Just finished my first semester. Ask me anything. - page 2

by MeTheRN 89,802 Views | 248 Comments

Wow...I can't believe it's only been been 3 1/2 months! It feels like it's been at least a year. But finally, a few hours ago today, I took my last final and finished my first semester of CRNA school! I figured this would be a... Read More


  1. 2
    Quote from Stymes07
    MeTheRN,
    So i cant PM yet so I will just ask you in the forum... What are/were your stats when you applied to Wolford. Wolford is on my short lists of schools that I am interested in. I shadowed a CRNA graduate from there and she said it is a great program. I am attempting to be strategic during this process.Just wanted to know what my chances are...
    my stats... GPA 3.0
    BSN GPS 3.78
    8 years Nurse 4 yrER/4yr MICU busy tertiary care center
    CCRN,CEN, NREMT-P, taking gre in a few weeks, and then right into chemistry from the University of New England...
    I hope that there is a glimmer of hope...
    My friend, your "glimmer" is a supernova star. With your BSN GPA and your experience, as well as your credentialing, you could probably get into Wolford just by those merits alone. Take the GRE, definitely give it your all, but I honestly think that you are a shoe in. The chemistry classes will be pretty helpful for pharm and chem/phys of anesthesia though, so definitely great that you're doing that.

    At this point, just apply. I think you'll get in for sure.

    My stats when I applied:
    GPA 3.95
    GRE 1460 AWA 5.5
    Just over a year of exp in neuro ICU at a level 1 trauma center
    Co-authored a research study on nonparalytic management of post-induced hypothermia shivering.

    Relax, most of my classmates had more average scores and GPA's and they're doing just fine in the program!
    besaangel and fiveofpeep like this.
  2. 1
    Quote from Monae2003
    What do you like the most and least about your program?
    What a great question! I really wanted to take my time in answering this for you.

    My favorite thing about the school is the class size. I feel much more comfortable with having 40-45 other students in the class with me because we all come from such different backgrounds and specialties that I feel the class conversations and discussions are extremely interesting. It also makes it easier to just buckle down and get your work done, while the brown nosers keep the instructors occupied :icon_roll. But honestly with that wide of a selection of students, I found it easy to find a cool circle of chill peeps and we study together a lot and help each other prepare for exams. Some people hate having a huge class size, but I thrive in a competitive environment and I learn from seeing other people go through scenarios and experiences, so I count that as a big plus.

    I have to admit I also really appreciate being taught anesthesia by anesthesiologists. I know CRNA's are supposed to be the arch enemies of MDA's (didn't you know that?!), but in all honesty there's no pretentiousness with the instructors. They know their stuff, and they know it well. They're a wealth of knowledge and I'm glad to be able to gleam a lot of that knowledge for my own education. We have CRNA's that teach classes too, so I feel it is a fair mix of things.

    My least favorite thing about the school is that it is not regionally accredited. That means if you want to get your DNAP from another university, they could essentially turn you down. It's not that big of a deal for me because if I want a DNAP, I'll just get it from Wolford online later in my career. The school is in the progress of getting that accreditation, and I hope it will be in affect before I graduate, but like I said...not a big deal for me.

    One thing that is kind of annoying is that since this college is a single-purpose independent program that just graduates CRNAs, it is extremely tiny. That comes with its limitations, namely no student housing, no student health clinic, and a part-time librarian. The library is a small room, and study space is pretty much anywhere all over Naples where you can get a wifi connection and a decent cup of coffee.

