MARIETTA—With a Respiratory Therapy degree, Washington State Community College (WSCC) Student of the Month Ethan Lantz is laying the foundation for his future. He’s committed himself to nine years of education in pursuit of his dream to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).
Lantz has a strategy for becoming a CRNA and he’s nearing completion of phase one—his associate degree in respiratory therapy (RT). Once he’s accepted into WSCC’s Associate Degree Nursing program, he will begin phase two, followed immediately by earning his bachelor’s in nursing (BSN), phase three. “I have always had an interest in Nurse Anesthesia and felt that RT and nursing together would provide me the best building blocks to be successful in a CRNA program,” Lantz explained.
For the 20-year-old Parkersburg native, choosing where to start his academic education was the easiest part of his plan. WSCC not only has the programs he needs, but it’s also reputed for being the best. “Washington State has a strong history of graduating excellent clinicians into the local community,” said Lantz. “They are highly regarded by employers and graduates of Washington State have a very high board pass rate.” He added that the institution’s recent approval to offer a BSN further solidified that WSCC was the place for him.
The fourth and final phase of his plan is applying to nurse anesthesia school. While having a BSN is the only requirement for applying to a program, Lantz hopes his respiratory therapy degree and experience will give him an advantage. “I believe understanding intubation, respiratory physiology, and vent management learned in the RT program, along with the critical care knowledge the RN program will provide me will make me an ideal candidate for a CRNA program.”
Lantz said his decision to pursue a career as a CRNA rather than an anesthesiologist was the best decision for him personally and it came down to two things—time and opportunity. He explained that becoming an anesthesiologist would require eight additional years of school after he earns his bachelor’s degree. More important than time for Lantz, however, are the vast opportunities afforded to nurses. “There are a lot of nurse specialties that, as I get older, I may want to pursue.”
Lantz will graduate with his Associate Degree in Respiratory Therapy in May 2023. He will submit his application to WSCC’s ADN program this Fall. If accepted, he will begin nursing classes in the Fall of 2023.