Do I have what it takes?

  1. I have been lurking on this board for a while...reading your posts and taking all of the information in, finally got the courage to sign up a few days ago. I have wanted to be a CRNA for many, many years. I waited to start nursing school until my kids started school (my youngest starts in Aug, and I start the last two years of BSN). I started taking practice GRE tests a few months ago in preparation. Obviously, I cannot take that test until BSN is finished...and then a minimum of one year ICU will follow. My husband and I have decided I will take any job that allows ICU experience even if it requires relocation. I am committed to making this my career...anyway, my GPA thus far is 4.0 (finished patho and stats this semester, grades in yesterday and 4.0 stands) with nothing left except the nursing part of nursing school. I am entering the honors nursing program (basically a thesis and a couple of honors classes).

    So anyway, of the practice GRE's I've taken, I've averaged about 650 each section. I study verbal everyday....in my car at home, etc. It is much harder than I thought it would be. So, assuming I can make this score on the real one (or something in the range), my gpa stands at 4.0 AND I somehow get into the ICU immediately after graduation, do I have a snowball's chance in Hades of getting in on the first try? (My first choice of schools thus far is TX Wesleyan b/c of location, I will apply to others though).

    Any suggestions as to how I can make my application stronger? I feel as though I must do all I can to make up for lack of experience, hence the preoccupation with GPA and GRE.

    Sorry about the VERY long post. hanpat13

    I look forward to posting progress reports to you guys as the next few years go by.
    Last edit by hanpat13 on May 12, '04
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   crozb
    Welcome aboard! I'm also new to the forum. I personally know two people from the hospital I currently work at that got into Texas Weslyan. They both scored approx. 900 on the GRE, had one year of ICU (both graduated in May 03'), and high GPA's. They begin the program in August. My understanding is they take over 100 students per year.
    I shadowed a CRNA who graduated form Texas Weslyan. He had nothing but good to say about the program. I personally thought he was an excellent CRNA.
  4. by   nightingale
    quote: Do I have what it takes?


    I my opinion, yes. I am not a CRNA though. It sounds like you are passionate and dedicated; these qualities are an assest in ANY profession.

    Welcome to the board. Welcome to the wonderful world of nursing.

    Let us know how we can help. I look forward to reading about your progress in the future. You may want to cohort with like students on the following forum here at AllNurses geared towards the student nurse:

    http://allnurses.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=50

    Thanks for posting.

    night
  5. by   ZAHMAN
    Sounds like your on the right path. Your gpa is excellent and schools typically like gre scores to be around 1000 or better. What really is the determining factor is the interview, which can be nerve racking. I would suggest that you become CNA certified and work (if not already) in a hospital, preferable in an ICU. This exsposure will get you aquainted with the unit, manager, etc. Hopefully this will allow you to fast track into an ICU. Some hospitals will have programs for new grads. Next, when your in the BSN program, become a member of AACN, get ACLS/PALS certified, and become active in the committees your school offers. Lastly, smile, because your on your way to becoming an excellent canidate for any CRNA program.


    ZAHMAN
    People are educated, dogs are trained. Don't confuse the two. me
  6. by   Kiwi
    Hi, I'm also a NS.

    Maybe you could try to be a nurse extern in the summer before your senior year? I shadowed an SRNA and CRNA to make sure I liked the profession. Also, start talking with some of the nurse managers around town to let them know that you'd like to work in the ICU upon graduation. Keep up the good work!!!
  7. by   catcolalex
    i also have a buddy from my hospital that got into wesleyan on his first try. gpa 3.4 GRE 960, 1+ years ICU experience in teaching level 1 trauma hospital. I also got in on my first try 3.75 and 1150 on GRE although my school didnt require GRE. also 1+ years ICU exp. at same hospital. That being said, I feel that quality experience outweighs quantity experience, and that the interview itself is the most important part of the whole process. if you are personable and present yourself in a way that people would enjoy working with you, you should be fine. your numbers get you an interview, the rest is how you interview.
    good luck
  8. by   hanpat13
    The responses are fantastic, and full of support & motivation. THANKS SOOO MUCH! Keep 'em coming.

