Hey so before I got into CRNA school I read this site daily to try to get information. Because I have been so busy with school I haven't been back on here, but just thought about it and need to repay for the advice i got. Your question is one that I had, and struggled with. I actually started in ER and made transition to ICU, but it was only for school. Honestly I love Emergency and am still not a big fan of the ICU. In my application and interview process I found out that yes the schools want you to have a year, some two of experience by the time you start the program. While working at a level one might be a feather in your cap, it in not necessary to get an interview, get into school, or be successful in school. I went to 4 different interviews, and every single one of the programs told me that everyone that they were interviewing they would be successful in the program. The thing to realize is that you will be working daily with these people for the next three years. They want people that will be easy to work with and be around. I do not think that people that had "better" experience with me had any advantage once the program started. While you can get the basics in the ICU it is in no way the amount of information that you will learn in just your first month of school alone. That being said, I am glad that I spent my time in the ICU. In the ER we do things that we know are important and will save a persons life. In the ICU, you will have twelve hours to delve into every disease process and pharmacological effect of every drug given. It is a different way of thinking, not better but different.
In your time before you apply for school this is what I recommend. Transfer to the ICU where you're at if you can. If not transfer to wherever you can get in the quickest, preferably one that does hearts and neuro. When youre in the ICU take the sickest most unstable patients every night. While its nice to cruise on an insulin drip all night, you will not be learning. Take any opportunity you can to learn any device/procedure/disease process. If you dont know ask. Be conscious of all the drugs you are hanging, how they effect the patient, and each other. Specifically know which receptors each drug act on, the receptor effect, and the specific organ effect of the receptor. This will be huge in your interview. As soon as you get into ICU take your ccrn, start studying now. If you're smart enough to get through crna, you are smart enough to learn corn review without ever seeing 90% of the patients it test on. I recommend Laura Gasparis review. Finally if you like the ER stay on prn, I was able to never get sent home in 2 years of my icu work because I could do it all. Census can drop in ICU, it doesnt in ER. Also even though most schools don't consider ER for requirements, I believe it will make you better in the OR. If you are able to stay calm, think, and treat a multiple gsw that rolls up pov, you will be better suited to take care of a crashing pt on the OR. Oh last thing I know you want to be honest which I commend, but not a whole lot of ICU managers are going to invest time training you if you tell them you are trying to fast track to CRNA school so maybe keep that to yourself until you have been working there a few months. Kinda long winded and all over the place but feel free to email me with any questions that you or anyone reading this have. A few people helped me and I would like to pay it back. Put something in subject line so I make sure to see it. Good luck with everything.