It's great to see potential applicants who do heed alot of advice on the board about really gaining the experience and having great reasons to want to be a CRNA. All too often, I hear newer co-workers and posters on here, about "the bare minimum" required to get into school. I even asked one of these people, "Why CRNA?", and got a deer in headlights look with a "I just like it" response.... sounds like you've done your hw and shadowed and are truly interested.
I will be starting my program in a few weeks. I did want to tell you, that I initially had planned on applying for the previous year. I had taken my GRE, gotten my CCRN, had 2.5 years of exp in the CT-ICU, 3.5 years nursing overall. But, I decided to wait another year to truly become an "expert" in my field. And I will tell you, waiting that extra year has made a HUGE difference in my knowledge, confidence, autonomy etc. So again, I commend you on wanting to do it the right way.
Sounds like you have a good game plan. My advice is to start working on your CCRN & GRE. On your unit, try to take any advanced unit classes to get trained on devices i.e. IABP, ECMO, or whatever is available where you are at. You want to be able to handle the sickest of the sick on your unit. You should be comfortable identifying issues and presenting solutions, as well as being assertive with your decision making. Get involved in precepting. See it, do it, teach it. You will learn more about yourself and gain a whole new wealth of knowledge by precepting. Get involved with your unit committees and become a leader on the floor.
Other things you can do to help you stand out: Take graduate level classes i.e. adv A/P, pharm, chem, physics. This will not only boost your gpa but will also show schools that you can handle the graduate level workload. Also, most hospitals will cover some school tuition/expenses.
Make sure you are financially ready. Remember, most schools will ask you for a $500-1000 deposit at the drop of a hat. Some schools may require you to front the cost of tuition for the first semester, depending on how the fed assistance gets reimbursed. And some schools expect you to live off a crazy meager budget while in school. My advice, pay off everything you can now. If it means not buying a new car, then don't. Live frugally now, and save your pennies.
You will know when you are ready to apply. I knew, when I started wondering why people always came up to me for advice, and opinion, or help. When people casually refer to you as a unit resource, when providers are comfortable with bouncing ideas off you or accepting suggestions and advice, and when you are financially and emotionally prepared, you'll be ready
Hope that helps and good luck!