    I have to complete a CNA course (month of June)...never thought about actually working as one. GREAT IDEA! I will ask around about working as a CNA in the ICU...or something.

    I spoke with our BSN director about shadowing...said privacy issues lately make it more difficult. Wouldn't be a privacy issue if I were there as a CNA, and "shadowed" on my own time. What do you all think?
    Last edit by hanpat13 on May 12, '04
  9. by   MaleAPRN
    Hi hanpat13,

    From your post, it seems that you are very MOTIVATED to do this. Considering that you have to juggle motherhood and other things around the home, PLUS going to school and going after what you want will definitely show the admissions committee (of the NA school you eventually will apply to) that you are indeed a dedicated learner. Oh, and not to mention your outstanding GPA of course.

    Overall, what they want to see (and this comes from other's posts) is someone who can "finish" NA training and see it through from start to finish. As I remember from my recent NA school interview...when I asked the committee what they were looking for in a candidate, I was told in a very frank and absolute tone, "We are looking for someone who is willing to work hard and someone who is dedicated to learn. You can be a 4.0 average person, but if you don't have what it takes, then, this is NOT for you. We don't have time for whinners in this program."

    One would think that this comment during an interview would only serve to deter applicants to their program, but it only made me choose their program amongst all the others, because I learn better in a strict and very structured manner (but that's just me )

    Take it one day at a time (sounds corney, I know ) . As you will find out (as I have found out...throughout my 8 + yrs of nursing) when you start out your nursing career - you will go through a journey. One that will eventually lead you to obtaining your goal someday. You will take classes, work in different units, meet soooo many interesting people, patients, co-workers, TAKE MORE CLASSES to improve your nursing skills...etc. THEN you'll look back and you'd be suprised that some years have passed by and you didn't even notice. By this time, you'd be ready to apply to NA school. THIS IS THE JOURNEY that I am talking about. Your life as a nurse. Enjoy it. Don't rush into things. It will eventually all happen for you. :hatparty:


    Gosh, that was a long pep talk.

    V.
    Last edit by MaleAPRN on May 12, '04 : Reason: This post addressed to hanpat13
  10. by   Kiwi
    Quote from hanpat13
    I will ask around about working as a CNA in the ICU...or something.

    I spoke with our BSN director about shadowing...said privacy issues lately make it more difficult. Wouldn't be a privacy issue if I were there as a CNA, and "shadowed" on my own time. What do you all think?
    I worked as a CNA in an ICU for my freshman, sophmore, and part of my junior year. I just finished my junior year (community nursing, med-surg & peds) and into this semester, working even one day per week really started pressing on my studies. So I am not currently working. I was going to do a nursing internship at the Mayo clinic this summer before my senior year, but the NA school I want to attend highly stressed more science classes.

    As far as the privacy issue of shadowing, CRNAs always came in and out of the ICU assessing the pts for anesthesia care. One day I wasn't too busy with my own pts, and a CRNA was looking at a pts chart. I decided to just ask her if I may shadow her. The pt was getting an amputation r/t poor diabetic self-care. She was very happy to have me shadow - this pt had very poor health overall (COPD, PVD, etc., etc). So I watched the assessment, the induction, and the emergence...

    The pt was taken back to ICU and seemed fine, but after a few hours her vitals became low and she died (she was DNR). I had taken care of this patient, watched her surgery, and then watched her die (probably from the anesthesia) - it really impacted me.

