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Considering CRNA - what should I do to prepare?

CRNA   (1,250 Views | 12 Replies)

rubyagnes has 5 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Emergency Department, Psychiatry, Art Therapy.

3,989 Profile Views; 154 Posts

Hello,

I'm hoping to get some advice from those who have become CRNA's. I have been a nurse for about 5 years now. The first few years of my career were spent working at a busy ER in Baltimore City. Ratios were around 1:4 and it wasn't uncommon to have more than one intubated patient at a time. Lots of trauma, very fast paced environment, and an amazing learning experience. From there I transferred to Johns Hopkins to work on an inpatient psychiatric unit working with patients with Neurodegenerative diseases as well as chronic pain patients. It's been somewhat interesting, but also a bit disappointing. I don't feel like I'm learning as much as I was in the ER. I don't feel like psych is taken as seriously as I think it could be, despite working with some very complex patients. I'm underwhelmed by the polypharmacy and the belief that if a patient isn't making progress it's the patients "fault" for being non-compliant rather than considering *maybe* we could be approaching a patient differently or trying harder... Anyway, I'll save my rant about psych for another time.

Long story short, I'm planning for a career change. At the same time, I'm also planning to move from Baltimore to Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area in the Fall. I'm reluctant to continue in Psych for the above stated reasons (even though I'm now a board certified mental health nurse) I feel like every patient is a psych patient, every patient is experiencing their own emotional/psychological/behavioral challenges, etc so I feel my experience in psych can be relevant in many parts of my career and life. I don't want to sell myself short in my nursing career. I want to feel challenged and inspired. I've always felt fascinated and excited by procedures and the human body. I love surgery, I love learning about how the body works, how to fix, how medicines work, etc. I have my BSN and was considering moving toward either DNP or CRNA once I'm moved and settled into a new position.

My questions are:

- What units would be beneficial to work on in preparation for CRNA school? ED, ICU, maybe OR? Would ortho be relevant? PACU? Since my main experiences are ER and Psych those are obviously positions I could apply to, but I'm open to many experiences and feel interested in many types of nursing.

- Is it possible to go to CRNA school while working? Some employers offer tuition assistance but I would need to be working at least part if not full time to qualify for the benefit. Is that possible?

- Do you think it could be beneficial for me to start travel nursing on a medicine unit prior to applying for jobs in Raleigh, to show I have more up to date experience on a medical unit? Or is it better to stay where I am in Psych until I move in September?

- Any other advice or insight?

Thanks so much in advance!

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Defibn' has 6 years experience as a RN, EMT-P and specializes in SRNA.

196 Posts; 2,558 Profile Views

On 4/14/2020 at 5:59 PM, rubyagnes said:

My questions are:

- What units would be beneficial to work on in preparation for CRNA school? ED, ICU, maybe OR? Would ortho be relevant? PACU? Since my main experiences are ER and Psych those are obviously positions I could apply to, but I'm open to many experiences and feel interested in many types of nursing.

- Is it possible to go to CRNA school while working? Some employers offer tuition assistance but I would need to be working at least part if not full time to qualify for the benefit. Is that possible?

- Do you think it could be beneficial for me to start travel nursing on a medicine unit prior to applying for jobs in Raleigh, to show I have more up to date experience on a medical unit? Or is it better to stay where I am in Psych until I move in September?

- Any other advice or insight?

I am an SRNA, not yet a CRNA. You need to have good ICU experience to get into anesthesia schools. As far as I am aware, there are a few programs that allow you to work during the first semester of the program. But after that you would have a hard time working and succeeding. I would begin reaching out and trying to contact potential hospitals you want to work at and see what they say. You are by no means a new grad. Your years of ER should be fine for applying to an ICU, but that is just my opinion.

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sleepwalker has 16 years experience as a MSN, NP and specializes in Occupational Health.