    I could go on and on all day about my experience, I like to write and give advice. So if you guys have any other questions please go ahead and ask!
    Last edit by MeTheRN on Jan 29, '12 : Reason: typo
    traumaRUs likes this.
  3. 0
    I appreciate your words of encouragement! Good luck in your own pursuit
  4. 0
    Do you think just one year experience as a nurse is enough to do well in the program? Do they expect you to know a lot? What are your tests like and how often do you get tests/quizes?
    Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Good luck!
  5. 3
    I guess I'm concerned about the implications of a nurse anesthesia student saying "I appreciate being taught by anesthesiologists. I know CRNAs are suppose to be the arch enemies ..." Do you realize you are negating that nurse anesthesia is a profession, and is only a profession because nurse anesthesia controls the educational process of new members of the profession? If nurse anesthesia was dependent on another profession for it's educational process, then it is no longer a profession. Many CRNAs have put great effort over the past 100+ years into developing and maintaining the professional standards that allow me as a CRNA to practice. You are blithly throwing that away. This is not to say that most professions do not learn from other professional branches, and that you should not learn from anesthesiologists. I am uncomforable that you are implying that CRNA instructors are somehow 'second rate'.

    I also disagree that CRNAs are the arch enemy. In some situations CRNAs are seen as threatening to some anesthesiologists, and there can be tension due to this.

    Have you read Watchful Care, or Thatcher's book on the history of nurse anesthesia? Virgina Thatcher's book is fasinating and can be downleaded from the AANA website. You may have a different outlook after reading these books.
    lady_stic, wtbcrna, and WolfpackRed like this.
  6. 1
    Quote from SAMISA09
    Do you think just one year experience as a nurse is enough to do well in the program? Do they expect you to know a lot? What are your tests like and how often do you get tests/quizes?
    Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Good luck!
    I think it was enough in my opinion. But we'll see when I get to clinicals. I had a strong undergrad experience, so the didactics aren't that hard for me at the moment. But they always ask if there is something that no one understands, and the intelligent students speak up and they slow down.

    You take 5-6 classes per semester, you have about 4 exams in each of them. After the first two weeks, we had an exam every week at least. And sometimes the exams would be back to back (pharm one day, advanced A&P the other day )

    Tests are all online and vary by class and even more by instructor. There are tons of group projects and a few papers we have to do too.

    All programs vary though, this is just example of my first semester.
    SAMISA09 likes this.
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    Quote from loveanesthesia
    I guess I'm concerned about the implications of a nurse anesthesia student saying "I appreciate being taught by anesthesiologists. I know CRNAs are suppose to be the arch enemies ..." Do you realize you are negating that nurse anesthesia is a profession, and is only a profession because nurse anesthesia controls the educational process of new members of the profession? If nurse anesthesia was dependent on another profession for it's educational process, then it is no longer a profession. Many CRNAs have put great effort over the past 100+ years into developing and maintaining the professional standards that allow me as a CRNA to practice. You are blithly throwing that away. This is not to say that most professions do not learn from other professional branches, and that you should not learn from anesthesiologists. I am uncomforable that you are implying that CRNA instructors are somehow 'second rate'.

    I also disagree that CRNAs are the arch enemy. In some situations CRNAs are seen as threatening to some anesthesiologists, and there can be tension due to this.

    Have you read Watchful Care, or Thatcher's book on the history of nurse anesthesia? Virgina Thatcher's book is fasinating and can be downleaded from the AANA website. You may have a different outlook after reading these books.
    I understand what you're saying. And yes, I've read the book and published works by Agatha Hodgins and Alice Mcgraw. I think it is great that nurse anesthesia is a self-sustaining and growing profession. I simply appreciate the fact that this school has a director who is a CRNA and a dean who is an MDA and everyone gets along. From the vibe I got off the forums and on YouTube, I was expecting a battlefield. At least in school, it's not like that for us and I was simply appreciating it.

    I definitely don't think CRNA's are second-rate instructors. If I thought so, I would've gone to anesthesia school and been an MDA. I'm a nerd and appreciate learning things thoroughly down to the cellular level, things some of my friends in other CRNA programs aren't learning or at least aren't being tested on.

    I'm sure my viewpoint will be reshaped and changed once I get out of school and start practicing though. Nurse practitioners have to do their practicums with doctors, I think it's fine that we learn some basic fundamental classes from MDA's. It would bother me if it were all taught by them though, I think it's important to have CRNA's actively involved in the educational process of their own profession, but it's not an "us" versus "them" feeling at the school. That's why I considered it a 'pro'.
  8. 1
    Hi, I have quite a few questions if you don't mind.

