Week #12 as a CRNA Student- Student CRNA Survival Skills

by admin

We are getting very close to finals (in 3 weeks) and everything is barreling down on us.  So far I’ve been managing fine and there have even been lulls where I have been able to party and enjoy life!

BUT, when I look at my calendar for the next month- the amount we have to accomplish does not seem humanly possible.  I have to keep reminding myself that thousands of students do it every year.  My grades are still good, but my motivation level is getting very hard to maintain.  Studying 6-10 hours a day just isn’t fun.

We started the program with 27 students and two dropped out in the first semester.  Not 100% sure of the circumstances but I think one was feeling that perhaps CRNA just wasn’t the right choice.  The other situation may have been due to academics.  For our program, an 83% is passing, an 82.9% is failing.  In other words, the bar is set high.

If I had to list two skills that are crucial to surviving Nurse Anesthesia school they would be:

1. Time Management

2. Flexibility

Time Management

You are now in graduate school.  You are taking Advanced Physiology, Chemistry & Physics for Nurse Anesthetists, Basics of Anesthesia, Pharmacology I and Simulation Lab.  You go to lecture, listen, then go home and re-listen to lecture because you didn’t understand it while it was happening.  You read (and read, and read).  You make study guides, you make notecards.  Then you call your friends and group study.  Then you do it all over again with new material.  This is a constant cycle.  And not only are you expected to learn new material every week- you are also expected to retain the old material.  Because hey- it’s all important to your new career!

*A good tip to remember from the very beginning is to start organizing your study guides and lecture material in whatever way best prepares you for studying for finals.  Unfortunately, everything is usually cumulative.


I have noticed that the students struggling the most with the demands of the Nurse Anesthesia program are those that have difficulty being flexible and easy-going.  Some students feel entitled to a set scheduled.  But, life as a student CRNA just doesn’t work this way.  Sometimes we have class, sometimes we listen to recorded lectures.  Sometimes instead of class, we meet in the simulation lab.  Sometimes we don’t know what we are doing until we show up.  Sometimes they tell us we are going to have an “easy” exam and there are questions on it that would be difficult to answer with an open book.

So, my advice to you, GO WITH THE FLOW!  No one wants to hear someone complain all the time (especially the faculty), no one wants excuses, no one wants crybabies.  I’m sorry- but it’s true.  I feel very lucky to be in a program that is fair and attempts to increase our satisfaction with the goings on but we still have frustrating moments.  The best way to deal with them is to smile and move on.

With everything in life, if you want it- you’ve got to work for it.  And trust me, being a CRNA is definitely something you want!

Would love to get some feedback from any other student CRNA’s out there that have advice for the readers.   Feel free to comment below or e-mail me at admin “at” CRNAAcademy.com

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  • Mariahelen

    Hi Admin,
    Thank you so abundantly for this auster and invaluable resource materials, so meticulously compiled to help alleviate the pain and and anxiety of aspiring CRNA students, just like me! I stumbled across your website while searching for the best prep materials on how to become a CRNA, and boy, I definitely feel like a lottery winner! Your tone is upbeat and very inspiring. I feel more motivated to tackle the admission process, which is where I am at this point in my aspiration to becoming a CRNA. ( believe me it has taken me about 15yrs to finally get to this point). I feel that I have accomplished something very tangible. Talk about optimism, yeah, I think I GOT that!, now that I have you on my side!
    However, having been out of school for many moons, I feel very anxious about having to relearn how to effectively study, and not read for pleasure any more. I feel that I am behind in a few things especially with technology! Ultimately, my question revolves around the most effective method, and or resources to prepare for the GRE. This seems to be giving me the biggest grief, although I try to remain optimistic about it as well as realistic, since it my biggest hurdle at the moment. Please help with GRE prep for the weakest person you can imagine in math! I’m on my way to purchasing CRNA academy, and I feel very confident that I will not be disappointed!
    Once again, thank you so much for your knowledge and empathy, and for sharing the best kept secrets to the road on becoming a CRNA!

    • admin

      Well after reading your comments (and thank you by the way), I am going to predict that you will not have too much trouble with the GRE Vocab section. Inside the Academy, I set aside an entire presentation that deals solely with the dreaded GRE. You may or may not know this, but some schools do not require the GRE. I put in GRE study tips for every type of person- whether you’re technology challenged or budget-challenged. Check it out soon (like today!)- I think it will be a great benefit to you. There are even resources for the free prep materials. After you delve into that, let me know if you have any more questions or more personal concerns that I can help you with. I think you will really enjoy being a student CRNA and eventually a CRNA!

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