Why I Became a CRNA

Ryan Pettit, DNP, CRNA

  • Dec 18, 2017

CRNA Since 2015

Ryan Pettit, DNP, CRNAMy path to becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) was neither easy nor linear. My first degree was in finance, and after the stock market crash in 2008, my career in real estate development was put on hold.

After doing some soul-searching, career counseling, and a number of personality tests, it became clear that a career in healthcare was in my future. I had been considering medical school until learning about CRNAs through a good friend of mine (who is now my wife). She was a pediatric trauma ICU nurse and told me about the incredible opportunities in nursing, especially those of CRNAs. My interest was piqued and I decided I needed to learn more about this “perfect job."

I messaged a total stranger on social media named Ty Huff, CRNA, and asked if I could shadow him. I’ll never forget that day in the operating room because it was a life-changing experience for me. I was totally enamored by his ability to put people to sleep, take away their pain, and wake them up like nothing had ever happened. I could tell Ty genuinely loved his job and found both satisfaction and fulfillment in it.

He introduced me to a few other CRNAs that day and one thing stood out – they all loved their jobs and would do it all over again if given the choice. Coming from a career in business, this was foreign to me. I had never met so many people who actually enjoyed their line of work! I am forever grateful to Ty because it was on that day in the OR that I decided to become a CRNA.

Six years later, after attending nursing school in Alabama, working in a high-acuity trauma ICU, getting married, having our first child, and training at seven clinical sites ranging from Texas to Alaska, I proudly graduated from the Texas Christian University (TCU) School of Nurse Anesthesia with my doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) degree in 2015.

The combination of losing my mother to cancer in college and shadowing Ty in the OR led me to where I am today. I work full-time at a busy private hospital and stay continually involved with the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).

I have served on the AANA Communications Committee twice, once as a student and once as a professional. This was an invaluable experience as it allowed me to learn the inner workings of the AANA, and offered me the opportunity to serve alongside current and future leaders in our organization. I genuinely love being a CRNA and find joy and purpose in being able to care  for people when they are most vulnerable. As CRNAs, we have an incredible responsibility, but with that comes the greatest reward. Words simply cannot describe the love and passion I have for this profession.