    1. When did you take your GRE?
    2. Is one year experience really okay?
    3. When did you apply for your ICU job, and do you suggest a specific field of ICU that is preferred by CRNA schools?
    4. Where did you find guidance and get advice for being a CRNA? I don't know any CRNAs to look up to or go to for advice. I've obtained all my knowledge mainly through forums and websites.
    5. What do CRNA schools look for in an applicant, besides the usual academics and experience? Do they look at shadowing, volunteering, etc?

    Sorry there are so many, thanks so much for your time!
    luciddreeams likes this.
  9. 1
    Quote from marie834
    Hi, I have quite a few questions if you don't mind.

    1. When did you take your GRE?
    2. Is one year experience really okay?
    3. When did you apply for your ICU job, and do you suggest a specific field of ICU that is preferred by CRNA schools?
    4. Where did you find guidance and get advice for being a CRNA? I don't know any CRNAs to look up to or go to for advice. I've obtained all my knowledge mainly through forums and websites.
    5. What do CRNA schools look for in an applicant, besides the usual academics and experience? Do they look at shadowing, volunteering, etc?

    Sorry there are so many, thanks so much for your time!
    1. I took my GRE last April, before it changed its content. My favorite part was the writing section. I used the Princeton Review for it because it's always been my favorite test prep.

    2. I honestly don't know. I'm one of the few (maybe there's 2 of us tops) that got in with only one year of experience. I can imagine it's a steep learning curve. But honestly the skills we are learning, no RN has done unless they were an RT or an EMT before they were nurses. I don't care how many years in the ICU someone's worked, it's not in the scope of practice to intubate or put in an A-line, central line, Swan, balloon pump, etc. So we're all sort of on leveled ground at this point. Sure, there are people who are insanely good at putting in IV's while I suck...but at the end of the day we're both going to be CRNAs. And I'll get better with practice.

    3. I actually was hired right into the ICU from nursing school. It was an insanely steep learning curve, but that is why I think I'll be OK with just a year of ICU exp. I'm used to busting my ass. Cardiac Recovery ICU is great because you get very familiar with a lot of vasoactive gtts, but anywhere that does trauma would be good. I did neuro ICU and it gave me a lot of great experience with cranial nerves, fluid resuscitation, and hypertonic infusions/diuretics. Honestly all of them would be good and would get you in, we even have a guy from the pediatric ICU.

    4. Honestly most of my information came from the internet. I read one book about becoming a CRNA (Sleep With this Book) but it was everything I found online in a book format. Got to the AANA website and read everything. Note this though, some CRNA's are very territorial about their job and will deliberately try to discourage you from entering the profession. Actually other nurses will do the same thing. Don't listen to them if this is really what you want to do.

    5. First, the grades have to be there. That's the easiest way to assure admission. If that's not there, then flesh it out with good clinical experience. But go a little farther. They love to hear about extra curricular stuff like councils and committees that you're on. I did a research project and they loved it. Yes, shadowing is a MUST for many schools. It's a MUST to make sure you actually like this job. A lot of people convince themselves that they can learn to love anything if it makes them $150K a year, but trust me...if you don't at least like this line of work you won't get through school. Applicants should be able to present themselves well, talk intelligently about their clinical experiences, and project confidence. Most of us in school are Type A control freaks, so the school knows that and actually welcomes that.

    Ask away!
    ICUman likes this.
  10. 0
    Are you at Wolford? I've seen many reviews? Are they true?
    Here are my stats:
    GPA 3.0, GRE 900(taking again in March), Shadowed twice, one year of neuro ICU at the time of applying, nurse in other areas for 3years Taking grad level health assessment, and patho now. Took chemistry last semester and got a C. oops, Will take CCRN in April, Attending a Simulation Workshop in March(intubation, anesthesia machine, etc).
    What are my chances? Any suggestions?
    Also, did you apply to more than one school?
    Did you save a load of money or take loans?
    Sorry so many questions. lol


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