Episode 3

Episode 3: Best Resources For CRNA School

Mar 14, 2021

CRNA 3 | CRNA Resources

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Hey, future CRNA! Wherever you are on your path to CRNA, you’ve got a lot on your plate! Trying to comb through and absorb all of the different resources, guides, and informational tid-bits that are available to you can feel like a daunting task. Especially on top of your current workload.
For today’s episode, we walk through the most credible, useful, and mostly FREE resources that you can utilize to help you see success on the way to CRNA!
Enjoy, and happy learning!
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Best Resources For CRNA School

We are going to talk about resources for you to utilize right now, no matter where you are, whether you’re a nursing student, a current SRNA, or an ICU nurse. These are resources you can start utilizing now to help you achieve your goal of becoming a CRNA. One thing that is truly amazing is how much is out there on the internet these days for you to absorb and take in. A lot of it is free.
From very early on in my career as CRNA, I was utilizing resources, but there were not nearly the amount of resources as there are now. For example, one of the things I did was I bought a lot of anesthesia books, ICU books or critical care books, and pharmacology books prior to gaining acceptance. I would study pharmacology and pathophys for ICU knowledge. I would also utilize various websites to challenge myself with a question of the day.
I’m excited to share with you how much there is out there. I have counted 48 resources. There’s probably more. It is going to be a continuously growing list of resources out there, but these have been recommendations from my students and fellow SRNAs on all the different resources they have used over the years to help them get where they are. Without further ado, I’m going to go ahead and introduce some of these topics or resources to you. I’m going to hit the main ones and the ones that are the most commonly talked about or the top ones in this show. You’re going to have access to the entire PDF download with all the resources, so let’s dive in.

CRNA 3 | CRNA Resources

CRNA Resources: Vargo is an extremely comprehensive educational app. It has pediatrics, open-heart, and every type of anesthetic you can imagine. It’s a one-time purchase but it updates frequently.

YouTube (e.g. Ninja Nerd, ICU Advantage, Dirty Medicine)

One of the first resources I want to cover is YouTube. It has tons of free content on there. Now, there’s a subscription-based YouTube. I’m not as familiar with that, but even so, there are still tons of free content regardless of subscriptions. Most of those subscriptions are relatively affordable. If you did want to get the content, some of those are as cheap as $5 a month. Hopefully, you can still find a lot of good free stuff based on what I give you here, but you don’t have to always pay for content. Some of it is just there, and it’s been there for free for years.
One of the sites I hear most commonly recommended, especially for nursing students and nurses who are new to the ICU is something like Ninja Nerd. It goes into a lot of different sciences, anatomy, and pathophysiology. It is one of the most common names out there that I hear thrown around by nurses that come to me and my students. Check it out on YouTube.
The next one that is also a great resource is called ICU Advantage. Again, this is a great resource for ICU nurses. I had never heard of this YouTube channel until one of my students told me. It’s awesome. There are tons of different topics on here. What a great easy way to learn ICU knowledge without having to read a book, which I’m all for because I hate reading a book.
It's truly amazing how much is out there on the internet these days for you to absorb and take in. And a lot of it is free. Click To Tweet
Next, I’m going to get into some YouTube channels that are good for SRNAs. One of that is Dirty Medicine, and now this could be good for ICU nurses and nurses alike as well. What I like about Dirty Medicine for SRNAs is this one is tricks for memorizing anatomy and pathophysiology. That’s essential, especially as an SRNA. You’re going to be hit with not only sensory overload but information overload. The more memory tricks you can find to help you remember things in an efficient way, the better off you’re going to be.

Podcasts (e.g. EMCrit, ACCRAC, Apex Live)

Those are the YouTube channels that I would suggest at this point. If you want to get more into actual anesthesia, probably one of my favorite ones that goes over actual anesthesia is called Count Backwards From 10, which is by an anesthesiologist. He’s great and has a great channel on YouTube to follow. Now, we’re going to dive into podcasts. I should have referenced this show by telling you guys to have a pen and paper handy.
Let’s dive into some podcasts that are highly recommended by students. One of the first ones I want to recommend for ER and ICU nurses is EMCrit. Maybe you’re already familiar with it. It’s an excellent podcast. He goes over a lot of anatomy pathophysiology processes during the actual podcast. The next one I’m going to mention to you is an anesthesia podcast that’s excellent. It’s abbreviated as ACCRAC, and it stands for Anesthesia and Critical Care Reviews and Commentary. They go over pharmacology, pathophysiology, and actual anesthesia itself. It’s a great podcast. A lot of my students listen to that podcast. Even if you’re not a current SRNA, it never hurts to start learning early. It can only help you, so check it out.

CRNA 3 | CRNA Resources

CRNA Resources: Don’t go out and buy books based on someone else’s program. You want to make sure you’re getting the books your program tells you to get or you might get the wrong one.

