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Future AA In Love With A CRNA?

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AAWifeCRNAHusband View Drop Down

Joined: 15 Aug 2009
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  Quote AAWifeCRNAHusband Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Future AA In Love With A CRNA?
    Posted: 15 Aug 2009 at 5:13pm
A true Romeo CRNA and Juliet AA story!

I am preparing, hopefully, for Anesthesiologist Assistant school. Meanwhile, my boyfriend of 3 years is finishing his RN to BSN program and preparing for CRNA school. We don't fight about it, but we tease each other a little. His resounding jab is that CRNAs work independently. Like others here, that makes me a little nervous.

To say that any anesthetists job is 95% routine and 5% emergency makes me VERY nervous. In AA literature, the repetitive concept is that to pursue this career, you must NOT be a person who falls into routines. AA curriculum demands its entrants to be perfectionists, and careful observers with intimate knowledge of pharmacology, chemistry, and their interactions with the human body in both "routine" situations and "emergency" situations.

Is it more difficult to get into AA school than CRNA school? On the surface, yes, because there are so few AA schools in the US. Also, much like ARNP vs. PA programs, the required background is different. Not better or worse than the other, but different.

I know that the CRNA curriculum itself is difficult. In fact, I wouldn't doubt that once in the program, the training is somewhat similar to AA programs. The difference in backgrounds is the most apparent discrepancy. AAs are trained like doctors; CRNAs are trained like nurses (and, yes, that's how semi-colons are supposed to be used).

After debating for a few years over whether to go to nursing school or right on to PA/AA school (my BA is in business), I discovered some fundamental differences. For one, while nurses are very experienced and knowledgeable, they are mainly this way because of years of learning what doctors order in specific situations. The problem is that they take this to mean they have extensive knowledge of medicine, when this is only partially true. Without knowing the WHY behind the orders, I don't feel that the typical RN should ever be unsupervised. Many RNs talk about knowing more than doctors. When I started out years ago as an STNA, I often thought I knew more than the nurses. That's because I had some information, but not enough to know the intricacies of each treatment the way the RNs did. Likewise, nurses have some information, but do not understand the physiological intricacies that doctors do. They often think doctors make stupid decisions, when in reality, they don't have enough knowledge to make that assessment.

I certainly don't feel that one profession is better than the other (being a prospective AA in love with a prospective CRNA, you know I'm being honest). The knowledge is similar, just with different paths taken to achieve the goal. To argue that AAs are inferior because they haven't had years of patient care is insane. That would mean that doctors are inferior to nurses as well. And to suggest that CRNAs are inferior because they didn't take the MCAT doesn't make much sense either. However, I don't think that either AAs OR CRNAs should be completely independent! Experience as an ICU nurse, nor 2 years of training using the medical model, makes either profession capable of acting as a doctor.

I'm not looking forward to dealing with this type of high school drama as a working professional. There's a reason it's called the "Anesthesia Care Team". As educated professionals, we have to respect that, and each other.

It IS true that nurses need very minimal scientific training, and that much of the required courses (prerequisites AND program requirements) are easy. I take my boyfriend's online exams with him all the time, and most of it is just plain common sense. I personally wouldn't enjoy such a bland curriculum, based on such touchy-feely things as patient emotions, blah blah blah. People become nurses to help people. People follow the PA/AA path to solve problems. It's just a different approach to similar professions.

By the way... Any of you AAs out there familiar with Case Western Reserve University's program? That's the one I'm aiming for, being a Clevelander. I could use all the advice I can get!


Anesthesiologist Assistant Resource Websites:

Edited by admin - 25 Jan 2011 at 7:44pm
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Indy1275 View Drop Down

Joined: 05 Mar 2009
Location: United States
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Posts: 5
  Quote Indy1275 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Aug 2009 at 8:48pm
Good Luck! I am currently in AA school at Nova. I wish you nothing but success!
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