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Increasing Costs Of Nurse Anesthesia Programs

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Joined: 13 Aug 2009
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    Posted: 30 Aug 2009 at 9:18pm
Increasing Costs Of Nurse Anesthesia Programs

One of the big issues in nurse anesthesia is the rapidly increasing cost of going to school.

Thirty years ago most of the programs were 18 months and awarded a diploma. While you went to school they gave you a stipend so instead of you paying them, they paid you. The stipend was about 25-30% of what an RN could make so if you did a little part time work as an RN while you went to anesthesia school you could support your family and graduate with no debts at all. And if your grades in nursing school were top notch, you could go straight from nursing school to anesthesia school. In some cases an 18 year old could go from high school to a graduate nurse anesthetist in 3.5 years. (2 year associate degree in nursing, 18 months in anesthesia.)

But that changed. Now to get into school you must have a bachelors degree in nursing. So there is four years right there. Now you must have some critical care experience. At first OR nursing did count for that but no longer. Now you must get a masters degree in nurse anesthesia. What was once a rather inexpensive profession to learn because expensive. If you want to go to nurse anesthesia school you had better plan on it ahead of time and sock money away if you do not want debts.

But it does not end there. Now they want to make nurse anesthesia a doctorate level program by 2025. Imagine the time and cost for that. Four years for a BSN and another four years as for the doctorate? And at what cost? Why not just go to medical school and become an anesthesiologist in the first place?

If all you ever plan to do in anesthesia is a basic Monday to Friday job being supervised by Anesthesiologists it really does not matter if you are a CRNA or AA. The only real advantages being a CRNA give you is being able to work solo in rural hospitals, practicing under your own license, do blocks and being able right now to work in any of the 50 states.

I think AA as a profession is going to take off as the baby boomer MDAs and CRNAs start retiring in the next 5-10 years. If you can get into an AA program now, vs having to wait 2-3 years to get into a CRNA program I would do it. (General Patton: A good plan today is better than a great plan tomorrow.) The similarities are greater than the differences and either way, anesthesia is fun.

(CRNA for 33.5 years.)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- = Doctorate Of Nurse Anesthesia Practice


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