My plan, and my journey to CRNA school. Insight, perspective, advice, preparation.

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    Greetings everyone,

    Thank you all for such consistently informative posts. It is very fortunate that we have such a congregation of clinicians as resources in our professional endeavors. I would like to share with you, and divulge my journey to CRNA school.

    I would appreciate input, criticisms and advice from all sources; I would like to know if I am on the right track toward anesthesia school.

    Warning, this may be slightly long-winded.

    Early in my undergraduate education I became interested in health care, having MD's and a CRNA in the family I feel as though this was a welcomed and natural path for me to take toward my professional goals. I attended a medium-sized university in MI, and pursued a degree in the allied health professions while simultaneously completing my prerequisite coursework for nursing school, affording me the adaptability of applying to either PA school, or an Accelerated Nursing Program.

    In 2011 I graduated with a Bachelor of Integrative Studies, and made the decision to pursue nursing instead of PA school. I was accepted, and completed an Accelerated BSN program in 2012.

    I currently hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Bachelor of Integrative studies, and a Biology Minor.

    Throughout my undergraduate coursework I volunteered in the local community assisting with food drives, parades and a few community projects. I finished my first degree with a 3.5 GPA cumulative, then immediately started my ASDN-BSN where I was elected student representative for the student nurse association, and organized multiple fundraisers. I graduated with honors from my BSN program, and sealed a cumulative GPA of 3.8.


    While still in school I secured a preceptorship in an SICU at a large, level II trauma teaching facility in a major metropolitan city here in MI. To which I am eternally grateful. I spent three months precepting on this unit, and was offered a GN position upon graduation, which I accepted, very happily. I then passed the NCLEX and have been working as an RN on this unit for 8 months.

    My plan before nursing school was to pursue nursing with the intention of going to CRNA school. I became interested after I had the opportunity to shadow a CRNA while working as a patient sitter a three years ago. Since then I have shadowed two more times as an RN, including during a prolonged organ procurement. I am absolutely fascinated with anesthesia, and I do not think there is a day that goes by where I am not thinking about, or reading about anesthesia nursing.

    In my current SICU clinical setting we routinely care for a surgical patient population that includes neuro, septic shock, trauma, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, neurovascular and the occasional ortho patient. We use a lot of invasive hemodynamic monitoring including.. A-lines, CVP's, the occasional swan and resulting PCWP/PAP/Cardiac profile, we also routinely see and are responsible for the monitoring and management of extraventricular drains and ICP monitoring ranging from intraventricular catheters to fiber optic camino placements, ventilator management and associated ABG/etCO2 interpretation (obviously), massive transfusion, as well as a variety of critical care measurements that I am probably not remembering at this moment.

    We routinely have patients requiring drip titration, fluid resuscitation, vasopressors, and sedation along the lines of Epinephrine, neosynephrine, levophed, dopamine, vasopressin, fentanyl, versed, propofol, nitro, etc. (not in any particular order or combo).


    If you have read this far, I ask you, when was the point that you felt comfortable enough to apply to CRNA school? After 8 months in this SICU, I have been truly humbled. I cannot possibly imagine applying at this point, and am going to give it at least another year before consideration. Although I have experience with the above, I feel that to be a successful clinician and CRNA I need to be absolutely seamless with my drip titration, and more experienced with my pathophysiology. I read about ICU RN's wanting to apply after a year, and I used to have that mentality, but I do not any longer.

    My plan for right now is to gain more experience and obtain a more advanced knowledge base, and work on admissions requirements for the time being. As of now I am 23, and would like to set a goal of starting anesthesia school by 25 (not set in stone).


    I am open to any and all suggestions regarding my path to CRNA school, where to go from here, and I look forward to your replies.

    This is my path to CRNA school.

    SI guy.
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  3. 12 Comments so far...

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    Anyone have some advice for an aspiring srna?
  5. 1
    Quote from SIguy_RN
    Anyone have some advice for an aspiring srna?
    I commend you for your attitude. The more experience you have, the better clinician you will be, and that's pretty obvious. Well my deciding factor was my skill level. I thought, i have taken care of thw sickest patients in the hospital, been doing charge about 2 years and felt confident at what i did. I asked myself how can i improve myself? I thought about moving to a different kind of ICU but it will most likely teach me just technical skills as i already had the critical thinking under my belt. So instead, i applied to crna school with alnost 7 yrs of ICU experience. This was my way of improving myself. Now i am not telling you to wait that long, what i'm trying to suggest is when you feel comfortable of your skills, and you feel like you can handle anything thrown at you in ICU, and people in your unit always goes to you for advice, it maybe the right time. Good luck.
    bibibi likes this.
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    Gwapo nailed it. You have to feel like the expert in your unit. Studying pathophys and pharm is great ! Take either or both at the grad level. If u haven't taken ochem or physics do that. Get your ccrn or other certification. Be on committees at work. They want a competant , knowledgeable , leader for the crna profession. Congrats to you for recognizing that one year minimum is prob not enough. Any practicing crnas feel that the minimum should be raised.

    Good luck !
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    So what I'm hearing is that the readiness to apply to crna school is more about individual comfort level, rather than a set 'amount' of icu experience.In the mean time wha you guys think I could do to prepare?. For example, when you started anesthesia school did you ever have a moment of..."crap, I would be so much more prepared if I would have done ____________". ?
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    I am not in yet but when I interviewed I asked what students struggle with the most and they said physiology. They said at the least to go reread your phys book. That's why I was thinking if taking a grad level phys class. I already did a year of gen chem ochem and physics.

    Good luck
  9. 0
    You did a year gen chem, organic chem and physics? that sounds like an entire year of extra schooling full time, assuming 12 credits/semester x 2 semesters. Do most crna schools require this?? because the most I've seen seems to be a graduate physics course. Jw
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    I did the year of gen chem bc it was required for ochem. I did one out of three of the ochems then one calculus based physics. Some schools liked to see physics so I went ahead and did it. I had a long plan for myself to get into school while gaining more icu experience. I want to succeed in school not struggle. My coworker who is in a program now wishes he had done gen chem ochem and physics. I also wanted to be the best candidate I could be and get in at my top school first try. This was the path I chose.

    I am still planning on vcu's distance classes of medicinal chem and mammalian phys. Then if I have time maybe grad level phys.
  11. 0
    Wow that is a lot of extra academics, did you end up getting in?
  12. 0
    Hey what else r u gonna do with your time while getting experience !? Lol it was all doable in a few years.
    Hope to hear this week !


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