Good candidate or not?

  1. I'm looking for some outside advice on what my chances are of getting in to CRNA school a year from now.... I went to nursing school knowing I wanted to be a CRNA, so I've been keeping it on my radar for some time. Now that my chance to apply is on the horizon, I'm stressing about whether or not I'm even going to have a chance!

    Here's my school background:
    -Graduated from well-regarded nursing school with a 3.95 Nursing GPA, 4.0 Science GPA
    -graduated with honors
    -Took an elective semester-long clinical with a CRNA that I arranged myself. I intubated, got familiar with meds, and most importantly saw the day-by-day role a CRNA takes. This CRNA is willing to write me a reference letter when I apply.

    -Currently ACLS and PALS certified
    -Worked for 5 months at one of that nation's top hospitals on a general care level floor, now moved out to a more rural location at a smaller hospital due to family issues
    -Have been working a general ICU for 9 months now (will be about 1.5 years experience when I apply next fall)
    -Planning on getting CCRN in the spring when I'm eligible
    -Planning to take on charge roles any shift now ;-)

    One thing I'm concerned about is if my ICU will be well-regarded when it comes time to apply. Like I mentioned above, I'm in a more rural location. It's an 18 bed ICU, and since we're the largest hospital in a huge area, we do get quite a few patients flown in. We do, however, end up sending some out. We even get peds- 6 months of age and up. With the size of my hospital, we only have this general ICU and a CVICU (and a NICU). So all of the open hearts, IABPs, VADs go to CVICU - I will not see one. It's very rare to see a swan on my unit, if ever. Is this going to throw a wrench in my application?? We do get CRRT on my unit, and still see our share of hemodynamic instability (sepsis, traumas, etc.). All traumas come to our unit, and we get ICP bolts and ventrics. Lots of big abdominal surgeries as well. We do lots of procedures at the bedside: trachs, EGD's, ventric placements

    I'm planning on trying to stick to schools that don't require the GRE. Unfortunately I am TERRIBLE at math, and I just know my score would be skewed by poor performance on the math portion.

    What can I work on in the next year? Do I stand a chance in a year? Is my ICU going to give me the experiences I need to be competitive?

    Thanks all
  2. Visit dressagerdr profile page

    About dressagerdr, BSN, RN

    Joined: Jun '12; Posts: 42; Likes: 38


  3. by   Da_Milk_of_Amnesia
    Obviously your GPA look good. But you're going to need to take your GREs if you want to expand your option in terms of schools. ACLS, PALS are all well and good but CCRN is a really really good thing to have. It shows that you are going to the extra mile to learn and have an in depth understand of critical care. Most if not all of the people you will be applying against will have it.

    While it's good to shadow a CRNA, the fact that you got to intubate and stuff doesn't go much in the way of helping your application. I've been an EMT and Firefighter for 12 years and I've gotten to intubate people 'under the table.' But in all honesty, intubation is not really a hard skill, it's the patients and their anatomy that make it difficult. Being good at intubating encompasses knowing what to do when you have a difficult or failed away and not losing your head.

    As far as experience goes, you'll see people who have applied with 1 year and then people who applied with 3 or more years. Honestly the more experience you the better. I would play it safe and have AT LEAST 2 years before applying. You simply cant see and do all the stuff that makes you a good critical care nurse in 1 or 1.5 years. Also, the quality of the experience i think is important too. I also worked at one of the top 10 hospitals in the nation and it was a high-acuity high intensity CCU where we had ECMO, IABP, CRRT, Swans etc. Having a deep knowledge of hemodynamics and the changes that occur during certain situations is (in my opinion) paramount. While you can read alot about swans in a book, nothing will compare to getting you hands on one and usually seeing it and having experience with it in practice. You would probably be better suited and get better experience in working the CVICU in your hospital to be honest. Most of the people in my class are either PICU, CCU or CVICU nurses.

    Good Luck.
  4. by   wtbcrna
    Apply, the worst that can happen is the school tells you no and you apply again in a year. Your stats are good so far you shouldn't have a problem getting into school, but you should at least apply to 3-4 schools.
  5. by   PMFB-RN
    I agree with WTBCRNA. Apply. I have never even heard of anyone not being able to get into CRNA school. I have known a few people who had to go back and take grad classes and re-apply the next year but every nurse I ever knew who was serious about getting in got in. Many with much worse GPAs than you that they had to make up with graduate classes before applying. Lots of them weren't even very good nurses. Of course not all of them graduated either, but they got accepted.
    I am informed that in Florida and Pennsylvania there are school who will let just about anyone in.
  6. by   dressagerdr
    Thanks all! Appreciate all the words of wisdom. I'm tied in on a 2 year contract in my ICU, so transferring at this point won't be an option. However I will float to the CVICU, so I'll do my best to get my hands dirty when I'm there.