Do You Have The Fire In The Belly?


David in OR2Today I will submit two letters that I have received in this last month. The subject of “desire” has come up frequently in those that have written and has caught fire as it were. The idea that a candidate must have a certain, “Fire in the belly” as coined by Wyne Wagaman, really seems to have ignited a response in those that have written to me recently. Here is a good example:

Dear David,
As I was eagerly reading your blog I could feel my pulse furiously pounding in my neck…. right before I read the part that said
“If you just take a self-check now and measure your pulse you will know.” ….and then I knew I wasn’t crazy, I just have a burning desire for the field.I will begin my BSN studies at Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, St. Louis, MO this coming January. Upon completing my BSN I will then start the path of working my way toward my acceptance into the CRNA program at this same institution.

I am currently an IT professional with AT&T (4 years). I graduated with a BS in Information Systems from Maryville University outside St. Louis, MO in May of 2004. College was a long road for me as I was ill due to what was later discovered as congenital heart defect (ASD), which was successfully repaired mid-college career. This of course was a delay, thus I hastily settled for an IT major knowing my dream was to be a CRNA.

Well… all that aside, the fire has kept burning and I am going to keep it stoked by pursuing my dream. I am VERY excited to begin my nursing studies. I realize I have quite a rigorous road ahead of me, but reading blogs like yours creates even more desire for the challenge.

I am thankful to have read your blog. Congratulations on your hard earned success. One day I will be in your shoes encouraging future CRNA’s.

C. J.
Yes Cindy you seem have the desire. There is a long road ahead but be assured the travel is half of the fun. The destination if part of a life well lived will be filled with good things. Good luck to you. So here is another:
Hello David( aka Professor Plum)
Congratulations on living up to your true destiny, not only a CRNA but a professor also! Remember me, from the CTICU way back when you were down in the trenches?  I came across your blog as recommended by one of your current students.
I am so proud of you! The reason for my email is a plea for help. I resigned from UCLA 12/2007 so that I could be with my love who moved to Oklahoma City. I now live in OKC , the transition was very tough but worth it. During that time I reflected heavily about what it is I actually want to do with my life. I have decided to once again pursue my dream of becoming a CRNA. I guess my ego was shattered by the one and only denied application years ago, I think you were still on the unit , 2003 I believe then.
Anyway, for years I watched many of my fellow coworkers pursue what I wanted enviously but didn’t have the “fire” or confidence in myself since my rejection. Over the years I have been on the front lines in CTICU, even moved up to the ranks of the especially strong- THE CHARGE NURSES- can you believe it? Anyway, enough babbling, I have the fire, the intense desire to pursue this dream. I plan to apply to several programs in Florida, 1 in Maryland, and 2 in Texas. Haven’t taken the GRE yet, but have a good GPA when I graduated form U of Maryl.
What do you think? Any words of wisdom? My experience is strong, I think I interview well, just scared about the GRE I guess. I remember someone, I think it was you, saying to not bother taking the review courses through Kaplan or Princeton Review. Also, what most do you like to see in a personal statement? David, I know it’s been a long time, but as you hopefully recall, I always respected your input. You were one of my senior advisers then and I hope you can give me some pointers now. I hope all is well with you and am looking forward to hearing from you.
Respectfully, M. B.
Recently the number of prospective candidates that have come to our clinical sites for a “shadow experience” has been growing. I think in no small part to the terrific reputation that USC has in the Los Angele’s area. It is such a great privileged to be part of this anesthesia team here at the University of Southern California and to facilitate the entry into nurse anesthesia practice those with sharp minds, great clinical experience and a profound desire to serve their patients while undergoing the rigors of surgical procedures. What a great way to wake up in the morning!
Categories : Anesthesia, General


  1. gfpadilla says:

    I liked the use of “Fire In the Belly” because it reminds me of how I felt in nursing school and how much I wanted to be an ICU nurse at the time. Now I feel that same way about applying to Nurse anesthesia school. There is a fire in my belly- It’s that same excitement I had wanting to work in the SICU at LA county.

