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Am I competitive to apply this year? Advice.

cole1321 cole1321 (New) New

I have been preparing to go to CRNA school since I started my nursing program and learned of the possibilities. I will start applying this year to school in Florida, including USF, UNF, FIU, and Barry. I have tried to research, and read these forums as much as possible and will continue to read and prepare. I have tried to do as much as possible in the short period of time I had to do it in, and still trying to squeeze in a few things at the last minute. I am trying to get any last minute pointers specifically from applicants in South Florida.

My Education: I am ex-navy, Nuclear, electrical. I took one course in Hawaii, Calculus - A. I started my nurseing education at a community college in Jan 2005, Graduated April 2007. Started my RN to BSN program May 2007, Graduated August 2008. My overall GPA is 3.84, My BSN GPA is 3.97, My Science GPA is 4.0.

My Experience: 12 years in the Navy as a nuclear electrician. Less then a year as a tech during community college in an ER. Just over one year now working in a Trauma ICU.

I will take my GRE in a few weeks, and start the application process to the graduate schools listed above. I will start to study for the CCRN exam, and attempt it in October this year. I figure studying for CCRN will also help towards any question in the interview also. I Think I look good on paper, My real concern is my lack of experience. My unit and many I float to use swans maybe once a year. Only the Cardiac unit really uses them at my hospital. From reading the boards I have put more time into knowing my vasoactive drugs in more detail. I am very worried that my one year of experience is really going to hurt my chances at being competitive. I am also hoping to illustrate to the reviewing members how difficult and demanding that Navy nuclear power school really is. It requires a full work week of school, 40-45 hours in class, and then an additional 20 to 40 outside of class. And it is all classified, so all studying is done at the school.

I had hoped to take additional chemistry but won't have time to complete anything prior to the application deadlines. So I hope the board will take into account the high amount of sciences completed in the navy.

My research instructor said she would write me a letter of recommendation, she has her PhD. And I should be able to get something from my director. Unfortunately I do not know any CRNA at this time, and working on contacting some to shadow. I am hoping that if I spend enough time shadowing these CRNA's they may also give me a letter.

If anyone can give me advice for letters of recommendation, how are my chances to be competitive with only one year of experience, any advice to help the Review board recognize the level of difficulty of school I have already completed (navy)?

My first choice of schools is FIU, so any advice from students or graduates of FIU, I would appreciate any feedback you have to offer.

I've researched Barry and USF (and my BSN is from USF), and USF requires TWO years of critical care experience. The program director told me she strongly prefers CSU/CVICU at a level one trauma center. It is a new program though, so I'm not sure if the admissions are as competitive as some other schools while they're still building their reputation. I think your interview would be the time to talk about your navy training and how that experience will help you, and you can bring it up in an essay if required. Your grades are excellent, and if you get a good GRE I would imagine that would compensate for lack of experience at least enough to get you an interview at most places - except USF where the experience is a requirement. If you will have >2 years before the program starts though, you may be OK there too.

Summitk2

Specializes in CVICU, CCRN, now SRNA.

You're planning on taking the GRE and CCRN this year, but I think your performance on these will have a big influence on whether you're competitive or not. With what you've shared so far, I don't think you're very competitive. Particularly in practice. Not only have you had a limited amount of time in critical care practice, but it also sounds like your experience has been weak (it's hard to tell). Are your patients usually vented? What kind of hemodynamics are you managing? What drugs are you using? Do you often encounter compromising dysrhythmias? Are you in codes often? What kind of split-second decisions do you make on a routine basis? Swans aren't necessary, but they help... Most of all you need sick-sick-sick patients.

Again, your performance on the GRE and CCRN will determine better how competitive you'll be. Obviously, you need to ace them both. Regarding your nuclear electricity background, you can describe the nature of the program, but you have to admit that it really doesn't relate to nursing. Because you survived that training does not mean you are a good candidate for CRNA. I think your GPA in nursing is what you should sell.

You're planning on taking the GRE and CCRN this year, but I think your performance on these will have a big influence on whether you're competitive or not. With what you've shared so far, I don't think you're very competitive. Particularly in practice. Not only have you had a limited amount of time in critical care practice, but it also sounds like your experience has been weak (it's hard to tell). Are your patients usually vented? What kind of hemodynamics are you managing? What drugs are you using? Do you often encounter compromising dysrhythmias? Are you in codes often? What kind of split-second decisions do you make on a routine basis? Swans aren't necessary, but they help... Most of all you need sick-sick-sick patients.

Again, your performance on the GRE and CCRN will determine better how competitive you'll be. Obviously, you need to ace them both. Regarding your nuclear electricity background, you can describe the nature of the program, but you have to admit that it really doesn't relate to nursing. Because you survived that training does not mean you are a good candidate for CRNA. I think your GPA in nursing is what you should sell.

Our Trauma Unit is not weak experience. Our patients are very critical. We get many head injuries (SDH, EDH), Spinal Fx, Pelvic Fx, Femur fx's, Open abdomens, Large blood loss patients. Since this is south florida many of our patients are older, and do come in with heart conditions, which is usually what caused the trauma, syncopy lead to car crash, or fall. Many of our patients on top of the trauma, are in CHF, A-fib, Pace-makers, Brady, (just about all the elderly heart problems). Nearly all our patients are vented, and we also recover most of the trauma patients in the unit. We are very fast paced, and often are running units of blood, FFP, platlets, and titrating drips to keep a blood pressure on these patients. Common drugs we use are dopamine, dubutamine, cardene, cardizem, levophed, ntg, mannitol, propofol, pentobarb, heparin. I may have skipped a few. Decision making on the spot is a definite in our unit, so I do not think my experience is weak. We and CVICU split the codes each month. And since I am so easy going, I am on the Code team during our month every time I work, so i have seen many codes. Our patients are sick.

The only reason I brought up the navy experience is to demonstrate I can hande a fast paced difficult curriculum. I definitely understand it does not benefit my nursing knowledge.

FLTraumaRN

Specializes in Trauma ER and ICU...SRNA now. Has 14 years experience.

I would stress the acuity of your patients and being on the code team more than the navy experience. It's impressive what you have done, but that's the past and doesn't apply to wether you are a good canidate for CRNA school. This of course is my opinion. Just make sure that what you stress in the interview you can back up with good knowledge. If you say you do dopa gtts, you better know about it. I wouldn't worry to much about swans, a lot of units don't use them too much any more.

I know Barry has a critical care test, so study up on that if you interview there. FIU will be having their interviews in early December this year, so I would get stuff in as early as you can. You can always add to your file...ex. CCRN cert.

Good luck!

I think your application will look strong. Your gpas are great. It sounds like you are getting great experience. At your interview you should stress the drips you use and the code team experience. I think the only thing that you could add to help you- maybe work a prn in a CVICU at your hospital or see if you can float to gain the PA experience. You can also look up PACEP (this is a PA module that you can complete from AACN that is really good to get an idea before you go to prn). I think you'll be fine, but if you add CVICU to all that other great stuff you'll have in your app...you'll have a good chance. Good luck!

As far as letters of recommendation:

You do need letters from persons in the anesthesia field....that would know what it takes to be successful in an anesthesia program.

It's really important to shadow a CRNA: for your application and for yourself. Anesthesia is highly specialized, and the education is an extreme commitment. So you need to know for sure if this is what you want to do.

If you don't know anyone in the OR, or none of your collegues do (I would find this surprising on your unit), then just go into the OR (pre-op/PACU) and see if you can get introduced. You need to learn being humble at some point...being an SRNA is all about listening/learning and being humble.

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