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CRNA school with 1 year ICU Experience

SRNA   (1,327 Views 12 Comments)
by heythatsmybike heythatsmybike (Member) Member

1 Follower; 1,826 Profile Views; 51 Posts

Hey All, 

Just looking to gain some insight from current SRNA's or practicing CRNA's out there.  I have tried to find some recent posts but most of the relevant ones are pretty dated.  My question is concerning level of ICU experience for admission.  I currently work in a Neuro ICU.  It's been said that 1-2 years minimum of adult ICU is required on apps, and much debate on here regarding which specialties are most desirable, but I was curious if this still stands currently as applying has gotten more and more competitive over the years.  

I'm curious to hear from the current grads and students who had 1-2 years ICU experience and getting acceptance, and hell, if you came from Neuro ICU even more so.  How in the world did you do it?  I work at a level 1 university hospital in a major city, have tons of volunteer experience, CRNA shadowing hours in both outpatient surgery centers and inpatient, but pretty average GPA/GRE scores.  Am considering retaking GRE to boost chances and feel very confident in the LOR I will be able to attain, but I am worried that 1.5 years in Neuro ICU and avg GPA is not going to be good enough to compete with other applicants.  

For what its worth, I'm older and did nursing as as second degree.  Did any of you find yourself having to retake classes to meet their arbitrary 5 year mark on pre-reqs or did they waive that for you?  I have talked to some schools that don't seem to care and others that want me to re-take a basic statistics course I got an A in because its 7 years old and it needs to be under 5 years, which has made the process even more discouraging.  

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BaTiRy is a BSN, RN and specializes in Neuro ICU.

42 Posts; 1,732 Profile Views

I’m currently working on applying to school, and have interviewed (where I was told I have strong clinical experience), but many people in the Neuro ICU I worked with have gone on to CRNA school, with varying degrees of experience. Most of us waited until at least two years, but I know of at least one person accepted with 15 months at the time of application/interview. We work in a level I trauma/teaching hospital, and have a wide variety of patients with varying degrees of acuity in our ICU. I will add that it’s important to have leadership skills on your unit, like committee involvement, and/or charge experience. That helps you be more competitive, and highlights your leadership abilities. Good luck!

Edited by BaTiRy

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1 Follower; 51 Posts; 1,826 Profile Views

Thanks for replying.  Yea one of the problems is that getting charge experience probably won’t happen for me here.  They have a pretty strict 5 year rule to even apply and that’s even when one opens up which hasn’t in the last 8+ months.  Also, we have had only one opportunity for a committee to join since I’ve started and it went again to more experienced nurses so I’m not sure how to boost my resume with these things when it’s become clear I won’t be able to accomplish them within the next 6 months when I would want to apply.  I’ve met a handful of 1 year experienced of ICU nurses at these CRNA open houses but I’ve never gotten enough time with them to ask them how they did these things in a year.  I will have about 1.5 years in by the time I apply but obviously more by the time I would start but I’m not sure that’s taken into consideration since these schools really can only go on what you’ve done before you’re offered a spot, not after.  

Edited by heythatsmybike

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195 Posts; 5,399 Profile Views

Quite honestly, 1 year of ANY experience is NOT enough time.  The goal is not, or at least should not, be to get accepted to a program.  The goal should be to be a strong CRNA.  Your ICU experience is the foundation up on which your career will be built.  Make it a strong one.  Honestly, if anyone feels they have learned all there is to learn in their chosen ICU in just one year, than they are either fooling themselves, or it is a pretty bland, sleepy ICU.  The fact that you said your Neuro ICU is at a level 1 trauma center, tells me you have much to learn.  Put in three solid years.  You will not regret it.

 

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1 Follower; 51 Posts; 1,826 Profile Views

I appreciate the reply but I am going to have to politely disagree.  If being a strong CRNA required three years of ICU experience, then it would be required by application, but it’s not and I believe that those who graduate and pass their boards are just as good of a CRNA as someone who did three years in an ICU.  This implies anyone who has less experience is a subpar CRNA and I am not sure that’s appropriate. Honestly, all I’ve heard from the CRNAs I know is “I wish I did it sooner!”  Even with that being said, by the time I would start any program, even if I applied this year, I would be close to that mark by program matriculation....and if I were to wait several more years I will have to retake SEVERAL pre req science courses and the GRE for a lot of these schools which I’ve already completed causing me to lose even more time and money, so With that and being already in my mid 30s Im going for it and applying this year.   

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Asherah has 9 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in CICU/Trauma/Resuscitation.

