Just finished my first semester. Ask me anything. Just finished my first semester. Ask me anything. - pg.3 | allnurses

Just finished my first semester. Ask me anything. - page 3

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... Read More

  1. Visit  MeTheRN profile page
    #26 4
    Quote from jenwil52
    Thanks for taking sometime between semesters to openly answer questions. Can you elaborate in more detail on your financial aid? I know there are a lot of forums about options, just looking for the most up to date information on this.

    Also I know many people ask is it really hard/time consuming as people say. Well that isn't my question, because I am preparing myself for it. But I just am curious what your typical day/week is like. I plan not to have a life, but I am more afraid about burnout and wondering it you have found ways to work other things in to prevent this as you get further into the program.
    It's really important to find a school that has a realistic cost of attendance. Wolford estimates that the most a student will need a year is $65K. About $21K is tuition and books, the rest is room and board. I applied for the maximum amount and have about $3K left over every month for rent (Naples is NOT cheap), car payment, utilities, phone bill, and food. This cost of attendance can be (and should be) completely made up of federal student loans.

    So basically you do your FAFSA and it'll tell you that you're eligible for a Stafford and a Graduate Plus loan. You ask for the maximum amount on the Stafford (because it has the lowest APR) and then whatever you need extra from the grad plus. I maxed out both.

    School is definitely all-consuming. I'm in a front loaded program, so we just finished up 5 classes. Three were intense science and the other two were fluff filled with group projects and papers.

    My study habits were erratic. At first when I started class, I would wake up at 0800 on my day's off and sit and transcribe my notes and listen to pre-recorded audio sessions of the lectures. After a couple of good grades I backed off and just previewed my notes and made tons of flash cards.

    In all honestly, some days I spent 2-3 hours on class. Other days I spent well over 10 hours. Some days I just sat on my couch and played video games. I'm a procrastinator by nature, so of course I got about 6 hours of sleep total during finals week. There are certainly people in the program who spend 8-10 hours a day studying this stuff. I'm not sure if it just makes more sense to me or if it's my photographic memory, but I don't spend 8-10 hours on it. I have been to study sessions where we quiz each other for 7-8 hours though, like right before an exam.

    While the teacher is lecturing, I highlight the important stuff. When class gets out, I quickly make online flashcards (StudyBlue or Quizlet) and begin quizzing myself. These flashcards can be accessed on your smart phone, so I'll quiz myself everywhere on the go. Most instructors will give you a study guide of sorts, so when that comes out I make sure I've memorized everything about the topics listed. The exams are tricky, but you need to get a feel for the examination style of each professor.

    Burn out is a real possibility. After the finals, I had a little break down and couldn't stop laughing and crying at the same time! My parents were really worried. But some people have mentioned that working out is a good way to relieve all of this stress. Other people are just content with 80% = CRNA and don't really gun for the high grades. I heard that most of the students are on antidepressants by the time the program is over. It all depends on how you are as a student. You'll figure it out, we only lost one person due to low grades this semester.
    Last edit by MeTheRN on Feb 1, '12 : Reason: typo
  2. Visit  CVICU14 profile page
    #27 0
    I will. No problem
  3. Visit  MeTheRN profile page
    #28 0
    Quote from plantbasednurse
    Do you mind posting a follow up after you return from the Simulation Workshop? I am planning on attending in October. There's one held at Duke.


    It would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you
    Sure, no problem but the simulation lab is still under construction so I won't be in there for a few months. After I'm in, I'll definitely update on the experience.
  4. Visit  MeTheRN profile page
    #29 1
    Quote from plantbasednurse
    Thank you for starting this thread!

    How do you feel you made your admission letter and resume stand out?
    How early did you submit your admission packets?

    Thanks in advance
    To make the resume pop, I wrote about my relevant clinical experiences. For example, titrating that NMBA's to the TOF twitches, using different vasoactive gtts, helping insert EVD's and spinal drains, things like that. Basically just put down my most impressive level 1 trauma experience.

    The letter is actually pretty easy. Just talk about how you're a bad ass and love to learn and get into complicated clinical scenarios. Talk about how much you respect the profession and etc. It's really just a time to highlight yourself and explain anything else (like planning on taking the CCRN or GRE at this date, etc).

