Spot the Difference: CRNA vs Med School
Nurses, in earlier times, have been stereotyped to be just below doctors. When one mentioned the term “nurse,” most would usually say “doctor’s assistant” “reliant on doctors” and many more. However, gone are those days as these days, the nursing profession has advanced dramatically. Various specializations and fields have been opened within the nursing profession, offering nurses the opportunity to work on something that piques their interests as well as the opportunity to grow and learn more. In recent years for example, the road to becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist has been opened.
CRNA vs. Med School
CRNAs are master’s prepared advanced practice nurses who enjoy a high degree of autonomy and professional respect. They provide anesthetics to patients in every practice setting, and for every type of surgery or procedure.
Though this advancement continues to be a pride of nurses and has opened doors to nurses, many are intrigued as to how CRNAs differ from doctors.
CRNA training consists of a master’s degree that lasts up to two to three years. Once in the program, nurses will find the graduate-level work far more demanding than the bachelor of nursing degree courses. This may be due to the wide-ranging medical data that must be memorized.
In many programs, a grade lower than B- is considered equivalent to failing the class. In many states, CRNAs are taking on work that has conventionally belonged to doctors, and mistakes can be fatal. Thus, the rigorous coursework of CRNAs.
While the road to attaining a CRNA degree is challenging, most health care professionals would agree that medical school for doctors is far more severe.
CRNAs, like doctors, take heavier science-based courses like pharmacotherapeutics and pathophysiology. But furthermore, doctors have already taken physiology, microbiology, molecular biology, organic chemistry and biochemistry in their undergraduate years then take a year of histology, pathology, biochemistry and the all-important gross anatomy in their first year of medical school.
After which, they then take a further year of academic science courses prior to two years of clinical training and another two to four years of clinical residency. Basically, it takes six to eight years to finish medical school, compared to the three years of study of CRNAs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that CRNAs earn an average salary of $150,000 to $160,000, depending on location which is more than some primary care doctors make. According to some surveys, primary care doctors were offered an average base salary of $173,000 in 2009 compared to an average base salary of $189,000 offered to certified nurse anesthetists.
So, if your goal is to make a lot of money in a mid-level health care position with fewer years of schooling, then you can opt to be a CRNA.
According to the BLS, CRNAs only make up less than 0.2 percent of all medical professionals, so the field doesn’t have many available jobs.