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On 4/14/2020 at 6:59 PM, rubyagnes said:

Hello,

I'm hoping to get some advice from those who have become CRNA's. I have been a nurse for about 5 years now. The first few years of my career were spent working at a busy ER in Baltimore City. Ratios were around 1:4 and it wasn't uncommon to have more than one intubated patient at a time. Lots of trauma, very fast paced environment, and an amazing learning experience. From there I transferred to Johns Hopkins to work on an inpatient psychiatric unit working with patients with Neurodegenerative diseases as well as chronic pain patients. It's been somewhat interesting, but also a bit disappointing. I don't feel like I'm learning as much as I was in the ER. I don't feel like psych is taken as seriously as I think it could be, despite working with some very complex patients. I'm underwhelmed by the polypharmacy and the belief that if a patient isn't making progress it's the patients "fault" for being non-compliant rather than considering *maybe* we could be approaching a patient differently or trying harder... Anyway, I'll save my rant about psych for another time.

Long story short, I'm planning for a career change. At the same time, I'm also planning to move from Baltimore to Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area in the Fall. I'm reluctant to continue in Psych for the above stated reasons (even though I'm now a board certified mental health nurse) I feel like every patient is a psych patient, every patient is experiencing their own emotional/psychological/behavioral challenges, etc so I feel my experience in psych can be relevant in many parts of my career and life. I don't want to sell myself short in my nursing career. I want to feel challenged and inspired. I've always felt fascinated and excited by procedures and the human body. I love surgery, I love learning about how the body works, how to fix, how medicines work, etc. I have my BSN and was considering moving toward either DNP or CRNA once I'm moved and settled into a new position.

My questions are:

- What units would be beneficial to work on in preparation for CRNA school? ED, ICU, maybe OR? Would ortho be relevant? PACU? Since my main experiences are ER and Psych those are obviously positions I could apply to, but I'm open to many experiences and feel interested in many types of nursing.- You will need ICU, CVICU, CVSICU or similar experience.

- Is it possible to go to CRNA school while working? Some employers offer tuition assistance but I would need to be working at least part if not full time to qualify for the benefit. Is that possible? - You will NOT be able to work and go to CRNA school

- Do you think it could be beneficial for me to start travel nursing on a medicine unit prior to applying for jobs in Raleigh, to show I have more up to date experience on a medical unit? Or is it better to stay where I am in Psych until I move in September?- Neither one of these will help you with CRNA school experience

- Any other advice or insight?

Thanks so much in advance!

Edited by sleepwalker

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rubyagnes has 5 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Emergency Department, Psychiatry, Art Therapy.

154 Posts; 3,989 Profile Views

2 hours ago, sleepwalker said:

Thank you for your response!

Edited by rubyagnes

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rubyagnes has 5 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Emergency Department, Psychiatry, Art Therapy.

154 Posts; 3,989 Profile Views

5 hours ago, Defibn' said:

I am an SRNA, not yet a CRNA. You need to have good ICU experience to get into anesthesia schools. As far as I am aware, there are a few programs that allow you to work during the first semester of the program. But after that you would have a hard time working and succeeding. I would begin reaching out and trying to contact potential hospitals you want to work at and see what they say. You are by no means a new grad. Your years of ER should be fine for applying to an ICU, but that is just my opinion.

Thanks for your response! Even if I don't end up pursuing CRNA, I definitely want to get back into more critical care nursing, as psych just isn't enough to fulfill what I'm seeking. Either way, I appreciate your response. Good luck with school!

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Defibn' has 6 years experience as a RN, EMT-P and specializes in SRNA.

196 Posts; 2,558 Profile Views

11 hours ago, rubyagnes said:

Thanks for your response! Even if I don't end up pursuing CRNA, I definitely want to get back into more critical care nursing, as psych just isn't enough to fulfill what I'm seeking. Either way, I appreciate your response. Good luck with school!

Thank you. I hope you find what you are looking for.

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On 4/14/2020 at 6:59 PM, rubyagnes said:

My questions are:

- What units would be beneficial to work on in preparation for CRNA school? ED, ICU, maybe OR? Would ortho be relevant? PACU? Since my main experiences are ER and Psych those are obviously positions I could apply to, but I'm open to many experiences and feel interested in many types of nursing.  All programs require you to have recent critical care experience, some programs will accept ER.  Check with specific schools to see what they accept. 

- Is it possible to go to CRNA school while working? Some employers offer tuition assistance but I would need to be working at least part if not full time to qualify for the benefit. Is that possible?  Don't plan on it.  Some programs may have one semester in which they allow you to work but most programs strictly prohibit it.   

