Getting Back On Track To CRNA

Updated | Posted
by gennn19 gennn19, BSN, RN Member

Specializes in Postpartum, PICU.

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Hi everyone, I’ve been a RN for < 3 years. Anesthesia has been my dream since high school but it hasn’t been a linear path. I started as a new grad in postpartum (only job offer at the time) where I worked for 1.5 years before making the move to our very high acuity peds cardiac ICU (highest acuity PICU in my city—large academic children’s hospital). We took fresh post op hearts, ECMO, CRRT, lots of VADs etc. That transition was difficult for me at first as I had 0 skills from the postpartum floor, but I made it work, (even made employee of the month once!) Unfortunately my anxiety/burn out was at an all time high in the PCICU and I only lasted 1 year and 3 months before recently switching back to my old unit. 

I enrolled in FNP school b/c at the time I was so demotivated to follow through with anesthesia. So far I’ve got a 4.0 GPA in NP school. Currently taking pathophysiology and doing very well. This has really sparked my passion for anesthesia once again. But being that I only have 1 year of ICU, I know I’d have to go back preferably to an adult ICU for at LEAST another year to even have a chance. 

I want to be more comfortable with my critical care knowledge and taking care of really sick pts. I know I need my CCRN and shadow experience. I’ve shadowed CRNAs in the past while in undergrad but would love to shadow more to increase my chances. If anyone can give any advice as to how I can get back on track I would really appreciate it. Or anything else I can do to stand out. This really is my dream and I don’t want to give up. 

Other things:

  • undergrad nursing GPA is a 3.74 
  • currently a TA for the undergrads at my NP school where I have even taught lectures 
Anesthesiotomy

Anesthesiotomy

Specializes in Current SRNA. Has 5 years experience. 3 Posts

You could probably get into CRNA school with your FNP degree and past ICU experience. Some programs will favor you as an applicant because of your grad school experience.

gennn19

gennn19, BSN, RN

Specializes in Postpartum, PICU. 73 Posts

22 hours ago, Anesthesiotomy said:

You could probably get into CRNA school with your FNP degree and past ICU experience. Some programs will favor you as an applicant because of your grad school experience.

Thank you so much for your response. It’s very relieving to hear that. I’d still love to do anything else that could improve my chances even if it means going back to the ICU eventually or anything else that can make me stand out. 

amgarcia8891, BSN, RN

Specializes in SRNA. Has 6 years experience. 48 Posts

Depending on how long you have left in NP school and cost and your age, I would maybe finish the degree. It will make you stand out. Can you go work in an ICU now and start getting experience while you make a decision? I would also look at programs and consider the other requirements like GRE and recs and prereqs and certifications etc good luck! I'd be interested to see what you choose to do

offlabel

offlabel

1,384 Posts

Whatever you do, don't bail on the NP Program...that won't play well with the admissions committee. 

gennn19

gennn19, BSN, RN

Specializes in Postpartum, PICU. 73 Posts

On 3/11/2022 at 6:25 AM, amgarcia8891 said:

Depending on how long you have left in NP school and cost and your age, I would maybe finish the degree. It will make you stand out. Can you go work in an ICU now and start getting experience while you make a decision? I would also look at programs and consider the other requirements like GRE and recs and prereqs and certifications etc good luck! I'd be interested to see what you choose to do

Thank you for your input!! I’m 25 going on 26 this year so I feel that I do have some time. I’ve got a little over 1.5 years to finishing my NP degree. I’m hesitant to leave my current unit so soon since I just came back and I don’t want to burn any bridges. 

So far my plan was to use this year to obtain my certifications, climb up the clinical ladder, get more leadership experience, focus on school, and save money. I could try to work per diem in my old ICU to keep up with skills. And then transfer to an ICU next year. 

gennn19

gennn19, BSN, RN

Specializes in Postpartum, PICU. 73 Posts

On 3/17/2022 at 1:31 PM, offlabel said:

Whatever you do, don't bail on the NP Program...that won't play well with the admissions committee. 

Absolutely. I think my best course of action right now is to focus on finishing the NP degree while completing the remaining pre-reqs (CCRN, possibly GRE, more leadership exp… etc.) for CRNA school. 

skna2019

skna2019, BSN, RN

Specializes in CCU. 16 Posts

I'm in the same boat. I'm 25 and started nursing in 2019. I did 1.6 years on a Level 1 CCU/MICU then was per diem while taking ICU travel contracts. During all this, I enrolled in a AGACNP program for a year, but then I applied to switch tracks cause I did NOT feel the program would prepare me well. (I learned to intubate/lumbar puncture/CVL/ thoracentesis from watching online videos, and the validations were easier than the ones for my BSN.) Anyway, I started working an additional PRN job in psych between ICU contracts and got approved to switch to the PMHNP track. The only problem is that I cannot stop thinking about CRNA school. CRNA school was my original plan since undergrad, and I feel like COVID burnout/fear of rejection took me off course. 

21rnna

21rnna

15 Posts

Like others have said, you can use your NP degree to get critical care experience, don't need to go back to using your RN license per se.

gennn19

gennn19, BSN, RN

Specializes in Postpartum, PICU. 73 Posts

On 3/25/2022 at 12:33 AM, skna2019 said:

I'm in the same boat. I'm 25 and started nursing in 2019. I did 1.6 years on a Level 1 CCU/MICU then was per diem while taking ICU travel contracts. During all this, I enrolled in a AGACNP program for a year, but then I applied to switch tracks cause I did NOT feel the program would prepare me well. (I learned to intubate/lumbar puncture/CVL/ thoracentesis from watching online videos, and the validations were easier than the ones for my BSN.) Anyway, I started working an additional PRN job in psych between ICU contracts and got approved to switch to the PMHNP track. The only problem is that I cannot stop thinking about CRNA school. CRNA school was my original plan since undergrad, and I feel like COVID burnout/fear of rejection took me off course. 

I also feel like part of the reason I made my decision for NP vs CRNA was burnout and fear of rejection so I 1000% understand how you're feeling. I think it's a great thing that you were aware of how unsafely you were being trained in the AGACNP program and took action about it because at the end of the day it's your license on the line! 

Looks like we're about the same age and got a lot of thinking to do. There's still time to follow our dreams!! Best of luck and hope it all falls into place for you.

gennn19

gennn19, BSN, RN

Specializes in Postpartum, PICU. 73 Posts

On 3/27/2022 at 7:03 PM, 21rnna said:

Like others have said, you can use your NP degree to get critical care experience, don't need to go back to using your RN license per se.

I wasn't sure if that would be an option since I'm doing FNP and I was under the impression that only acute care NPs could work in the ICU setting. But I guess I'll see and if CRNA means having to go back to the ICU as a RN for another year or 2 then that is something that I will do.