Unique Pre-CRNA questions...

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    Hello all...to tell you about myself first. I'd like to apply to CRNA school this upcoming summer. I need to get some things done in the mean time which is why I am here...advice and suggestions. To start, I need to take the GRE's. I was never a solid standardized test taker and stunk on the SAT's so that kinda worries me. What prep course would you all recommend? I have it narrowed down to princeton review and kaplan. Any thoughts?? Second, this question is for those people who went back to CRNA school with undergrad loans still to pay. How can you consolidate all your debt into one loan? I have no expertise in the areas of finance and loans so please someone help me out... I still have about 40-45k in undergrad student loans and on a RN salary, this would take quite some time. Third. I do not have my CCRN, is it really a deal breaker?? If I did get my CCRN it would be in peds critical care...would this even be worth it? Fourth..If I relocate because of school, is there a way to get money in your loans to pay for cost of living etc etc. ? Fifth. Chances... My experience and grades are as follows.
    Graduated from a major state university
    3.61 overall GPA. A's and B's in all sciences, no C's on my transcript.
    2 years pediatric ICU experience level 1 trauma center.
    6 months exp on a level 1 peds trauma center transport team in FL (left job and returned home due to family members health)
    When I apply will be almost 9 months ER experience.
    Also fixed wing flight nurse (per diem)
    BLS, ACLS, PALS
    Was thinking about becoming a PALS instructor and possibly getting my CCRN to strengthen my application. Any thoughts, advice and suggestions are greatly appreciated!!!
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    I did Kaplan review in class for my NCLEX, while I did an online Princeton Review for the GRE. I am also a bad standarized test taker and prefered the Princeton Review. I had just above a 1200, which was 400 points better than prior to the review course.

    Do you have adult ICU experience? I know it is not required everywhere, but during my program search, I also noticed many school that prefer or require some adult experience.
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    I used the Manhattan GRE. It's ~9 weeks for the online class, but I thought it was excellent. Price isn't bad either. The class was every wednesday from 7-11 pm in a live blackboard classroom where you could see the teacher working out problems. As far as your experience, Im adult ICU so I don't think I would be much help. But I do know that it gives you an edge over other applicants to have (adult) CCRN. I agree with jenwil, many schools prefer adult ICU. You can find a few that will accept PACU or ER, but not many. Your G.P.A. looks pretty good to me.
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    Thanks for the info! I do not have adult ICU experience but have 2 years peds, flight RN and now adult ER experience. I plan on applying to programs around the Pittsburgh area and Pitt definitely accepts peds icu. The main reason I am torn on the CCRN is because I would obviously take the peds exam and don't know if it would be as valuable as having adult CCRN. I have no idea why people are skeptical about peds ICU because I belieive it is def more challenging. The adult-kid world is way different especially in critical care. In peds you have lots of very unstable transplant patients, head injuries/trauma etc (not to say that his can't happen in adults but kids deteriorate very quickly) and weight based medication doses with a good bit of simple math, yet math none the less involved. I must say it is very convenient to just push an amp in adult codes. This is not meant to say that adult critical care isn't as difficult because it certainly is. Peds-Adult critical care are just very two different venues. In my honest opinion, if you can care for a child, you can easily care for an adult. I'm not sure I can say the same vice versa.
    Thoughts??
    Last edit by SteelCity_RN on Jan 30, '12
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    I agree that adults and peds are very different areas. But I would not agree that "if you can care for a child, you can easily care for an adult." As you said, they are very different.
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    I agree with ellebrn, I think the reason that adcoms want adult ICU experience is because adults will make up the majority of the patient population you will be caring for. So it doesn't necessarily have to do with adults being more challenging.
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    Like you said, there's a big difference between caring for a pediatric patient and an adult patient. They want you to have that basic understanding of the different disease processes. But just because you don't have that experience doesn't mean you wouldn't be a great CRNA. If Pitt takes Peds ICU, go for it!
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    Thanks for all your input! My basic plan as of now is to take a GRE prep, take the exam and apply this summer. I don't think I will do the CCRN because I don't know if Peds CCRN would even give me any kind of upper hand. I would like to become and ACLS or PALS instructor though. Any other ways to enhance my application?
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    I wouldn't necessarily discount the peds CCRN. Although I'm sure most schools would prefer the adult CCRN, the certification would show that you are very proficient in the area that you work in. Being an ACLS/PALS instructor does not necessarily indicate the same proficiency. Essentially, the schools are looking for candidates who are above average nurses with good critical thinking skills and proficient in the areas that they specialize in. I think that the peds CCRN would help them understand that you are highly motivated and good at what you do. I have a few friends who are in CRNA school that came from PICU/Peds CVICU and they are doing just fine. Remember, everyone essentially starts at square 1 on the first day of school. Ultimately, the experience of honing your critical thinking and the ability to learn is what will help you succeed, not necessarily adults vs. peds. Also, if you have the time before you apply, I'd look into any core classes that you can take. It'll get them out of the way for when you start, plus if you do well it will demonstrate your ability to handle grad school level classes. Just my 2 cents! Good luck!
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    Why do you think the ped CCRN will not give you an upper hand?

    If the majority of other applicants have it and you don't, it may actually hurt your chances. You only have 2 years experience. You will be competing with nurses who have a decade on you. You should do anything you can to be competitive! I would have never considered skipping my CCRN.

    It will show you are committed. Plus it's a great review for interviewing. Some schools require it, I think all should.


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