Sep 3, 2015
2
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Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hi all! I'm current a respiratory therapist, been for 10 yrs now. I'm in need of a change. My thoughts are going to PA school or going to nursing school then CRNA school. I work with them both and see what they do. My biggest concerns are getting a job and of course job satisfaction. I feel like a lot of people go to CRNA school and rumor has it there is a program starting in my area. I don't want to go spend the time and money and struggle to find a job. Can anyone offer suggestions or insight, experience that can help with the decision?
 

TheEarDoc

Audiologist
7+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2010
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The dirty south
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Well for the CRNA route you would first need to get your RN which would take you 2 years at the minimum to get an AD RN. This is of course if you have all the pre-reqs (anatomy, chemistry, biology, stats, etc.) that the program would require and if you did not you would need to take the pre-reqs. Then getting into CRNA programs is very difficult. Usually requires several years of working acute or post surgical care or ICU as an RN before you can even be considered for a program. Then you would have 2 years in the CRNA program before you would be out making money. Also CRNA's are getting close to the saturation point (I have a friend who is one and is lamenting on wages being driven down and competition for these jobs increasing).

The PA programs would require probably more pre-reqs than you have now to be admitted to a program and then you would have 2 years full time before you'd be done with PA school.

Have you thought about doing an accelerated MSN program for FNP? You might have to do some pre-reqs, but you would have you BSN in 1 year (and some programs people work as a BSN while doing the MSN courses for money) and then 2 years to get your FNP.

It really all depends on what you want to do. CRNA you will be sitting in an operating room for sometimes 10 hours at a time doing nothing but monitoring vitals and the machines. I couldn't do it!

PA and FNP you would be seeing lots of patients and could work in a variety of settings and see routine stuff to exotic stuff depending on where you worked or what you specialized in.
 

jwk

CAA, ASA-PAC Contributor
15+ Year Member
Apr 30, 2004
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Atlanta, GA
If you're an RT, also consider the AA route (anesthesiologist assistant). You'll be doing anesthesia in the OR, likely have a lot of the pre-reqs already, and a lot of RT's have made that jump and done very well.
 

pamac

7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2010
1,332
406
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Other Health Professions Student
Find out if AAs have right to practice in your state. You won't have any latitude outside of those areas. Additionally, like a PA, you'll have to be closely aligned with an MD to practice.
 

jwk

CAA, ASA-PAC Contributor
15+ Year Member
Apr 30, 2004
3,654
795
Atlanta, GA
Find out if AAs have right to practice in your state. You won't have any latitude outside of those areas. Additionally, like a PA, you'll have to be closely aligned with an MD to practice.
You are correct. But for someone who is already an RT, AA can be an appealing route. You knock out the 2-3 years needed for nursing school and ICU experience and, assuming one has the prereqs, can go straight into AA school. The geographic limitations are the main stumbling block, but that improves each year, as do the number of schools offering the program.
 

pamac

7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2010
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There are ten schools, most in states that allow AAs to practice. The most recent school is quinnipac, with the previous one accredited in 2012. I wouldn't say it's catching fire, but it is a good option if one is fine with the practice and geographic limitations to the 16 states (as well as all VA facilities and some US territories) that allow for AAs. That's not a minor issue considering the expense of such a program. With CRNA saturation and voice, I was worried about AA becoming a niche career field. The CRNA clearly sees AA as a direct threat, and aren't sitting back to let AAs gain ground that they cleared. I'm also uncomfortable with having it be a job that has no rights to practice in the majority of the country. But becoming a CRNA would take a non nurse several more years, so you might as well even become an MD gas passer rather than CRNA. AA programs have similar prereqs to MD school, so you could even go that route vs AA.
It's a cool concept, at least if AAs had hce requirements that students have been RTs for a few years like the ones CRNAs schools have for critical care nursing experience. RT background is powerful hce.
 
OP
S
Sep 3, 2015
2
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Thanks for the thoughts on this. I have thought of the AA route but my concerns are the limitations and competition. AA and CRNA applying for the same job I feel the AA would be under dogs, for several reasons. I have thought of the Med school route kind of blew it off but not sure why. Realistically length of schooling isn't that different. Job security and demand I would think in favor of the physician. Plus I wouldn't have to be a nurse! ;) JK!! Just teasing. I think some more looking into will be needed.
 

pamac

7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2010
1,332
406
Status
Other Health Professions Student
Dude, I'm sympathetic to anyone not wanting to be a nurse. It's work, and can be good work, but I'm often jealous of the janitors. If I could make $85k buffing a floor and moving around cleaning rooms alone at night instead of trying to get a non compliant patient to do what the doctor needs them to do, I'd probably do it most days. I could do without being spit on and abused by family members of patients of drug seekers who blame me and not their 28 year old kid for struggling with withdrawal from pain meds. There are more good parts than bad, but to skip all that is completely understandable to me. I get a paycheck, not a medal.
 
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