Prospective CRNA Student Doubts

  1. Hi Everyone,
    Just wanted to take the time to thank everyone in advance for reading this and for any feedback or input.

    I am a current BSN student at the half-way point in my program and am facing a bit of discouragement. I truly love the nursing profession and have a huge respect for everyone in this field. Becoming a CRNA is something I've thought long and hard about and always wanted to achieve (will not get into the why for the sake of time), but I know that there are certain expectations beforehand and the competitive nature of the admissions/program. This post is hopefully to get some feedback from mentors, peers, those in the programs, current CRNAs etc about my stats to gauge the reality of the situation because it seems more and more less likely.

    A little about me: I am a 21 y/o male nursing student in a traditional BSN program. Currently finished 3/8 quarters and have always worked part-time during pre-reqs and nursing school. My nursing GPA is not stellar 3.4 however this is due to my university's grading system. I am at 92% average for all nursing courses however we are graded on a skew. (92 = B+, 93-94=A- & 95+ = A). I am not here to complain because the system is what it is, however it is extremely difficult for me to hit the 93-95 range so I tend to end with B+s and it lowers my GPA. I am grateful however, I was able to get solid As in Patho and Pharm (Med/Surg I grade was recently posted, I got a 92.4% or B+ ..).Of course I am going to continue to strive for better in the future however I know that the courses are going to become increasingly difficult (Peds/OB, Critical Care etc) so possible bumps on the road are to be expected.

    Of course GPA is not everything and there are other aspects that come into play (GRE, CCRN, work experience, LOR etc.) however it is one predictor to the admissions of academic grit and ability to handle coursework and I am at a point where my confidence keeps dwindling. Please note I am not solely driven by grades; I do want to be the best/safest nurse I can be and will continue to work hard in doing so, but sometimes when I look at my GPA I get discouraged and feel like it does not accurately represent me. Anyway, any advice or feedback would be appreciated and thank you for taking the time to read.

    (TLDR; 3.4 GPA student, different grading system, seeking constructive criticism/advice)

    -A current BSN student and hopeful SRNA
    Last edit by StudentBSNDaniel on Mar 16
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    3 Comments

  3. by   Bluebolt
    Don't stress. Your GPA is fine. I wouldn't let it fall much lower but if you can stay steady with a B+ average you'll be fine. The GPA just gives them an idea of your ability to study and take your courses seriously. They will probably be more interested in your science GPA over your nursing GPA anyway.

    As you mentioned there are many many other hoops to jump through for them to use as a measuring stick for competitiveness. It's all relative. If you have an overall GPA of 3.2 but have your CCRN, scored amazing on the GRE, did 3 years of high acuity critical care nursing taking care of ECMO, initiated new changes in your hospital to decrease VAP numbers via research and EBP, have three letters of outstanding recommendation from anesthesia providers and managers, do volunteer medical mission trips with your local church in Kenya, shadowed a CRNA for 75 hours over a 6 month period, exceptional personal interview that made a lasting impression, etc. You get the picture. What I just described to you is the type of candidate they are looking for. So as you can see with all the different criteria they are looking for in an SRNA you shouldn't focus so much on your GPA alone.

    You can have a 4.0 GPA but if you barely have a year of mediocre ICU experience, have no leadership experience, worked on no committees, a couple unimpressive letters of recommendation, come off badly in the interview, you can bet they will pick the 3.2 GPA with all the other stuff.

    You're right, CRNA school is very competitive, it's very likely that you'll apply to a few different places, interview at a couple and get an acceptance to one, two if you're lucky. Just jump the hoops, show them how bad you want it and how you're willing to work for it through objective measurments they can see on paper (not just a GPA) and don't give up. If you get rejected from your first school, don't throw in the towel, most of us have interviewed somewhere and not got an offer extended, you'll apply to the right school and you'll get in. You'll become that SRNA you're hoping to be.

