Week #5 as a CRNA Student- Study Tips You’ll Need

by admin

Expert Interview Notification

Last week CRNA Academy completed a great interview with a CRNA who has 4 years of experience.  She is very candid about her salary, the politics, and the job outlook for CRNA’s.  She even provides her contact information for members that have more questions!  Be sure to check out her interview today inside CRNA Academy!

And the Beating Continues…

My brain hurts a little.  Learning at this rate seems impossible but somehow it is happening.  And the uplifting part is- all the material is related and it’s relevant- we’re going to be doing this for the rest of our lives as CRNA’s!  <–this fact makes the pain a little easier to bear.

This week was the first week where I actually felt a little overwhelmed and may have lost a little bit of sleep.  It is definitely manageable though- you just have to put in the time.

It is not that the material is difficult, it is just A LOT of material.  Being a grad student means a lot of self teaching and many hours sitting at a desk reading.  If you think bedside nursing hurts your back- wait until you start studying for 8-10 hours!  I think I look like Quasimoto at the beginning of week 5.

Organization, Prioritization and Motivation are Crucial to Success

I have developed some Study Tips that I find helpful

1. Make a weekly To Do List with assigned reading, assignments, quizzes, and exams.  This helps with organization and prioritization.  One of our professors told us that it’s nearly impossible to do everything with 100% effort so you have to let some things slide a little- like the easy little quizzes that only make up 5% of a grade or the discussion forums.

2. Before you study, have a plan.  I try to study the most important subject for two hour intervals before I take a break and then get back to studying or switch topics.  I have also found that it is helpful to change locations.  I do 2 hours at my computer desk, two hours on the couch, 1 hour on the floor (because that’s all my butt can take!) and then start over.  A group of students also like to head over to the library every now and then.  I’m also a big fan of coffee shops and bookstores.

3.  After each lecture, I make flashcards covering important topics.  There is a great website called Flashcard Machine.  You can type them online and then study them from your smart phone or iPad after downloading the app.  It’s great.  I try to skim through all my flashcards every week so the material stays fresh.  Most of the final exams are cumulative and I know that these flashcards will be a great study tool when we get to the end of the semester.  P.S.  it’s free for the first 100 flips, but for a meager fee you get unlimited flips and will therefore make it through 2 years of your program no sweat!

4. Try different methods for studying.  There is one course in particular (Advanced Physiology) where it’s very helpful to talk out concepts with a classmate or two.   I’ve always been a one woman band when it comes to studying but the group method is working very well for me so far.  It’s all about finding the right group too!  Just like Goldilocks I had to try out a few “bowls of porridge” before I found one that was JUUUUUUST RIGHT.

Coursework

What are we Covering so Far?

Chemistry and Physics for Nurse Anesthesia:

So far we have reviewed some basic chemistry; moles, atomic number, Henderson Hasselbach equation, pH, plasma buffer systems, urine buffer systems, in depth acid-base disturbances, and drug calculations for blocks (for example: 40 ml of 2% lidocaine with 1:200,000 epinephrine).   We also learned a new concept, pKa.  Basically pKa is the pH at which half of your drug will be ionized and the other half will be non-ionized.  This helps you determine the onset of anesthesia.

Advanced Physiology:

Cell membrane (lipid bilayer), receptors, intracellular proteins, resting membrane potential, active and passive transport, osmosis, neuroanatomy (sensory pathways, motor pathways), CNS and PNS, Autonomic Nervous System, receptors (G-Protein Coupled Receptors, nicotinic, muscarinic, adrenergic, etc.), action potentials, skeletal muscle contractions, smooth muscle contractions, nerve to nerve transmission, pain pathways, reflex arc.  We have also just begun a 3 week lecture on the Respiratory System…since this will be crucial to our jobs.

Basics of Anesthesia:

Parts and function of the Anesthesia Gas Machine, pre-operative evaluation, airway assessment, and airway management (this was a 6 hour lecture on the anatomy of the airway along with the millions of different types of breathing appliances that you can stick down someone’s throat.  Who knew there were so many tools?  Check out this great video.  Made me gag the first time I watched it but hey- this is my new job so I better get used to it!

Principles of Pharmacology for Nurse Anesthesia:

Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics, Therapeutic Index, ED50 (effective dose), dose response curves, more about pKa dissociation constant, neurotransmitters, stages of anesthesia, MAC’s of different inhaled gases, blood gas partition coefficients, gas oil partition coefficients, and the effects of many things on the patient during induction (flow rates, gas concentration, cardiac output, VQ problems, how pregnancy and pediatrics changes your anesthesia plan, etc.)

Simulation Lab:

Anesthesia Gas Machine checklist- required by the FDA as part of an anesthesia provider’s daily routine, how to perform a pre-operative evaluation, how to perform an airway assessment (thyromental distance, Mallampati scores, loose teeth, etc.), and we are just beginning the induction sequence (e.g. practicing intubating the mannequin!).

Like always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to respond to these posts or contact me at admin “at” crnaacademy.com

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