    I submitted my admissions package a month before the Spring deadline. They contacted me and asked if I wanted to start in the Fall (which was 2 months away! !) So I quickly accepted and made my plans to quit my job and relocate to Naples. Being a single young guy definitely came in handy.
  5. Visit  CVICU14 profile page
    #30 2
    Woww. I'm getting excited just reading your post.
  6. Visit  DeeLlor profile page
    #31 0
    Hello! These are definitely great and helpful discussions! I am a new grad that just got hired onto a Post-Operative Medical-Surgical floor in a smaller community hospital and am 3 weeks into the new graduate program. Although I am contracted for about a year, I want to do everything I am capable of doing now to increase my chances of getting into a CRNA program later down the line. Being aware of some of the requirements, I plan to transfer to an ICU unit as soon as I am able to. I guess one of my concerns is that I only had a 3.25 GPA as an undergrad in my BSN program. I guess you can call me your "average" student who lacked much extracurricular involvement and such. What do you guys suggest I start working on now to increase my chances of even being considered into a CRNA program? So far, I've been considering obtaining certifications (CCRN), possibly joining committees, becoming a preceptor for other new graduates/hires, etc. Any other suggestions?
  7. Visit  MeTheRN profile page
    #32 0
    Quote from DeeLlor
    Hello! These are definitely great and helpful discussions! I am a new grad that just got hired onto a Post-Operative Medical-Surgical floor in a smaller community hospital and am 3 weeks into the new graduate program. Although I am contracted for about a year, I want to do everything I am capable of doing now to increase my chances of getting into a CRNA program later down the line. Being aware of some of the requirements, I plan to transfer to an ICU unit as soon as I am able to. I guess one of my concerns is that I only had a 3.25 GPA as an undergrad in my BSN program. I guess you can call me your "average" student who lacked much extracurricular involvement and such. What do you guys suggest I start working on now to increase my chances of even being considered into a CRNA program? So far, I've been considering obtaining certifications (CCRN), possibly joining committees, becoming a preceptor for other new graduates/hires, etc. Any other suggestions?
    Congrats on being hired! First and foremost, learn to be a good nurse. Remember that you will need a recommendation from your direct supervisor and a colleague, so being a good nurse regardless of what acuity you're at is the basis of everything. Once you have a handle on being a graduate nurse, explore ways of taking on more responsibility. Join the unit practice council, the journal club, things like that. It'll show you're willing to get involved. If you want some extra homework, definitely study for the GRE. It's a perfect time because you're learning curve isn't as steep since you don't work in the ICU already, so it should be OK and doable to study for the GRE while learning the scoop on your floor. The less than stellar GPA can be replaced by a high GRE score and good ICU experience on an involved floor. Do your year and then definitely transfer to the ICU, but make sure to take the most complicated patients you can in the mean time to learn!
  8. Visit  MEDBRAT08 profile page
    #33 0
    Hi!

    First of all, I would like to thank you for offering to share your experiences as a new SRNA and being willing to answer all the questions. I have been lurking on the site for the last 6 years, ever since I decided to change my life and to become an RN. For years, I had seen the pattern when the aspiring SRNAs would beg for the information, and as soon as they will get accepted, despite being on the site for some time, they just disappear, and never respond to the troves of people like themslves, just a couple of weeks ago, who want to have the first-hand account, but they just don't care. You are the opposite of that, and the information that you volunteered to provide is golden, so thanks once again!

    Your stats are VERY impressive, and your know that well, because you were the one who earned them. So my question is, why with your fantastic application, that would enable you to attend any CRNA program, including any in the the top 10, you still choose Wolford. It is one of 3 schools that I'm going to apply to, but my concern is, with dwindling employment opportunities for new grad. CRNAs, will the fact that you graduated from the program ranked as 99 out of 108 will complicate your job search for the first position as a new grad CRNA? What do your peers think about this?

    Thanks again for doing this!!!
  9. Visit  MeTheRN profile page
    #34 5
    Quote from MEDBRAT08
    Hi!

