Student Nurses Visit the OR


David_Karyn_ORLast Friday we were privileged to have several student nurses visit us from the California State University at Long Beach. Friday’s is our conference day with a late start in the operating rooms. This week’s presentation featured a couple of Residents presenting poster boards in preparation for their showing in a couple of weeks before a state assembly. Following the morning conference it was back to the Operating Rooms for the days cases.

The student nurses followed a couple of the CRNA’s until noon and were able to get a glimpse into what we do on a daily basis. For the students it was a good exposure to Nurse Anesthesia practice. This morning I received a note from two of them that I would like to pass along. I have slightly modified the letter to correct a couple of small things and to protect the innocent.

This first letter comes from Chi and details her experience with us at LAC-USC Medical Center:

Dear David,

I wanted to thank you for the wonderful and invaluable experience of shadowing you, your colleagues, and your SRNAs this past Friday. It was a great pleasure to be able to slip into the shoes of a SRNA for a day, an experience that only solidified my decision in pursuing the CRNA route.

From the early morning start to early afternoon, everyone in the program was warm, supportive, and provided a wealth of information. I was immediately drawn in by the warmth and comradery amongst the faculty and students all the while still upholding the impressive professionalism during morning conference. When we gathered for the morning presentations featuring resident speakers presenting their current research findings, I was impressed with how supportive the faculty was as the floor was opened to questions and comments on the presentations. I sensed a safe environment for learning which, in my opinion, can only foster growth and improvement. Even as visiting students on the campus, my fellow classmates and I were invited to participate in the open forums during discussion! As the morning progressed and we were each assigned to shadow a CRNA and his/her student, I was amazed to find how engaged, Karen, the CRNA was during my shadowing experience. I had expected to be her “shadow” instead, she was explaining and teaching me about the various equipments used, the types of drugs and their effects, and even going into “what if” scenarios with me, all the while not skipping a beat with her own SRNA and her patient. I was in absolute awe that one person can do all these multiple tasks and be so efficient in everything!

Aside from getting advice from the faculty and CRNAs about the career and field, I was extremely grateful for the SRNAs’ honest portrayal of the rigorous program. Despite hearing the students confess they sweat blood in the program and having it be the hardest thing they have ever done, every student that I spoke with also said that it was an awesome experience that is well worth the hard work. Again, I just wanted to thank you for this experience and I hope to come back and visit you soon in the very near future.

Chi D. Huynh

The second letter comes from Lisa and reveals her strong desire to pursue graduate level studies. What is important for these nursing students is to have a goal. It is very difficult to reach for such a difficult level of practice such as Nurse Anesthesia so it takes a lot of motivation and time to achieve. These visits and shadow experiences hopefully will provide incentive to keep them driving on through to the next several levels.

Dear David,

It was a genuine pleasure meeting you, Kari, Jim, Karen, Stephanie, JR, Diane, and Hill yesterday. From the very get-go, the CRNAs and SRNAs were warm and welcoming – even with the many questions my classmates and I had!

You patiently and thoroughly answered my questions about USC’s CRNA program, and I greatly appreciated the valuable information and advice you gave me. From the different experiences I would get at a surgical vs. medical ICU and contacting Alice a nurse manager at UCLA; to reading Paul Marino’s “The ICU Book” for preparation as an ICU nurse, I feel more informed in setting up a strong pathway to CRNA school.

What still amazes me about my CRNA shadow experience was not just how knowledgeable and intelligent the CRNA and SRNAs were, but also how supportive and enthusiastic everyone was about our interest in the nurse anesthetist profession. Even at 0530 hours, Kari was excited about us being there and shared different CRNA books and websites to further our knowledge. JR, Stephanie, and Diane (the SRNAs who walked us over for the anesthesia residents’ presentations) were so willing to provide thorough and honest advice about getting into a rigorous CRNA program and also what made them excited to be a part of USC. Also, the morning conference presentations confirmed to us the high level of research and involvement in the anesthesia department at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. We were impressed with the involvement and encouragement of the CRNAs and SRNAs in the department of anesthesia.

Later on in the OR both Jim and Karen were simultaneously focused on teaching their respective SRNAs as well as us observers; I am still excited about seeing my first carina via the fiber optic! How awesome is that!

Thank you again for an experience that has further solidified my decision to pursue the CRNA profession. And if it is OK with you, I hope to keep in touch for advice on my journey to “CRNA-dom.”


Lisa Chong

In the future I am hoping that there will be more opportunity for others to come and visit us. If there are those that would like this experience I encourage you to call the LAC-USC anesthesia department office at (323) 226-4597. Ask for Kari is the best bet and tell here I sent you. I’m sure she will appreciate that!

Till next time keep focused on your goals and pay attention to all of the messages you receive. There may be a key somewhere in there that will open the next door.


Categories : Anesthesia, Student Life


  1. naeborra says:

    Dear David
    Thank you for creating this blog. I’m so glad to have found a site that really answers so many questions about life as a C.R.N.A. I have an extended question that relates to the “Student Nurses Visit the OR” and “Shadowing”posts. I am extremely interested in entering the C.R.N.A. field as a second career. I’m 36, married with two very young children. I’m researching B.S.N. and M.S.N. programs for individuals who already have a degree. I realize the road ahead will be a long one, considering the time it will take to become an RN, then my practical experience in the ICU/CCU department and then my time in a C.R.N.A. program. I definitely have the “fire in the belly” to pursue what looks like to be an extraordinary career and I have my wife’s blessing (a must for sure). Would it be possible for someone like myself, (looking to enter the field, not yet in a program) to visit the OR and perhaps job shadow a C.R.N.A.? I am located in Los Angeles. Any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Hugh Adair

  2. A Nurse says:

    Hello, I’m a nurse student and this post is very helpul to me. Thank you!


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