    Then one day you'll be that SRNA, tired from being in the OR all day but taking the time to type this out so a nursing student who is just where you were at 9 years ago can widen their perspective and keep taking their steps on the path to their dream career. Good luck.
  4. by   buspar
    Since you are still in college, I sincerely suggest you to shadow a CRNA, not only one time, but multiple times. Not in just one hospital, but different ones. Not just in OR, IR, but also the private clinical settings. What do they really do, not just intubate patients, and manage their vs. What do they do when they are on call and the hospital calls the Airway Management. Talk to SRNAs, or CRNAs to see if you want to committee your life to Anesthesia. It's not that everyone like it.

    First things first. I suggest you contact the schools that you are really interested in applying in future. Most of the CRNA directors will guide you what you need to be competitive; and work really hard to archive them all. For example, I contacted multiple schools when I was in my college. They told me to study hard and get highest grades that I could. Shadow, volunteer, and do mission trips if you can. Get involved to your nursing school. Be active in nursing clubs. Apply to all of scholarships. Work really hard while you are in school. It's worth it. And I am telling you why.

    After graduation, you need a job. You really need strong letter of recommendations from the nursing director/professors in your school showing your leadership abilities, how helpful you are. Then you get a job. If you get an ICU job, great. If you got an ICU position in an academic/level 1 teaching hospital- Awesome !!! But if not, take anything that you get offered, then work your way to get to ICU. How ? get certifications, nursing conferences, networking. You again work hard to get the best ICU experience that you can ... then move to the next steps!

    ICU experience .. You work in an awesome ICU where you take care of the sickest patients. Now time for you to get CCRN certified (TNCC, ect...), take GRE, and get a good score.After one-two or three years, be a charge nurse, precept new hires, join any ICU committee, get involved and make your unit better... why? you need VERY STRONG letters of recommendation from your Manager/supervisors/coworkers later !


    I can tell you ....a million things what to do to be competitive, and I am still working on it myself. The bottom line is ... Little by little. "Rome was not built in one day". I hope your overwhelming desire to be CRNA never fades away !!! But again first things first, and you have to do it WELL ! Get highest Grades that you can, volunteer, get involved in your school, shadow, graduate, study hard for NCLEX, pass it, and get a job...

    Good luck
  5. by   KatLW
    I want to second what the commenters are saying and just encourage you. Is academic success important? Absolutely. Admissions committees want to know that you'll be able to make it through a tough program. But there are lots of other things that go into selecting the best applicants. The fact that you have a 3.4 GPA tells me that you're successful enough to make it through.

    I would say that the best thing you can do to improve your chances of getting into CRNA school is--everything! Seriously-be involved in your school's organizations, prioritize a practicum location that sets you up for an amazing ICU job (as much as you have control). Don't settle for a "beginners" floor job right out of nursing school. Be willing to move or wait for a job that can take you somewhere. There are lots of ICU jobs for new nurses who are willing to work and learn. Seek out a trauma center in choosing a hospital; they're going to have the caliber of sick patients you need to be learning from. Join your unit's committees; be part of education and change. Your boss will (should) see your initiative and you will stand out. BE HUMBLE. LEARN EVERYTHING. The best way to set yourself up for success WHEN you get into school is to take care of the hardest, sickest patients they will let you, and ask lots and lots of questions. Ask questions when you're training; ask questions when you don't know what to do. Befriend the nurse with 30 years experience and go to him/ her with your questions. You will never know everything; even experienced nurses ask for help when they are stumped. Take the CCRN when you can. Go to AACN conferences-they're FUN!

    And the biggest thing (to me): if you don't get in your first time around, reapply far and wide. Every year of ICU experience makes you a better candidate, so if you're deferred, try to look at it as an opportunity to do more and learn more. I think the CRNA community, as a whole, respects people who have determination to keep pursuing their dream.

    I hope this helps, and you feel encouraged. My goal is to offer you a lot of other ways to be competitive besides GPA. Happy studying, working, and learning. The learning never ever stops in this field.

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