    First of all, I would like to thank you for offering to share your experiences as a new SRNA and being willing to answer all the questions. I have been lurking on the site for the last 6 years, ever since I decided to change my life and to become an RN. For years, I had seen the pattern when the aspiring SRNAs would beg for the information, and as soon as they will get accepted, despite being on the site for some time, they just disappear, and never respond to the troves of people like themslves, just a couple of weeks ago, who want to have the first-hand account, but they just don't care. You are the opposite of that, and the information that you volunteered to provide is golden, so thanks once again!

    Your stats are VERY impressive, and your know that well, because you were the one who earned them. So my question is, why with your fantastic application, that would enable you to attend any CRNA program, including any in the the top 10, you still choose Wolford. It is one of 3 schools that I'm going to apply to, but my concern is, with dwindling employment opportunities for new grad. CRNAs, will the fact that you graduated from the program ranked as 99 out of 108 will complicate your job search for the first position as a new grad CRNA? What do your peers think about this?

    Thanks again for doing this!!!
    First of all, you're very welcome. I really like sharing information and writing, so it suites me very well to share my experiences with an eager audience. I wouldn't judge the other SRNA's too harshly, most people really do constantly study while they are in this program. But you're welcome!

    Secondly, you asked a very great question. And if I have to be completely honest with you (which I will, because if I'm not then what's the point of this thread?) I ultimately decided to go to Wolford because I wanted to live in Naples again. I grew up in Naples and moved away for college and stayed for my ICU job. When I was looking at anesthesia schools, I was thrilled to find an established, single-purpose CRNA program in my back yard. You're right, I could have gone anywhere. I applied to so many schools and got into every one that I interviewed at. I could have gone to Mayo, Gooding's, and a few other big name schools. But ultimately being able to be with my family and see my little brother and sister grow up won out for me.

    Now regarding employment, every single Wolford graduate has gotten employment. Every single one. The thing about Wolford is that so many students are from out of state, and most of them go back to their original states after they're done with school. The ones that stick around have a harder time finding jobs in FL due to the market, but if they're willing to look, jobs are out there. For example, Collier Anesthesia is hiring, and a few companies in Tampa are hiring. If you go on gaswork.com, you can see how many CRNA jobs are listed across the nation, not including the ones that are never posted. There are numerous opportunities to get hired at FANA and AANA meetings via networking.

    I am a big believer that the student is what ultimately makes the educational experience great or disastrous. I went from community college to a regular public university. I had over 200 students in my general science courses and still all the instructors knew my name and who I was. Then in nursing school, we had 120+ students. In clinicals, I would fight and plot for every opportunity to have the most complicated patients with the difficult airways and complicated medications and dressings. I was the only one who was hired straight into a level I trauma center ICU, and the only one so far to get into CRNA school. At work, I was the one always looking to admit the massive head bleeds or the AAA with enthusiasm. I am one of the youngest students in my class, and I am consistently getting some of the highest grades. One instructor in particular has taken to mentoring me and shares a lot of additional information with me. I'm not trying to brag, but the point I'm trying to make is just because you attend a school that is ranked higher, that does not mean you will automatically be a better practitioner. I definitely look forward to updating this forum after every semester and eventually after I graduate, and then I'll have much more insightful information regarding whether or not going to Wolford was the right decision. But as of now, I'm extremely good with my decision.
  10. Visit  loveanesthesia profile page
    #35 0
    The new accreditation standards from the COA effective 2014 require institutional accreditation. Wolford will need to gain accreditation or the program will be closed. It's likely to cost them some money to fix the things that will be required, so it will be interesting to see if the leadership will invest the money. If they do gain accreditation, the students from then on will have a recognized degree which will be a positive.
  11. Visit  rnforcrna profile page
    #36 0
    What happens if you are currently enrolled and the institution does not become accredited?
  12. Visit  loveanesthesia profile page
    #37 0
    Other universities will not recognize that you have a degree. This will affect you if you want to obtain a doctorate from another university or if you want to teach at another university. It will be like your highest begree is your BSN.
  13. Visit  MEDBRAT08 profile page
    #38 0
    Thank you very much for your reply MeTheRN! I wish you the best of luck in your studies, and looking forward to hear how things are progressing!

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