Feedback about Samuel Merritt College

  1. I'm about to turn in my application to Samuel Merritt College's CRNA program located in Oakland, CA. I was wondering if anyone has had experience with the school and what that was like. I read the posts about the interviews for that school, but would like more information on what it's like to be a student at that campus.

    Also, any ideas why they only have about 80 applicants a year?

    I grew up in the Bay Area and remember Oakland as an unsafe place. What is the campus like and is it in a safe neighborhood?

    Thanks
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   UCDSICURN
    Quote from californianurse
    I'm about to turn in my application to Samuel Merritt College's CRNA program located in Oakland, CA. I was wondering if anyone has had experience with the school and what that was like. I read the posts about the interviews for that school, but would like more information on what it's like to be a student at that campus.

    Also, any ideas why they only have about 80 applicants a year?

    I grew up in the Bay Area and remember Oakland as an unsafe place. What is the campus like and is it in a safe neighborhood?

    Thanks
    80 applicants? Completely inaccurate...the admissions department forwards about 80 apps to the anesthesia program to hand pick about 45 people for interviews, accepting 20-25 each year. There are hundreds of apps each year. Directly from the admissions person last year, they were looking at about a 7% acceptance rate when compared to total apps, that makes it about 350ish apps last year.

    As far as the school, i'm not sure what exactly you're looking for. It's front loaded. They have a great sim lab with two simulated OR's. Overall, i'm happy, and the staff will bend over backwards to make sure you get through. If you don't make it in this program, it's your own fault. Core nursing theory classes are held as intensive weekends. Three courses, two weekends for each held over three semesters. Pretty painless.

    One thing they will be up front about...they have so many clinical sites, you will be driving. You will not be at just one or two clinical sites, you will experience many. Tons of hours, and tons of cases with lots of regional.

    The neighborhood...well...it is Oakland. Like any urban environment, you can't be careless. If you stray to far away from the school, yes, you kind find yourself in an unfavorable neighborhood. The actual school grounds are very nice and are very safe.

    Good luck to ya...
  4. by   californianurse
    Thanks
  5. by   Amberlynn1181
    Hey Californianurse!

    I am a recent graduate from Samuel Merritt, and the reply before mine is pretty accurate. Just a few things:

    1. Front-loaded elaboration: Some people consider the program front loaded, but actually, your first semester is completely didactic, then clinical is integrated slowly into your schedule (January-March 2 days/wk; April-June 3 days/wk, then 4 days/week after), and classtime slowly decreases until your last two semesters, with no classes, just clinical and studying for oral boards (see below).

    2. BE PREPARED TO TRAVEL!!!! Clinical sites range from Oakland, UCSF, Santa Rosa, Fresno, Hawaii, Sacramento, and Santa Clara. The coordinator tries to be fair to everyon, but anticipate that you will be traveling some for clinical, which is a great advantage, because it gives you a wide range of experience at different facilities.

    3. Oral boards: We are one of two or three schools that has oral boards as your synthesis project. The time leading up to it is terrifying, the actual process is not too bad, and very helpful for most students.

    4. Staff: The staff there is wonderful! The previous poster is correct; to not pass the program, you would have no one but yourself to blame. They are committed to your success; work with them and life will be easier for you.

    Hope this helps somewhat. Let me know if you end up attending there. If you have any questions, let me know!
  6. by   californianurse
    Thanks Amberlynn1181! I don't know if I have an interview there yet or not. They say that they will let everyone know in February who is invited to interview. I was already accepted at one school and am waiting to hear back from another one, so at least I know I'm going somewhere in the fall. If I do get an interview there, would you say that it is clinically-based, or more of a get-to-know-you interview? I've had one of each so far.

    Also, have you taken boards yet? Where are you going to work (what kind of group, etc). I've heard a lot of different opinions as to how everyday work and compensation is, so I'm just trying to gather as much data as I can. One thing everyone seems to be promoting on this website is that a CRNA should have at least 2 really GOOD years of experience in a large hospital before considering moving to a rural location. That makes sense.

    Were you bombarded with recruiters/email sign-ups during school and will you be staying in CA?

    Thanks for your input!
  7. by   Amberlynn1181
    I just took my boards yesterday, actually....just waiting to find out the results. I've been working full time at a Kaiser in the bay area. Equally MD/CRNA practice, with nerve blocks, high risk OB, spinals, epidurals, arterial lines, rare CVPs, high risk patient cases, etc...Good hours, decent pay, and good experience.

    The interview process (for me) was more of a "get-to-know-you" feel. Honestly, most people can memorize information to get INTO a program, but their concern is more that you can make it THROUGH the program. They ask you questions about your experience too, but it's more of "Tell me the kind of drugs/procedures/patients you dealt with", not "What is the cellular action of Amniodarone?" It's important to have a support system in place, because school is STRESSFUL....I can't emphasize that enough.

    I agree about the experience in a bigger hospital (with more back-up people!) before you branch out. I thought about taking a job in a rural setting (3 room OR in a tiny town!), but thought that as a new grad, if I had an adverse outcome, my license might be at risk simply because I lacked the "intuition" of several years experience in my field, so I wasn't willing to risk it yet. I love my job here, and the people I work with, and that makes a huge difference, especially when you are just starting out!

    Hope that helps!

    Amberlynn

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