Welcome

I am a certified registered nurse anesthetist employed at an academic medical center in a major metropolitan city. I also work in numerous private practice settings.

In 2014, I graduated from a nurse anesthesia program with over $130K in student loan debt. I don’t have any credit card debt. I rent. I’m a classic HENRY: high earner, not rich yet (tongue in cheek).

So, what kind of site is this? To be honest, I can’t define it. This site was originally developed to serve as a guide for prospective individuals interested in pursuing nurse anesthesia as a career due to the fact that I remember having a very difficult time finding information about how to get into a program aside from a handful of nursing discussion forums that one accidentally comes across during their search.

Additionally, I’ve noticed that there have been a dearth of blogs aimed at providing tips to the new grad CRNA on managing their personal finances. I’ll be honest. As an RN, I never really thought about retirement. Sure, I saved some money in a 403(b), but I could never really discern the difference between a 403(b), 457(b), or 401(k). Terms like asset allocation and diversification meant nothing to me.

I also had an interest in private practice but had a difficult time finding someone who worked in private or knew someone who worked in that arena. Additionally, it’s not like anyone readily shares information about what it’s like to work in a private practice setting. For whatever reason, CRNAs (at least in my neck of the woods) are very secretive about working outside jobs. Go figure.

Well, that’s all about to change because this blog details my experience of getting into school, what my life was like during school, and what my life has been like as CRNA. This site is basically an accumulation of information I’ve gathered over the years and hopefully you’ll find some of this information useful. In no way, shape, or form am I an authority on any of the topics I’m writing about. I’m a CRNA. My only job is to provide a safe anesthetic to a patient. Everything else is just filler, but I’m going to do my damnedest to share what kind of filler I’ve discovered. If you happen to notice some factual errors, then I encourage you to call me out because at the end of the day, there’s too much information in this world for one to act like he/she knows everything.

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12 thoughts on “Welcome

  1. Thank you for putting yourself out there for us to all learn from your experiences. I’m a future SRNA, prepping my apps for attempt #2 to get in. Gave in and now studying for the GRE so I have more options available. Hoping to learn something valuable from your blog.

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  2. I honestly have just combing through your website for about a half hour or so. I am a new grad nurse with aspirations of going to CRNA school. Keep making content, I love the advice and tips. With the softer financial guidance outlooks for 2019-2020, will you continue to invest in stocks at the same ratios or will you allocate more money to cash & RE investments? It is interesting to hear your take.

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    1. Hi! Thanks for reading and I appreciate the compliments. In answer to your question re: my finances, yes indeed I intend to continue allocating my assets in equities mainly because I’ve got 20-30 years (hopefully 20) of work ahead of me. Quite frankly, I’m not concerned if my retirement portfolio or even my brokerage portfolio goes to hell. #1) I’m not a financial guru nor do I believe I can outsmart the market. #2) I subscribe to the efficient market hypothesis. Because of that, it circles me back to #1. At the end of the day, if I don’t believe I can outsmart the market (which I can’t because my full time job is anesthetizing people as opposed to being a financial trader), then I’m going to focus on index funds that mimic the stock market. Over a long term horizon, it’s basically a given you’ll average 6-8% annual growth on your investments, which is fine by me. #3) I’m in the beginning stages of owning rental property. I currently own a duplex that is zoned for 6 units, so my focus over the next few years is to develop that property and hopefully move on to other RE projects. I guess we’ll see where this path takes me.

      Congratulations on starting as a new grad! That’s exciting! My only piece of advice is stay open to the possibilities with advancing your career. Anesthesia is okay. It’s really not what you think it to be. Make sure that the next jump in graduate school is in a field you’re passionate about and that you’re interested in learning about. Additionally, I’d also make sure your personal life (though that’s not always in our control) is in order before you begin a 3 year journey of getting a clinical doctorate. It’s taxing on you and the people around you. It’s always taxing on the wallet! Financing graduate school is no joke and any new CRNA can attest to the sticker shock of the amount they have to pay back in student loans when they start working. These are all factors (practical matters) that should cross your mind before you take the plunge….Good luck!

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  3. That is a sound plan and good advice for me. It also sounds like you found a property with lots of potential growth.

    Thank you for your response as well.

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  4. Love your site. Just found it today and have read just about everything you have written. I just finished my first quarter of a DNP-CRNA program in Southern California and found what you had to say very relevant and helpful. I’d love to chat with you more about our experience, especially with the student loans and business-side of things, as I progress in the program. I’m also curious to hear where you are working. Best of luck!

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    1. Thanks for the feedback! Congrats on completing your first quarter. I imagine you must be at USC. There’s a possibility that we may cross paths when you begin your clinical rotation. πŸ™‚

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  5. I’ve been visiting your site for weeks now as this year I am applying to CRNA school. In my application, I am most struggling with writing a curriculum vitae. Do you have any tips or ticks on writing one or how to highlight the important things? Any advice is appreciated!

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    1. https://lifeasacrna.com/2017/02/02/job-resume-past-present/

      I’ll refer you to this post I made a couple years ago. It was basically the same template I used when I applied to CRNA school. Keep it short, simple and easy to read. You want them (interviewer) to peruse it in 20-30 seconds and then let them ask the questions…do not go into great detail with you CV. Focus on buzzwords cause like an advertisement, you want to elicit their interest. Don’t put anything in your CV that you can’t discuss at length. All you’re doing with the CV is providing a brief glimpse of who you are. You WANT them to ask you questions because that gives you the opportunity to communicate who YOU are and it allows you to differentiate yourself from everyone else. It’s obvious that every applicant will have a high GPA, work at a major medical center, work in the ICU, be on different committees, and maybe even have a couple of publications…but you want to develop a CV that highlights who you are in a nutshell and gets you into an interview where you’ll really be able to show them who you are. Hopefully the CV I’ve shared in my previous post will be helpful. It got me into all of the nurse anesthesia programs I applied to and it even got me the jobs I sought out when I graduated.

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  6. Can you give us a little insight on work/life balance? Do you work A LOT? What does your schedule look like now as a CRNA? I imagine it’s not 3, 12 hour shifts per week…

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    1. Sure no prob. I work 3 12s at my primary job and I moonlight across multiple surgery centers. Generally, the way I make my schedule is as follows and in answer to your question, I do work a lot. I generally stack my days every month so that I can get 7-8 consecutive days off, in which I end up going on mini excursions across the country with my wife. Then every 5-6 months, my wife and I take 3.5-4 weeks and go on an international vacation. So, yes, while I do work a lot of hours on the days that I am scheduled (for example, I’ll do a morning shift at a surgery center and then drive to my primary W2 job and work the evening shift, but the good news about the evening shift is that it’s usually pretty quiet so I get about 4-5 hours of sleep), I also feel being able to take a week off every month and taking 3.5-4 weeks off every 5-6 months is a pretty good tradeoff. I guess it depends on your perspective, but personally, I feel like I’ve been able to strike a nice balance between work and play. Obviously, I’d like to work less, but not the expense of sacrificing my financial goals along with affording my leisure activities. After all, what’s the point of making money if you’re not going to enjoy it?

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  7. I just want to take a quick moment to say thank you for taking the time and effort to put together this incredible resource. I am an aspiring SRNA and applied to one school thus far; the rejection letter left me feeling like I won’t achieve my dream, but your site is leaving me hopeful that I can improve my personal statement, resume, etc. and work hard to make my dream a reality! I look forward to spending many hours reading through your site πŸ™‚

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