While many of you decided long ago that you wanted to be a CRNA, some of you are still wondering, “should I become a CRNA?”
If you’re still on the fence about this important decision, I implore you to keep reading.
There are many factors to consider
You have to be honest with yourself. Are you pursuing this career just for the money? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to live a comfortable life and putting in the time to get there. I’ve always thought that if you’re going to spend 40 hours a week working, it only makes sense to get paid $40-$100 per hour for your time, rather than $10-$20 per hour.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting compensated well.
The problem is that money won’t make you happy. There are plenty of people out there who are making over $200,000 per year and are miserable in their jobs.
Those are the people who are doctors because their parents wanted them to be a doctor (not because it was their passion); the ones who chose to be a CRNA because it was the highest paying nursing profession, requiring the least amount of schooling, then found out that they dreaded going to work each day because they missed the patient interaction they had as a floor nurse.
The truth is that you will be most highly compensated for doing work that you truly enjoy (and that comes easy to you). When you work in your area of greatest strength, you have more creativity, more passion, more enthusiasm, and people want to do business with you!
If you have a mind for science, have always excelled in critical thinking skills, and are somewhat of an introvert, you should be a CRNA. Everyone wants a career that’s at least a little bit challenging, but you don’t want to struggle through every day at work! If you’re not naturally gifted in science, you may want to find a career path that is more suited to your strengths.
Lots of burned out nurses turn to advanced practice nursing as a last resort. While many find solace in their new role as a CRNA, some just weren’t cut out for nursing. Period. It depends on which aspect of the career you’re so desperate to escape.
If you like the nursing environment, love science, and enjoy caring for people, then it may be most appropriate to switch fields within nursing. However, if you’ve never liked nursing to begin with, you’ve never excelled as an RN and you’re just seeking an escape…. You may want to leave nursing all together.
Over the last year, I’ve gotten dozens of emails from CRNA hopefuls who were devastated by their low GPA, low science grades or low GRE scores. They worried that their low scores would keep them from achieving their dream of becoming a CRNA.
It got me thinking.
What if these low scores are not road blocks to their happiness, but signs pointing them in a different direction?
I’m not saying that grades are always an indication of aptitude. Sometimes, people get low grades because they are going through a hard time in their life and are not truly applying themselves. If that’s the case, simply re-take some classes and prove to yourself and the admission committee that science is your strength.
On the other hand, there’s nothing worse than pouring out your heart and soul to pursue a dream, only to achieve it and find out that it’s not what you thought it would be.
If you’re still deciding what to do with your life, take an inventory of all of your skills. Think about what other people have told you you’re good at. Think of activities you pursued as a child. Things that come naturally to you that others seem to work really hard at.
Try to think outside of the box.
I read a book by Dan Miller called 48 Days to the Work You Love. If you’re seriously contemplating your career path, I highly recommend it. It encourages you to not “settle” for a career path if it doesn’t add value to your life, and gives you some creative ideas you may not have considered before.
The bottom line?
Don’t be a CRNA just for the money. Money alone will not make you happy. It used to be that:
Many Years in School = High Paying Job = Safe Future and Easy Retirement.
That’s just not the way it works any more. Instead, you find a constantly changing job market where the average worker changes jobs every 4 years. In addition, the internet has created a global market where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.
In fact, my husband initially set out on his journey to become a CRNA (because it is a perfect fit for his aptitudes), but when he witnessed this website (all-crna-schools.com) bringing in so much income, he realized he could make just as much money as a CRNA from the comfort of his own home, while building a website on a topic he is passionate about.
My husband has since abandoned his plan to become a CRNA. He reasons, "why go to school for 2 more years when I can build the same success while being home with my family?" It never hurts to explore all of your options. If the idea of building a website from home appeals to you, you can learn more here.
50 years ago, if you wanted to live comfortably, you had to become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, or some other highly paid professional…. And 50 years ago, if you wanted to be highly paid, becoming a CRNA may have been your only reasonable option.
Today, since there are so many other ways to make a decent income, I encourage you to do something that you love, something that will make your heart sing each day when you go to work. If that means you want to be a CRNA, then I’m THRILLED for you that you have found your passion! I will do everything I can to help you reach that goal.
No matter what you choose to do with your life; whether you decide to be a CRNA or not, strive for excellence. Love your work, and it will pay you well.
Return to Should I be a CRNA?
*This page was updated August 11, 2011*