  2. WesRN says:

    Hello Everyone,
    I’ve recently finished reading through most, if not all, of the blogs here on the site. I am really impressed and have enjoyed this personal perspective into the field that I haven’t found on other NA websites including the AANA. Reading through this blog has been a real treat and I consider it half pleasure reading and half personal research into a field that I have increasing interest in.
    When I was a nursing student, I must admit that I found the profession to be boring and full of magazine reading. Now as a nurse working in a neurosurgical-surgical-trauma ICU, I admit that I had no idea of the awesome responsibility and greatly expanded knowledge base of the CRNA. Gaining experience with mechanically ventilated patients receiving anesthetic and analgesic drips, I am beginning to realize just how little I know and how much more I want to know about anesthesia.
    This once seemingly “boring” profession is starting to become so very interesting to me as I read websites such as this and as I care for post-surgical ventilated and sedated patients. I also enjoy picking the brains of the anesthesia residents as they do rotations on our unit and find them to be quite knowledgeable.
    I apologize for the long personal story, but I just wanted to say thank you for the great insight of all those who have contributed to this site from every step of the journey.
    David, I must congratulate you on your hard earned achievements! Reading through the older blogs gives us an idea of how strenuous this journey really is. The great tips on applying to CRNA school and surviving once your in…have been helpful to many I’m sure.
    Finally, living so close to USC in neighboring San Bernardino county I can’t help but inquire if you or your colleagues would be interested in taking on yet another “shadow.” Please e-mail me when you find some free time. Thanks again.


  3. David Godden says:


    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. You nailed it for me. That is exactly what it’s all about.


  4. Hello there, I believe your website might be having browser compatibility
    issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in IE, it has
    some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!
    Aside from that, excellent blog!

  5. David Roy says:

    Thanks working on it.

  6. Dante says:

    This blog is awesome! Thanks David for your insight. I have been working on my goal to become a CRNA and today I have my first shadowing experience. It is so surreal and I am very nervous. I’ve started applying to a few schools already and will be applying to a couple more. The journey to become a CRNA is no easy task and I am looking forward to the challenges.

  7. David Roy says:

    Good luck to you and yes the journey is tough and long but the rewards are worth it. I tell my students all the time that they have to put in the work both academically and clinically. Our patients deserve only the best care possible and I believe that Nurse Anesthetists can provide that. Now don’t go hysterical, we need physicians too. That phrase drives people nuts, “the best possible care” so I will leave that to the debaters. For me I am just interested in taking care of patients.

  8. Garrett Kitt says:

    Professor G,
    Thank you for keeping this blog going over the years. For those of you considering anesthesia training to become a CRNA please do yourself a favor and roll through this site and make sense of some the posts as prep suggestions and jump off to your thoughts and visions for what training will look like for you. As you will see there are plenty of resources to read, listen, and rationalize as to what anesthesia training will be. I have read this post and others on this site quite a few times over the last 3 years and although there are plenty I agree with and others I question, I know this site will give you access to people and some of the bare bones questions I wanted to know before applying and while attending graduate training in nurse anesthesia; e.g., what should I be reading, what can I think about while working in critical care currently to help prep for anesthesia training, etc.

    When asked at the beginning of anesthesia school about what I was thinking about or what goals I had, one of my first statements / questions I said to my program director was…, it is important to me to learn how to think like a CRNA, how to think like someone who administers anesthesia. I thought this statement / question would bury me in the bowels of anything thought good about me. I just knew at the time that this was embarrassing but I went for it; mostly on the premise that I had already paid tuition (an expensive one) and that I could not go forward without asking. Thankfully, amongst other wonderful things, she did me a favor and slowed down my approach to grad school and I am still here.

    As excellent examples, this is what I am thinking about today while preparing for an exam (and most days); I will leave these here and maybe I have said them previously.

    1. One of our beloved, 5-star, and most incredible instructors told us to quickly learn how we learn. Although seemingly a simple statement, it has proven worthy in order to stay on track mentally, make progress, and to ensure a system is in place for learning, studying, etc.
    2. If you don’t already know this, the prep is everything; and then prep again. Enough said.
    3. How do you know something? Connecting “the dots” will make many concepts and raw info make a home in deep operational memory. Still a work in progress for me; probably forever
    4. Constantly ask, what am I missing? A good way to review / scan what is in front of you so you don’t %$#* up something easily missed.
    5. Patient safety and comfort come before everything else, including my popularity.
    6. Know why you are doing something. If you don’t know “why” then it’s probably a bad idea.
    7. ***Advanced concept for me. Know why to do (or give) something, and why to not.

    All of these I picked up from remarkably amazing people I have had a chance to train with during my clinical experiences. Simple but more than effective. As an evolving and developing list maybe it answers my question from the first week or maybe it will help someone else who has similar questions as an intro or to avoid feeling awkward as I did. Not that I am correct (but I did get accepted) or this list is the way to think for a person providing anesthesia as evidenced by a highly powered PRCT supported in a systematic lit review, but these and a few others have gotten me this far. Thank you to those who supported me and to those who will. I will pay it forward gladly.

    Keep surrounding yourself with what you are becoming and let everything else take care of itself,
    GK (2nd year SRNA)

  9. David Roy says:

    Thank you sir


Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

website security