725 Posts; 8,113 Profile Views

The fact is, that no one can travel two parallel paths simultaneously.  You can't begin a nurse anesthesia program with one year experience at the bedside and compare that to three years, five years, etc.  Do I personally think that there should be more than a one year minimum required? Of course.  The more varied your experience with real-world scenarios, the better.  Who can argue against more experience? I waited this long to have exposure to everything to be a stronger critical care nurse.  I'm 39 with almost 9 years of experience.  If I start next summer I'll be 43 when I graduate.  I understand the consideration of the opportunity cost of age versus experience.  However, only you can assess what works for you and how prepared you feel you are to succeed.  

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1 Follower; 51 Posts; 1,826 Profile Views

You are right, more experience was never going to hurt my chances, but definitely hinder my plans and put them on hold for more than 2+ years, which Im not willing to do if I could help it. The fact is, schools need their students to pass their program, matriculate and pass boards.  If they thought more experience was necessary to achieve that it would be required but it’s not and they graduate and do just fine despite what others may think on here.  My original post wasn’t asking for advice if or why I should have more experience before applying, and It seems to be an ongoing debate with threads on here and I didn’t want to do a disclaimer like I see other people doing but it’s getting annoying that others see a post like mine and immediately divert to the whole “one year isn’t enough to make a successful CRNA” manifesto.  Like the previous post, If those are your beliefs great, but keep them to yourself unless someone is asking that question on here.  To tell a fellow RN that they shouldnt have career goals early on, “the goal is not to be accepted into a CRNA Program” umm what?  If my goal is to be a successful CRNA how the hell am I going to achieve that without the goal of getting into a program first?? makes no sense, especially when there is zero things wrong with having career goals early on.  I appreciate your response Asherah and you’re right, only we know how ready we are.   Hope you get in next summer 

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Erufot is a BSN, RN and specializes in Medical ICU, CCRN.

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Hey there! I will be starting a CRNA program in January and I applied with 2 years of experience. I was a little worried I wasn't as competitive because I was in a medical ICU instead of a surgical or cardiovascular unit but I went for it and got in. I suggest research the schools you're interested in applying to. I believe most of the ones I looked at listed neuro as acceptable experience. I'm not too familiar with neuro but whenever you get some patients that are on gtts, intubated, or just overall very critical talk to your charge about taking that assignment. The more experience with vasoactive infusions, various vent settings, and invasive lines and monitoring the better. 

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Nursing4ever specializes in ICU.

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do you mind if I ask which school you got accepted to and what your stats were before you applied? That's awesome that you got in! I wish you the best!

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viprn21 is a BSN, RN and specializes in CCRN.

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I don't think they require the minimum one year to make you a better CRNA. I think they require a minimum of a year so you don't struggle with the basics during the program. If you couldn't do basic math when you applied to nursing school, you would not be able to pass drug calculations. There is so much in the ICU that they just don't teach you in nursing school (I'm sure it's the same for many other specialties too!). I just got accepted into a program, and with 6 years in the ICU under my belt, I'm not under any delusions that this is going to be easier for me than it is for anyone else in the program.

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loveanesthesia specializes in CRNA.

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Giving an anesthetic to a sick ICU patient is going to be easier for you, compared to someone with 1 year of ICU experience.

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195 Posts; 5,399 Profile Views

On 10/9/2019 at 7:35 AM, viprn21 said:

I don't think they require the minimum one year to make you a better CRNA. I think they require a minimum of a year so you don't struggle with the basics during the program. If you couldn't do basic math when you applied to nursing school, you would not be able to pass drug calculations. There is so much in the ICU that they just don't teach you in nursing school (I'm sure it's the same for many other specialties too!). I just got accepted into a program, and with 6 years in the ICU under my belt, I'm not under any delusions that this is going to be easier for me than it is for anyone else in the program.

Good Luck to you as you start your program!!!!! Your assessment of why several years are strongly recommended is SPOT ON!  While 6 years is more than you need, you will find it helps you immensely.  Your hand skills, priority setting, communication, organization, critical thinking, are ALL going to be far better than one of the 1 year students.  Myself and fellow coordinators talk about this very phenomena all the time.  It is very apparent.  We can spot them a mile away.  They tend to struggle, and be weaker providers, at least initially.  Do they catch up?  Sure, sometimes, but sometimes not really.  And then they become very unsure, very hesitant, and very dependent providers, which is the last thing the profession needs.

Again best of luck, and welcome to the profession.  Please feel free to PM me if I can help with any questions.

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