Why I Became a CRNA

Janice J. Izlar, DNAP, CRNA

  • Nov 3, 2008

CRNA since 1976

Janice IzlarDuring my surgical rotation in nursing school, I fell in love with the OR atmosphere. I felt completely at home. Even though I liked both scrubbing and circulating in the OR, I did not envision doing either for a lifetime. The nurse anesthetists picked up on my passion and talked to me about a career in nurse anesthesia. Their work and passion led me to apply to a nurse anesthesia school while still in nursing school.
No one person inspired me, but the group of CRNAs and students in the nurse anesthesia program at Watts Hospital showed me the rewards of the profession. The skills, knowledge, professionalism, and passion of CRNAs coupled with the autonomous CRNA practice possibilities appealed to me.
The unlimited opportunities for practice as a CRNA are what I like most about being a CRNA. No matter what you want in a career, you can make it happen in nurse anesthesia. You can work a little or a lot, incorporating flexible hours and a quality lifestyle. You can make a little money or lot of money. You can take care of very sick, high-risk patients or you can choose a less stressful patient care mixture.
I am proud to say I have been a CRNA for 32 years. When I first entered the profession, I thought I never wanted to be an “old CRNA.” At that time old was about 40! I continued to work past 40, continue to work after 50 and have no plans to ever retire simply because I love the day-to-day administration of anesthesia.
I have worked in North Carolina, Georgia, and Oklahoma. My husband was told by a recruiter, “Great, your wife has a mobile career.” Meaning CRNAs can work anywhere they choose. Professionally it has given me confidence, knowledge, and the desire to be the best I can be at whatever I choose to do. I have developed friendships with individuals from every state. It has given me a sense of belonging to a very large family.
Through my work with the state and national organizations, I realize the importance of staying current with knowledge. I constantly strive to give each patient the very best individualized care possible. I also realize the vast opportunities and encourage others to pursue a career in nurse anesthesia.
My passion and love for the profession continues to grow every year. I could never have imagined finding a career that doesn’t get old or stale. Every day offers new challenges; every day I enjoy meeting those challenges.
To those interested in a career in nurse anesthesia – shadow a CRNA and learn about the profession. You will quickly learn that CRNAs are very happy and satisfied with their work and career choice. When you decide on a career, find one that makes you happy for a lifetime.
For those just joining the profession – enjoy this progressive, rewarding, professional career. Keep fighting for the profession! We are fortunate to have earned the respect of legislators, regulators, administrators and the public. Don’t take it for granted. Continue to uphold the profession and constantly increase the opportunities for CRNAs. Practice to the best of your ability and keep the grassroots public relations efforts strong until we are not a healthcare secret.