CRNA, Steps to get there

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    Hey all. I have a bachelors degree in Kinesiology and I'm currently in the last year of a BSN program as well. My goal is to work towards a CRNA. I have read a lot regarding the prereq's for CRNA programs but I was hoping to get some information from the horses mouth.
    Is there anything someone can tell me regarding steps I can take to prepare myself for the application process? Unfortunately I only have a 3.45 GPA, but I'm trying to get that up. Is there a hospital job (non cert) that could give me experience? Should I speak with a CRNA at the hospital? Are there cert's I can get that will help me along the way? Any tips on what I can do in these preliminary stages would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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  4. 1
    Quote from RNwannbe
    Hey all. I have a bachelors degree in Kinesiology and I'm currently in the last year of a BSN program as well. My goal is to work towards a CRNA. I have read a lot regarding the prereq's for CRNA programs but I was hoping to get some information from the horses mouth.
    Is there anything someone can tell me regarding steps I can take to prepare myself for the application process? Unfortunately I only have a 3.45 GPA, but I'm trying to get that up. Is there a hospital job (non cert) that could give me experience? Should I speak with a CRNA at the hospital? Are there cert's I can get that will help me along the way? Any tips on what I can do in these preliminary stages would be much appreciated. Thanks.
    3.45 is not horrible. Mine is even lower. What do you mean non cert hospital job? Like a job before you get an RN license? I don't think a job other than being an RN in ICU (or ER for some) would help you get in CRNA School. Don't just talk to a CRNA. You can shadow a CRNA one. that will help. But sometimes it's hard to do it unless you are already an employee of the facility. But that's not impossible at all. I suggest you get an ICU job right after grduation, work on your ACLS &PALS in the firt year. Get the CCRN as soon as you are eligible, take leadership roles when possible. Take the the sickest pt all the time. You can apply even before your 1 year required experience is done. Good luck.
    bibibi likes this.
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    Interestingly, shadowing a CRNA may be easier while you are still enrolled in a degree-seeking program. Many hospitals and health care systems are very restrictive when it comes to allowing anyone in the OR who doesn't need to be there... understandably so. Your student status is the key to easy shadowing.

    Once you are an employee, many hospitals will have liability issues with your unpaid presence in the OR. If you fall into the sterile field, they are still liable for you.... for example.

    Get a job as a nurse's aide in a critical care unit. Keep your mouth shut about your anesthesia aspirations. Learn the flow of the unit. Learn how to use all the equipment. Learn from everyone. Embrace the sucky parts of the job. Make yourself indispensable.

    Be a self-directed learner. Take ACLS. Learn ECG interpretation. Get into 12 lead interpretation. Every patient is an opportunity to broaden your knowledge of physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology.

    Try to get a new grad position in a busy multispeciality SICU. Your main goal now is to become a safe, competent critical care nurse upon whom your colleagues can rely. Start studying for your CCRN. Then your GRE. Take care of all the grad school stuff behind the scenes...
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    It's all about the job experience. A job in a busy/large ICU will be much more impressive on a resume than a job in a small ICU that transfers its sick patients to larger hospitals. CRNA schools love applicants from teaching facilities (university hospitals) and Level I trauma centers. To help get an ICU job as a new-grad, I mirror the above recommendation of getting a job as a nurses aide while a student. This gets your foot in the door. If you do a great job as a tech, the manager will be more apt to hire you as an RN than an outside applicant since you already know the unit. Otherwise, new grad jobs are tough to come by in the ICU.
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    Shadow at least a few times. Your GPA is fine. The admins will look at your advanced sciences, so if you have any B- or Cs in Micro, Chem, or the A&Ps, consider retaking them...but you probably would not have to. My strongest advice is to start talking to the ICU nursing directors in your area now, and let them know that you want to and are determined to work in their units upon graduation. Try not to get out and get a floor job with the intention of working your way to ICU unless there is no other way. Look at CVICUs and Surgical Trauma ICUs as these will give you experience with caring for and assessing critical patients; you will also gain experience with titration of multiple vasoactive drips. During your minimum two years of ICU work, sign up for a good GRE prep program. I used Princetion Review. Go to the classes and treat the GRE like the most important event of your life. While an average GRE score might not keep you out, a great GRE score sets you apart. Use it as an opportunity to show them that you take this process seriously and that you have the ability to rise above the others that you are interviewing against. Finally, while you are working ICU, be THE ideal employee. Work when they need you, avoid conflict and nursing soap-operas, be dependable, be a team player, be humble. You do these things and keep driving toward your goal, you will get there.
    BigMoses likes this.


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