were 2 CRNA programs that would have admitted me with a BSRT in lieu of a BSN. And, looking from the perspective of an anesthesiologist, CRNA is a hell of a gig! There is something very attractive about not being the one ultimately responsible for things - someone else signs that chart under you.
Now, I will not go into my opinions on CRNA supervision, who should be the supervisor & CRNA independence as those are not germaine to the discussion. But CRNA is an excellent & well-remunerated profession & I have had the pleasure of working with some phenomenal CRNAs. But, there is a substantial difference in what a CRNA is & what a physician-anesthesiologis t is. The level & intensity of education AND training are different by orders of magnitude. They are not the same & the professions are not equal, interchangable or otherwise.
Regarding level of competition to get into CRNA vs. med school...I think you may need to revisit your resources. Getting into med school is several orders of magnitude more intense than nursing & CRNA. And, once you are in med school, you are still a very very long way from matching into anesthesia, which has become one of the ultra-competitive specialties.
Time to completion is another huge factor that, for an older & married person (esp if there are children), would probably argue in favor of the CRNA route.
CRNA - 4yrs to BSN, 2yrs ICY experience & ~2yrs CRNA school = 8 years total.
MD/DO Anesthesia - 4yrs college, 4yrs med school, 4yrs residency (and that is in the process of probably going to 5 years) = 12 or, more likely, 13 years.
Plus, you will make a LOT better $$ as an RN working in the ICU & able to moonlight as an RN during CRNA school than you will in med school/residency. Add to that the cost of the programs - med schools are getting much much more expensive - mine is now >$30k/yr!
But, the pay is quite different once you get out too. In the mid-west, CRNAs easily make in the 125k~150k range after a few years in the business. However, a physician anesthesiologist in the same region can expect to start in excess of $300 for the 1 to 2 years pre-partnership & reasonably anticipate >$400k/yr onc they make partner. Neither payrate is anything to whine about!
For me, I wanted the whole enchilada. I wanted the responsiblity & independence of being a physician. And, when I actually was applying to & in med school, I was not planning upon anesthesia. I wanted to be a peds intensivist. However, I found "my home" during 3rd-year rotations. I loved anesthesia & still do.
I hope that this info proves to be helpful. But, as one of the posters above points out, you need to decide whether or not you want to be a nurse or a physician. Neither profession will supplant the other & they are not the same; so trying to do one as a consolation for not seeking the other is probably doomed to not succeeding. Pick which one works best for you, your professional aspirations AND your wife & family. As a non-trad, one luxury you surrender is that ability to make choices without considering how it will effect others. But, once you get hitched & really after you reproduce, those folks & their happiness MUST play an integral role in the decision process.
Thank you very much for your insight Dave! I can’t stress enough how much everyone’s responses & posts have helped me become informed.