    To answer your question, if you work for a hospital, it will be easier to shadow. My nursing professors were the same way, they are hung up with HIPPA and red tape when it comes to shadowing.
  11. by   todabnrn
    Ether/Hanpat

    First of all, not only would I recommend shadowing a CRNA but I would also highly encourage it. I was on a selection committee for potential SRNA's and there was one question I asked EVERY candidate in the interview. "Have you spent time in the operating room shadowing a CRNA?" If they answered no in my mind the interview was over. I would then ask them: you are going to uproot your family, move X amount of miles, assume a loan greater than $40,000, bust your butt both physically and mentally yet, you haven't spent one minute in the OR? Soliciting advice from chat rooms and fellow CRNA's only go so far in my book. Until you spend some quality time in the OR you truley have no clue what a CRNA actually does on a daily basis. Believe me some of the responses I recieved were rather amazing such as: Our hospitals anesthesiologist said I would make a good one or I work in the ER giving conscious sedation so Im almost a CRNA already (I should note that these canidates had great GPA's and very high GRE scores). In fact, when I went through school, an underclassman who was a super genius 4.0 type (in anesthesia school) quit after his first semmester in clinicals because he knew anesthesia wasn't for him.

    Second of all, nursing professors! From my first hand experience (no scientific basis here) and observation (slightly biased) nursing professors (which I know I am generalizing and there is always and exception to the rule) are not very supportive of student nurses pursuing a career in nursing anesthesia. If I were you, I would contact a CRNA at your hospital on your own and then set up a time to shadow him or her as much as possible. We have nursing students at our facility and a few do just that. I would worry about being refused, most if not all CRNA's welcome and encourage future SRNA's.

    Lastly, I have to bust on you for your last comment. Are you sure you don't want to be a surgeon? You already have learned the first rule of surgery. FIRST BLAME ANESTHESIA THEN FIGURE OUT WHAT HAPPENED. I quote " The pt was getting an amputation r/t poor diabetic self-care.... this pt had very poor health overall (COPD, PVD, etc., etc)..pt was a DNR". Do you really think it was the anesthesia that killed her?

    Your heading in the right direction shadowing a CRNA!!
  12. by   hanpat13
    I have not found the courage yet to speak with any of my professors about pursuing anesthesia nursing. I get the impression they may think I am selling out. Of course, I haven't told them that is the reason I am in nursing school altogether. When I spoke to the BSN director at my school about this, I didn't mention who I wanted to shadow.

    I know several CRNA's and plan to speak with them about shadowing. My only concern is in what capacity--as a CNA, student nurse, or no credential at all?

    For those of you that sit on selection committees for CRNA candidates, it is very kind of you to come here and offer advice/encouragement. And since you are here, I will take advantage and pick your brains! What subject(s) should I hone up on? It will be more than 3 years by the time I apply since I've taken Chemistry. Should I retake it? Take O-Chem? Any other suggestions are not only welcomed, but greatly appreciated.

    hanpat
  13. by   TraumaNurse
    hanpat13,

    As far as shadowing, you are not there in any capacity other than to 'shadow'. Just go to one of the CRNAs you know (or the anesthesia department if you don't know any) and tell them you are interested in a career in anesthesia and would like to shadow them for at least a day. Most CRNAs would love to have you hang out with them and see what they do on a daily basis. The more time you can put in, the better.
    I am not on an admission committee, but as far as courses, I think taking O. Chem will not hurt (and may be required by some CRNA programs) but I would not bother re-taking gen. chem just because it has been a few years. It's been almost 15 years since I took chem and the schools I applied to did not care - they "will teach me what I need to know" (It does depend on the school). It may also be helpful to take a graduate level course (and getting and 'A') to show the admissions committee that you are capable of doing well in a graduate level course. IMO.
  14. by   todabnrn
    Trauma nurse is giving you great advice. Let me highlight a couple of TN's pearls. Definitley shadow a CRNA, which it seems like you are doing. Second, take a graduate level class in something and do well. That is one criteria we liked to see. Obviously the applicant is qualified or she/he would not have recieved an invitation to interview. What will make you stand out from the others is your ability to do grad school work. Also, that you were motivated enough to start on your own. The only advice I can add is if you want to "hone up" on something; learn, live, love the autonomic nervous system. When you take your anesthesia pharm you suddenly will become enlightened.

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