MARIETTA — With a respiratory therapy degree, Washington State Community College Student of the Month Ethan Lantz of Parkersburg is laying the foundation for his future.
He committed himself to nine years of education in pursuit of his dream to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Lantz has a strategy for becoming a CRNA and he is nearing completion of phase one, an associate degree in respiratory therapy. After he’s accepted into Washington State’s associate degree nursing program, he will begin phase two, followed immediately by earning his bachelor’s in nursing, 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 said.
For the 20-year-old Parkersburg native, choosing where to start his academic education was the easiest part of his plan. Washington State not only has the programs it 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.”
The institution’s recent approval to offer a BSN further solidified Washington State was the place, he said.
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.
The decision to pursue a career as a CRNA rather than an anesthesiologist was the best decision for him personally and it came down to time and opportunity.
Becoming an anesthesiologist would require eight additional years of school after he earns his bachelor’s. 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,” he said.
Lantz will graduate with his associate’s in respiratory therapy in May. He will submit his application to Washington State’s ADN program this fall.
If accepted, he will begin nursing classes in fall 2023.