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I want to become a certified nurse anesthetist. What is the best educational path to take for this career?

Thursday February 7, 2013
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Dear Donna,

I am interested in nursing school and would like to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. Should I start by getting an LPN or RN degree at a community college or attend a four-year college and work on a BSN? Which is the best educational path to take for this career?

Future CRNA

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Future CRNA,

Without question, you should enroll in a four-year BSN program. Once a student nurse, join the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (www.aacn.org) as a student member. This will help to prepare you for an ICU job when you get out of school, usually necessary before enrolling in a CRNA course.

Some students enter nursing school with one career path in mind, but change their mind once they learn about other specialties and opportunities. So that is certainly a possibility in your case. The good thing is that you don't have to make that decision until you are finished with school. Either way, the four-year college program is the way to go.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.