ER Nurse to CRNA

  1. Any (current or former) ER nurses currently in CRNA school or practicing CRNA's? I am an ER nurse with a pending application to Kaiser. Anyhow, just curious how you feel your background affects you in school, in practice or if you wish you had ICU experience....etc. Many schools prefer ICU experience only, but some accept ER experience as well.

    Any thoughts on this are greatly appreciated!
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    In our level one trauma center - three of the ER nurses were accepted to CRNA school after one year of working OT in the ICU.
  4. by   deke
    I am currently in school. I worked in the ED and later in a CVICU. In my class there is literally a hodge-podge of experience, age, backgrounds, etc.
    So as far as getting accepted, I would say it is program dependent. My program is front loaded, meaning we are strictly classroom and have not yet ventured into clinicals. But, when working in the ED, it was very fast paced and I did a lot of technical things. Get an order, go do an action....If there was a problem, usually a Physician would be right there. In the CVICU however, I had 'time' to think and process what was going on with my patient. I saw more of a big picture and put some things together in that respect. So the CVICU gave me some building blocks or stepping stones to work with. Especially since there is so much pathophysiologically related to the heart and the prevalence of CV disease.
    The above is my personal opinion after experiencing this in my own life, there are probably many that may see things differently. Hope it helps you and God bless you.
  5. by   Trauma Tom
    Susswood,

    One can debate the merits of ER versus ICU experience as there are many ER's that have critical care rooms where you can get some ICU experience. I feel that having both, ER and ICU experience or any other experience along with the ICU experience can make for a more welll-rounded nurse. However, all that being said if it were me I would get the ICU experience. In this way you improve your chances of admission because you do not limit yourself to applying only to those schools who do not require ICU experience. No doubt there are those who have attended or will attend CRNA school with no ICU experience. But in the final analysis I would do all I could do to improve my chances for admission by making myself as competitive as possible by meeting as many schools admission requirements as possible. This means getting ICU experience.
  6. by   Brenna's Dad
    I think ER is great experience. ICU however gives you some experience you will need in anesthesia. Even the little things you dont think about will be very handy.

    Fo example, I was wondering just the other day, (During a Pneumonectomy) how much harder it would be to run the vent during the case if I didnt have my ICU background.
  7. by   athomas91
    i did ER right up until starting school....during the last 8 mos i did a per diem stint in the CVICU to ensure my adequacy w/ art/swan/balloon pump etc....

    i feel that i learned all i needed to know in the ED...it taught me grace under pressure...it taught me to think on the run....my IV skills are top notch...RSI is second hand....don't get me wrong...ICU/CVICU can only add to experience...i however was accepted to a program w/o it...so it can be done.
    moreso than your environment i feel it is important what YOU gain from your environment...there are many i know that wouldn't make it w/ just ED experience...but there are others who are motivated and seek learning experiences....

    good luck
  8. by   SLEEPERJC
    After 10 years in the ER I just transfered to the SICU. I know for me It is the right decision. I'll probably be here several years before I apply to CRNA school.
    Any way, my transition into the SICU has been made easier by my ER experience.

    I've never managed so many drips and used so much sedation!! I love it!
    The other day I counted 13 lines on a patient plus two chest tubes (L side draining about 2000/shift all of which was replaced with .9 saline) plus the hourly urine output, fingersticks and insulin protocols. I actually thought about a post that was made about taking on difficult cases and not coming all this way to sit in the coffee room so I tried to get as much as I could from whever I could get it.

    One day the Attending Surgeon decided to crack a chest open during a code on a 26 y.o. and I was the one to grab the cardiac chest tray and set up the internal paddles. Taking it ODAT JC
  9. by   MICU RN
    Quote from SLEEPERJC
    After 10 years in the ER I just transfered to the SICU. I know for me It is the right decision. I'll probably be here several years before I apply to CRNA school.
    Any way, my transition into the SICU has been made easier by my ER experience.

    I've never managed so many drips and used so much sedation!! I love it!
    The other day I counted 13 lines on a patient plus two chest tubes (L side draining about 2000/shift all of which was replaced with .9 saline) plus the hourly urine output, fingersticks and insulin protocols. I actually thought about a post that was made about taking on difficult cases and not coming all this way to sit in the coffee room so I tried to get as much as I could from whever I could get it.

    One day the Attending Surgeon decided to crack a chest open during a code on a 26 y.o. and I was the one to grab the cardiac chest tray and set up the internal paddles. Taking it ODAT JC

    If I had to pick one, I would choose an acute ICU area for the reasons just mentioned in the previous reply. I had a well rounded experience (3 years trauma one ER, MICU 18 months, 6 months SICU. While I learned more about grace under fire and thinking on my feet in the ER, you just don't get as many drips and vents in general in the ER, or get to recover sick surgical patients; however having said this, anesthesia is very different than bedside nursing so you will have to start as a novice again, no matter what type of bedside nurse you were. And as mentioned before all programs will accept ICU experience, but not all look favorably at the ER experience especially if it was not a level one trauma ER.

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