Accelerated BSN student interested in CRNA


Hello everyone, I'm currently in an Accelerated BSN program and will be graduating in May 2017. I had decided prior to starting this program that I wanted to become a CRNA after shadowing at the hospital. My previous experience was having a BS in Health Science and I was in PA School, but decided that route was not for me because I was not truly happy and I could not see myself as a medical provider in that sense. However, I found that I really enjoyed doing more hands on things with the patient, I learned how to intubate a patient in Emergency Med in PA school and I thought it was so interesting. My interest in CRNA was further sparked when I shadowed a CRNA back in December .I realized that this is an occupation that I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. I understand that in order for me to become a CRNA, I would need 1-2 years of ICU experience (after passing NCLEX and becoming an RN-BSN). My question is do you guys know of any shadowing opportunities, specifically in South Jersey and Philadelphia region for me? Also, what are the odds of me actually getting into an ICU right out of nursing school? Lastly, if I can't work directly into an ICU, what other units would you guys suggest I work because I honestly do not like Med-Surg.

Bumex, DNP, NP

1 Article; 384 Posts

Specializes in Assistant Professor, Nephrology, Internal Medicine. Has 13 years experience.

It depends on the need in your location. I was a new grad in a rural setting outside of Phoenix and they basically asked me where I wanted to be, because the deficiency was in the supply not demand. If being a CRNA is really your dream:

1) don't worry about getting x number of years of experience in ICU, rather focus on your abilities. When you are confident and competent, that's when you should apply to CRNA school.

2) weigh your dream vs. your desire for geographical location. In my career, I've valued the quality and type of experience over location. I have been and will be fine with moving to get the job I want. If ICU is tough to get in our area, consider moving to a different area to get that experience.

3) alternate experiences to beef up your resume would include ER, tele and maybe OR however I've never worked in the OR so that's an educated guess on my part. But no program/job will want you without solid ICU experience, so those units will be stepping stones to get into ICU.

4) don't let the mindset of "I'm going to be a CRNA" over shadow learning to be and work as an RN. Some people won't want to hire or train you if you're not serious about being a staff nurse.

I wish you the best of luck. focus on one stepping stone at a time. Trust me, the advice comes from my own experience.


4,123 Posts

Specializes in NICU. Has 8 years experience.

I would also advise you not to tell future employers that your intent is to get your ICU experience and go to CRNA school.

umbdude, MSN, APRN

1,227 Posts

Specializes in Psych/Mental Health. Has 6 years experience.

Start with your clinical sites and tell your clinical instructors about this. I have absolutely no interest in CRNA or ICU, but I ended up shadowing a couple of CRNAs during my med-surg and OB clinical (in the OR), and spent a day with a couple of ICU nurses. They were so keen to teach me things because I asked questions and helped them out. If you keep an open mind, work hard, stay humble, and ask for advice, some of them will be happy to help you out.

Horseshoe, BSN, RN

5,879 Posts

1) don't worry about getting x number of years of experience in ICU, rather focus on your abilities. When you are confident and competent, that's when you should apply to CRNA school.

I agree.

I work with 10-15 CRNAs at my endo facility, and one day I did a poll. NOT ONE of them applied to CRNA school with only one year in ICU. Most had several years behind their belts, some had as many as 7 to 10 years experience. I know I didn't truly begin to feel confident and competent as an ICU nurse until I had been in the unit 2 or 3 years. After 1 year, I was doing well just to no longer feel sick to my stomach on my way to work!