A Day in the Life of a SRNA

By: Samantha Huron BSN, RN, CCRN

 

Have you ever thought about going back to school to get an advanced practice nursing degree, but haven’t decided which profession is the one for you? Well, you are not alone and I am here to tell you about a day in the life of a student registered nurse anesthetist (SRNA)!

A quick backstory about me… I graduated from Purdue University in 2016 (Boiler Up!). I started my nursing career in the Intermediate Critical Care Unit and then transitioned into the Multisystem ICU in order to gain the experience needed to obtain entrance into a nurse anesthesia program. I started my DNP in Nurse Anesthesia program in May of 2019 and will complete my degree next spring in May 2022. If you have never heard anything about the nurse anesthesia profession, you will today! 

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) have been providing anesthesia to patients for more than 150 years and safely administer more than 50 million anesthetics each year. CRNAs practice in every setting where anesthesia is delivered (operating rooms, obstetrical areas, surgery centers, clinics, military settings, and offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists). CRNAs practice with a high degree of autonomy and are trained to be independent practice providers. While some CRNAs practice independently in a CRNA-only model, other CRNAs practice in an anesthesia care team model with physician anesthesiologists. The opportunities for practice are endless! 

 

Quick General Summary of Requirements to Get into a CRNA Program:

**Discloser: this is not an all-inclusive list. Please do your own research and review each program’s individual requirements 😊

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Registered Nursing License
  • 1-3 years of critical care and ICU experience (the sicker the patients, the better in my opinion!)
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better (higher GPAs are more competitive)
  • GRE (check each program’s specific requirement, some programs don’t require the GRE)
  • Certifications (BLS, ACLS, PALS)
  • Get your CCRN! (Required or recommended by most programs)
  • Some programs have prerequisite classes 
  • Shadow a CRNA and document your experience
  • Other standard requirements (letters of recommendation, entrance essay, resume, etc.) 
  • Be prepared to not work throughout the duration of the program

While my experience has changed throughout my DNP journey, this is a general day in my life. Towards the beginning of my program, it was a lot of challenging course work and sometimes would be upwards of 80-90 hours a week between class, studying, and clinical (oh yes, it’s a lot!). There were a lot of late nights and sometimes even all-nighters. It is definitely mentally and physically exhausting. Currently, I am in full-time residency (40-48 hours a week of clinical), a pain management class, working on my DNP project, and studying for boards. 

For a 0730 case start, I begin my morning between 0500 and 0530, getting up for the morning and getting ready for clinical. I arrive at the hospital by 0615-0630 to change into scrubs and get into my assigned room for the day. I check my anesthesia machine, prepare my medication syringes, and gather my equipment for my first case of the day. Next, I go and see my patient to discuss their history and their procedure. Once the surgical team is ready, we take the patient back to the operating room or procedure room. My anesthesia plan is determined by the patient’s history and the procedure they are having. My room continues until the cases that are assigned to that room are completed. My clinical day ends anytime after 1700 due to my weekly hour requirement. As I begin my commute home, I am decompressing from the day but also thinking about the million things I have to do when I get home. When I get home, I shower, eat, and begin any school work that I may need to complete. Sometimes it may be an assignment or studying, preparing for my cases for the following day, and other times I may need to hop on a meeting. Some days I don’t even get to my assignment or studying because I fall asleep on the couch. And then the cycle and routine continues day after day. Weekends are used for catching up with things from the week, resting, and preparing for the next week. Each semester changes, but this is a general daily routine of where I am at currently in my program.

Being in a CRNA program has been the most challenging but rewarding experience of my life. It is not easy and it is hard to really describe everything in just one post! It requires a lot of work and a lot of sacrifices for you, your family, and your friends. I have missed out on many life events such as birthdays, weddings, holidays, and other precious times with family and friends. I thank my family and friends frequently for being on this journey with me. It really is an adjustment for everyone and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support (we are almost done!!). 

Having a school-life balance is extremely important and it is still something I struggle with on certain days. It truly takes a toll on you, and some days I have more anxiety than others. My classmates and I rely on each other daily to get through each semester and I can’t believe how much we have grown to get to this point in our training. Don’t let this post scare you from going to CRNA school. Use it as inspiration to reach your goals and open your eyes to the many opportunities within anesthesia. It will be the hardest thing you will ever do in your life, so be ready for the challenge, but it is SO worth it in the end. It is the best profession out there (I am biased of course) and I can’t wait to officially call myself a CRNA! 

 

Feel free to comment below if you have any specific questions!

 

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One thought on “A Day in the Life of a SRNA”

  1. Hi Samantha, I’m glad you shared your experience! I’m currently an SRNA in my 2nd year at Texas Wesleyan DNAP program in Ft. Worth, TX. Congratulations on your upcoming graduation!
    Since I’ve started school, I’ve realized that many people do not know what a nurse anesthetist is or what we do even though we are providing the majority of anesthesia in the US. I love explaining who we are to increase awareness of what nurses are capable of!
    Good luck on your future as a CRNA 🙂

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