11 Things I Learned Within My First Year of CRNA School
1. DON'T compete with or compare yourself to fellow students. Let me tell you, EVERY student in your program is going to be "smart." So save yourself the anxiety attacks and learn to not dwell on what others make on assignments and tests. This also means don't worry about how much more another student may know than you. As long as you put in the effort, you will learn everything you need to know before boards and I promise, you will enjoy your SRNA experience somuch more.
2. You don't have to make an A in every class. DON'T KILL YOURSELF trying to get all A's. This was difficult for me and I definitely had a few break downs during my second semester. But at the end of the day, this is a terminal degree and no anesthesia group is going to ask what your grade was in Theory & Philosophy. All they care about is if you passed boards. To sum it up, it's okay if you get a B.
3. Speaking of boards... When studying for your exams, focus on board review books and their questions. I like using APEX and Valley because that's what our faculty encourages. Your faculty will want you to pass your boards just as much as you do because it effects the school's accreditation, and lets be honest... it flat out looks bad if they have a low pass rate.
4. Don't buy every book on the book list. Seriously. It's a waste of money. You can find so many of these books on PDFs just by google searching. Also, your upper levels may have PDF copies that were passed down to them. Just ask.
5. Sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut. It's a tad blunt, I know. But it's the honest truth. Don't speak out against your faculty and preceptors, especially in a public settings. You will go much further in your program once you learn to keep your complaints and negative comments to yourself. Don't be, "that person." In addition, you don't ALWAYS have to add your two cents. Sometimes, you'll find yourself learning more by just sitting back and listening.
6. When it comes to drama, remain neutral or just avoid it altogether. After all, you don't want your name to be linked in with the gossipers and trouble makers. Yes, we should all be adults at this point but sometimes adults can be worse than children.
7. Be early. Get into this habit from the very beginning... Lectures... Rotations... Your faculty and preceptors have a life as well so when you show up late, it comes off as if their time isn't important.
8. Speaking of being early... Give yourself plenty of time to switch back to day shift if you were previously a vampire living on nights. This was a huge hurdle for me to overcome. I constantly found myself falling back in to my night shift routine and staying awake until 3-4 am studying. Eventually this became a huge problem. Predominately on test days because I couldn't get my body to fall asleep at a normal time. In turn, I would get about 1-2hrs of sleep which heavily reflected in my test scores. So keep this in mind, night shifters!
9. Never underestimate the value of small talk with your peers, faculty, preceptors, and even random hospital workers. Obviously there is a time and place but when appropriate, get to know them. I know this isn't always easy. Personally, I've never been one to spark up conversations with strangers either, but working at the bedside helped me to be more comfortable with this obstacle.
10. A good piece of advise that was passed down to me: allow yourself to continue having 3 hobbies/activities while in school. Anesthesia school is busy and you can't maintain the same event filled life you previously had. School is jammed packed with classes, studying, and rotations. However with that being said, you should still give yourself time to enjoy some of your favorite activities. This could be exercising, family time, reading, watching movies, blogging, etc. I wouldn't spread yourself too thin by tacking on several activities because eventually you are going to fall behind in school. And I would really discourage working, unless it's PRN.
11. Last but not least, be humble. Don't gloat about your acceptance into school, grades, and so forth. Humility will take you far in life. Being a CRNA is a privilege and with every encounter you have, you are representing your school and our CRNA community.