- Do you think it could be beneficial for me to start travel nursing on a medicine unit prior to applying for jobs in Raleigh, to show I have more up to date experience on a medical unit? Or is it better to stay where I am in Psych until I move in September? You will need "recent critical care" to qualify.

- Any other advice or insight? Why do you want to be a CRNA?  Do you know what CRNA actually do?  Shadow them for an extended time.  I finished a year ago and I'm super happy that I did it.  However, the training does absolutely suck and it's not for everyone. 

Before starting my program, I was honestly annoyed how people would say that it's gonna be super hard blah blah blah.  I pretty much breezed through nursing school with straight A's while working 25-30 hrs and week and thought how can it really be that much harder?  If you want to be successful you MUST be willing to work like crazy day after day.  My first year I easily averaged 70+ hrs/week dedicated to anesthesia (class, clinicals, studying and driving).   It really comes down to just having the grit to keep on going.  You're in a whole new world and it's a big humble pill to suck at absolutely everything again.   If you're sure it what you want to do then go for it, but if not save yourself the disappointment and student loans by choosing something else.

 

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On 5/10/2020 at 10:40 PM, nurseflip26 said:

 

@nurseflip26 First of all Congratulations on the amazing feat! How was CRNA school? How did you prepare for the journey? How do you like being a CRNA? What are the pros & cons? What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing CRNA school? 

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nursegirl2016 has 2 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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On 4/16/2020 at 12:15 PM, Defibn' said:

I am an SRNA, not yet a CRNA. You need to have good ICU experience to get into anesthesia schools. As far as I am aware, there are a few programs that allow you to work during the first semester of the program. But after that you would have a hard time working and succeeding. I would begin reaching out and trying to contact potential hospitals you want to work at and see what they say. You are by no means a new grad. Your years of ER should be fine for applying to an ICU, but that is just my opinion.

@Defibn' I am preparing for MTSA interview next week. I would love to hear how your interview was with them and will take all study tips you can offer me for the interview!

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Defibn' has 6 years experience as a RN, EMT-P and specializes in SRNA.

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4 hours ago, nursegirl2016 said:

@Defibn' I am preparing for MTSA interview next week. I would love to hear how your interview was with them and will take all study tips you can offer me for the interview!

Congratulations! My interview was great. They were very welcoming. Mostly personal questions. They did have some unit specific medical questions but it seemed like once they thought your knowledge was adequate they backed off. They didn't try and grind me down like some places do. I think they are currently doing some type of video interviews, so who knows what they are doing. I think the days of the MTSA firing squad interview are over. 

As far as preparing, you really need to know yourself. Know your motivations. Know why CRNA is what you want to do. Like really know it. Think about how you handle stress, how do you study, how do you overcome challenges. Know your unit and the common things you do and see. Why do you want to attend MTSA? Do you see value in a Christian centered school? Don't lie or embellish too much. Dress appropriately. Be confident, yet humble. 

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nursegirl2016 has 2 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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@Defibn' thank you so much. I will definitely take all of these things into consideration when preparing for my interview. I heard from another student that they really grilled her over the commonly used medications she listed in her NursingCas application. She said they asked medication questions down to the molecular level. Did you hear of any of your classmates running into this?

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Defibn' has 6 years experience as a RN, EMT-P and specializes in SRNA.

196 Posts; 2,558 Profile Views

12 hours ago, nursegirl2016 said:

@Defibn' thank you so much. I will definitely take all of these things into consideration when preparing for my interview. I heard from another student that they really grilled her over the commonly used medications she listed in her NursingCas application. She said they asked medication questions down to the molecular level. Did you hear of any of your classmates running into this?

Not particularly. But we haven't had a lot of in-person interaction d/t COVID. 

A good rule of thumb is to know what receptors the medications in your wheelhouse act on and what the response is. Probably good to know major complications too. Example: Epinephrine works on _____receptor in the heart, ____in the lungs, and ____ in the vessels and causes _____. Major complications of epinephrine include ____. You need to know more than we give epinephrine for blood pressure support. You know what I mean?

I've never heard of an adcom pushing any deeper than that. 

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