#26 – Hardship in Anesthesia School – Jon Lowrance, MSN, CRNA

In this show I talk about hardship in anesthesia school. Yep. It is for you, actually.  It’s for you if you’re struggling.  Or even if you’re not – cause your classmate or colleague might be.

This podcast is about the hardships we face in anesthesia school and how we can find help, cope and pull through to a brighter future.  It’s about knowing you’re not alone.  It’s about learning how to deal with the pain and the challenges and how to find help.

To develop this show, I asked for help from my friends, colleagues and from the anesthesia social media world.  Many of you replied with your stories and advice.  I pulled together what I’ve heard and a little of what I went through personally and put it here, for you, for each of us.

I want you to know this:

If you’re struggling with suicidal ideation or drug abuse there is help available.

You are important.  You are not alone.  Your life is important and people care about you.

Please seek help and support.  Please tell someone what you’re facing.   Please call one of the numbers below and reach out to a friend, family member or colleague.

Help is available.  You are not alone.  People care about you.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline   1-800-273-8255  

AANA Peer Assistance Hotline 1-800-654-5167

National Helpline 1-800-662-4357


Anesthetists in Recovery

Overview of Anesthetists in Recovery (AIR) and Partners of Anesthetists in Recovery (PAIR):

Bertrand, Anita.  (2013).  Saving Lives: AIR/PAIR.  AANA NewsBulletin.  Retrieved from:



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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6 comments on “#26 – Hardship in Anesthesia School – Jon Lowrance, MSN, CRNA
  1. Monica Grigor says:

    I needed to hear this because I am struggling with feeling like I’m a failure. I know I’m not a failure but the feelings I have of poor performance on exams just crushes me. I started the program weighing a healthy 145 lb and currently with almost 7 months under my belt, 125lbs. It’s like I’m watching me melt away bc I am too busy studying to eat. Self care…they don’t tell you that you may go for 4 days with out showering bc you prioritize studying over bathing. Bc you are trying to get ahead. That you have to learn how to live again by yourself as in my case and want to cook. Vicious cycle of seeing eating bathing as chores rather than self care that is deserving. I was almost lost but thank God my fiancé and some classmates noticed the invincible
    Bc that’s how you feel
    Invincible and no one cares
    I’m not suicidal but am suffering from depression since the start of program
    I was happy before school, going out and having a life
    Anesthesia school just punches you in the ovaries

    • admin says:


      Thanks for sharing your story! I’m sorry to hear that things have been so difficult for you. I appreciate your honesty about how hard it is and the challenge of doing simple things – like keeping your health up. I would encourage you to take care of your body! Finding (fighting and clawing for) a balance in sleep, nutrition and exercise will only help you along the way. You’ll think better, handle stress better, be happier, and on and on. It’s tough – you have to give up many things. But find time for yourself or make quicker/smarter choices. I found drinking a protein powder shake (chocolate) with chocolate soy milk and a banana was a great/quick/healthy/filling snack that takes about 90 seconds to make. I’m still drinking them daily now – a habit that started in anesthesia school. Whatever it is, try to find balance. You’ll be better off once it’s all over and you’re enjoying life as a CRNA! Thanks, again, for sharing! – Jon

  2. Diane says:

    Had to do 24 hr shifts at least once or twice a week in school- I made it to the call room a total of 3 times and one of those was interrupted by a bomb threat. Had a former school mate commit suicide on duty. Had to send a fellow co worker (former school mate) to drug rehab. There was no help when I was in school 25 years ago and it is much needed. People don’t understand the degree of emotional shutdown necessary to get through school. I suffered severe physical trauma and had to work twice as hard to get through because of it. I was warned that a group of women always picked out a female in the current class and made her life hell- since the other women dropped out I was that person by default.

    I finally quit anesthesia after doing it for 20 years and suffered a 3 year period of black depression that is still hurting my life 10 years later.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry to hear about the difficult aspects both for you and your classmates/colleagues. I was just discussing last night with a CRNA colleague while we were working an evening/night shift that anesthesia is a job unlike most in terms of the accumulated stress load experienced by providers over a career. I hope that you are able to find the support needed to manage the challenges you have faced! Again, thank you for sharing your story.

  3. Jacob Demar says:

    What sort of research has been done as far as the design of these CRNA programs ?
    a) Can CRNA programs be 4-5 years long – allowing RNs to work <20hrs/week ?
    b) My program uses students to stock rooms, carts and to do preop charting on our downtime, they also only employ a 1 Anesthesia tech on weekdays – is this a common thing ?

    • admin says:

      CRNA programs follow core requirement set for by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (http://home.coa.us.com/accredited-programs/Pages/CRNA-School-Search.aspx). a) I do not know of any programs that have been lengthened to allow part-time enrollment so that students can continue to work as RNs. b) Programs routinely expect SRNAs to become familiar with all aspects of anesthesia care. Stocking rooms and doing preop assessments are an expected part of most anesthesia programs.

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