Another great one is APEX Live. Again, this is for anesthesia and board preparation. Some of the concepts and lectures may be way over your head. What I would encourage you to do is look at the topics of the lecture of the podcast that day and see whether you can relate them to ICU knowledge. The reason why they have you get ICU experience is because a lot of it crosses over into anesthesia. You’ll be able to find some of these podcast episodes helpful, even though they’re going into anesthesia because it’s ICU related, so check it out.
The last one I’m going to recommend for podcasts is Student Nurse Anesthesia. Again, if you’re an ICU nurse, this is going to be actual anesthesia, but it will give you a good introduction to what it’s like to be an SRNA because this podcast is run by two SRNAs, who are in the thick of it as SRNAs going through clinicals. For me, going into school, I would have been very interested in this podcast. Even as a current SRNA, it’s a great resource to get case studies.
What they do is if they pick case studies, let’s say carotid, do a TAVR, lap chole, or do a pediatric episode- they’ll go over the types of anesthetics they do for those particular cases. It’s going to give you an in-depth or an insider look into what it’s like to be an SRNA. Whether you’re a current SRNA or soon-to-be one, it’s going to be great information that’s going to serve you in the long run. That would be another good one to check out.
It's key to be organized as an SRNA. Your phone calendar is not enough. The Any.do app should help you stay organized. Click To Tweet

Educational Websites (e.g. Deranged Physiology, Visible Body, How Equipment Works)

Next, we’re going to get into some educational websites. There’s a lot out there, and they’re really good. One of the ones I want to hit on first is called Deranged Physiology. This is ICU management. This site is chock-full of tons of free content. It’s awesome. I hope that you take advantage of it. It’s full of ICU information. This would be a great place. If you picked a page to read every time you’re at work on a particular topic that interests you or maybe based on what type of patient you’re taking care of that night to learn about and to learn about your patient’s pathophysiology, I promise you, it will not only serve you well for the interview, but it will serve you well as your time and as an SRNA in school.
The next one is called VisibleBody.com. The reason why I chose this one is because it gives you free downloadable anatomy and other pieces of information that are sometimes in 2D or 3D images, especially if you’re practicing things like the airway. For example, there are some schools that will give a picture of the trachea and have you label different parts of the trachea, the hyoid bone, or the cricothyroid membrane. That could be a great resource for you to utilize that could help you learn airway anatomy.
Same with heart anatomy, I know schools that will give you a blank picture of the heart and have you trace the blood flow through the heart. You not only have to know all the branches of the aorta, but you have to know all the valves in the heart and all that stuff too. It will be a great way for you to practice your anatomy.

CRNA 3 | CRNA Resources

Pocket Anesthesia

For current SRNAs, there are some things on here, like the pulse oximeter, which are very important for an ICU nurse to know. Same with capnography, you should also know about end-tidal co2 monitoring and how that works. This website for SRNAs also has tons of information about vaporizers and various anesthesia equipment, like soda lime absorbers that we use; it’s called HowEquipmentWorks.com. This would be useful for even ICU nurses and SRNAs alike. That wraps up the educational websites. I have several more, but as I said, all those are going to be put onto the PDF.

Apps (e.g. Vargo, Any.do, Notability)

Next, we’re going to go into some apps and these are going to be educational apps for you. One of the first ones and the most common ones that my students use and I have as well, and it is massive and full of information, is Vargo. I don’t think you should buy it prior to starting school. Although, if you did, it’s a one-time purchase so you wouldn’t have to repeat it and they do update it. If you look at it that way, it is a safe thing to buy prior to school because you’re not going to have to replace it. They do always update it once you purchase it. You’re updated for life.
Every now and then they run it on sale. Normally, it’s right around $100. You can get it on sale for $89.99 or something like that. You can keep an eye out for that. They do have an IG that you can follow. They will announce periodically when they run sales. It’s extremely comprehensive. It goes into pediatrics, open heart, every type of anesthetic you can imagine, code doses of different types of medication, and everything based on weight. It’s a great app. You wouldn’t be wrong to purchase that ahead of time, but I would see most utilizing it as an SRNA, you would utilize it all the time, especially as a new SRNA who wasn’t familiar with weight-based dosing yet.
Just because you're book smart does not mean you're still capable of achieving anything you want. Click To Tweet
The next one I’m going to recommend is called Airway EX. What is cool about this app is it’s a virtual reality app or it takes you through the airway, and you can intubate someone. You can go in with a fiber optic scope, look down into their lungs, and go to the right lobe and left lobe. It’s neat. It’s something you need to check out. I believe there’s a paid version of it, but I also know that there’s a free version. You can play around with it for free. I thought it would be worth mentioning.
The last app that I’m going to mention, even though it’s not the last app, there are quite a few more, is the MGH Handbook of Clinical Anesthesia. It’s an app, it’s free, and awesome. Might as well get it now again. As an SRNA, you’ll use it and I’m sure there could be some topics in there that could relate back to the ICU that you could learn ahead of time.
We’re going to break into a little bit of study apps. Some of the most common ones I hear used. There are several, but the most common one that students use are Quizlet, which is for flashcards. The other one I had never heard of, but when I looked into it, I was like, “That’s pretty neat.” The fact is to like both Quizlet and then this other one I’m going to share- your class can be on in a group. You can share flashcards with classmates. The next one is Kahoot!. It’s game-based learning where you can make your own quizzes. Again, you can share it with your classmates or your classmates can make quizzes, and then you can take them. I thought that was pretty neat.

CRNA 3 | CRNA Resources

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

Next, we’re going to touch on organization, which is key for an SRNA to be organized, whether you prefer to do it on paper or use your calendar on your phone. There’s also an app called Any.Do. It’s a great way to stay organized. It will give you notifications like when you put your next exam date. Again, you can essentially use your iPhone for the same reason, but this app has more features than the calendar on your actual iPhone or android phone.
As far as apps go, we’re going to wrap this up with some lecture apps. Some apps that are by far the most common lecture app or note-taking app that’s out there is Notability. The reason why students like Notability, from what I hear, is that it will allow you to record your notes and highlight particular things and bookmark that for you. When you’re going back through your lectures or the recordings, you can highlight a topic and go right to it. It keeps your spot and allows you to easily reference back to a particular topic that you know you want to make sure you hit.
There are several, but that’s the most commonly used one. I believe it’s only with an iPad. The one that HP users or Kindle users is Notion. It’s very similar in function. I don’t know if it has all the same features, but I do know if you have a Kindle or HP pad, your options may be somewhat limited compared to the Apple users.

Supplemental Books (e.g. Pocket Anesthesia, Make It Stick, Grit)

CRNA 3 | CRNA Resources

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

We’re going to move on to books. These are meant as supplemental books. Your school is going to give you a list of books so please don’t go out and buy books based on someone else’s program because you may end up having to buy different books. You want to make sure you’re getting the books your program tells you to get. Also, keep in mind too you can find a lot of books on PDF right now for very cheap, if not free. If you’re open to a PDF book, know that you can get them at a much lesser cost.
These are some supplemental books. I’m not going to go over anesthesia books because your program will tell you what they want you to have. One of my all-time favorite supplemental books that I had during school and that students still use is called Pocket Anesthesia. That book is so condensed full of good information, concise to the point, and tells you what you need to know. There’s no fluff in it. I don’t like fluff.
This book will tell you what you need to know and gets right to the point. It’s small enough to where you can easily carry it with you for the day. It wasn’t overly cumbersome or thick. The pages were thin. I do remember the pages would tear easily, so you had to be careful with how you open the pages in it, but I put little tabs all throughout that little book and labeled the tabs, so I knew what sections I could easily flip to.
Next, this book is called Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. This book is recommended by programs themselves prior to students starting school. Some programs have their students read this book prior to starting school because as I mentioned in the previous episode, some students may not even struggle in school academically but may get to anesthesia school and struggle. Even though they were able to get good grades, they still did not have a good foundation for study habits.
It’s so important to address this issue prior to school. I think Make It Stick is a great book for you to invest in and read. They probably have it on audiobook. I can’t stand reading. I despise it. I love audiobooks. I almost feel like everything these days comes in audio. Make sure you’re checking it out and see if it’s available there.
Another great book that’s an audiobook and by far one of my favorites is called Grit by Angela Duckworth. She has her PhD. What she studies is grit. Essentially, because just you’re book smart does not mean you’re still capable of achieving anything you want. It plays more into your grit score versus your book smart or how well you do academically.
I find that topic myself very fascinating. Maybe just that’s me, coming from my background of potentially not being a good student. I am now, but I didn’t use to be. I liked the idea of grit. She’s a great author. That’s an audiobook, but I think it has a physical book too, but that’s Angela Duckworth. Check her out. That summarizes a good amount of stuff for you as we get started. I know that was a lot that I covered. I have a lot more to share with you. Be sure to check out the PDF. I look forward to seeing you guys next time. Have a good day.

Important Links

Get access to planning tools, valuable CRNA Faculty guidance & mapped out courses that have been proven to accelerate your CRNA success! Become a member of CRNA School Prep Academy here:

Book a mock interview, resume edit or personal statement critique:
Join the CSPA email list: https://www.cspaedu.com/podcast-email
Send Jenny an email or make a podcast request!
Join us at the CRNA School Prep Academy Conference!


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