Hello everyone,

I recently graduated from a BSN program on May 3, 2008. I also recently took my NCLEX-RN on June 23rd, and I passed. I can now rejoice that that part is over and I can focus on gaining the experience needed for acceptance into a nurse anesthetist program. I am not sure how relevant this is at this point; however, I graduated with a GPA of a 3.57 on a 7-point grading scale. I also had the highest GPA in our nursing department.

I have accepted a position in a local hospital that rotates its new graduate nurses through several different departments; however, I was told that pretty much all of the ICU positions had been spoken for (however I do know a person who is going to choose the ED over the ICU so this may be a possibility). I am going to do whatever I can to get a ICU positions once we are done rotating through the various departments; however, if I am unable to do so, I will look for the department with the highest acuity.

My main questions right now are as follows:

1) When should I begin to prepare for the GRE? Other than the NCLEX-RN, I have never taken any other standardized exam. When I went to college the first time (I graduated college the first time in 1995), they did not require the SAT so I never took it. Therefore, I do not have an previous experience to draw from. Now that I have graduated, I do want to "hang loose" for a few months and not have to worry about opening books every day and alienating my wife; however, I do not want to wait too long before I begin to prepare again. Also, how long is your GRE score relevant (e.g., if I take my GRE in 2008, will a school accept it in 2010 for instance)?

2) Aside from obtaining at least one year of experience in an ICU setting (I am going for a cardiothoracic ICU position when the opportunity comes), what else can a candidate do to set themselves apart from other candidates? I do have a unique experience in which my school sent myself and two other students to Ghana, West Africa for 5 weeks in which we worked at a health clinic. Other than that, I focused on my studies and did not work as a CNA or anything throughout school. So, having said that, what are some things I can do to set myself apart from other candidates? I know the interview is a huge part of that, but what else are schools looking for? Does participation in various committees help?

3) In addition to ICU experience, is it also wise to obtain experience in an ER setting or Flight Nurse setting as well?

Thank you in advance for your input.


19 Posts

Has 15 years experience.

Congratulations on graduating!

The GRE is good for five years from the time you take it. As far as when to take the GRE, if you have to get your ICU experience then you don't have to rush. I took the Kaplan review course and it was well worth it, a little pricey but I would definitely advise going that route. Most schools require a minimun of 1000, but the higher our score the better.

Most schools want current ICU experience and it has been my experience from the schools where I am applying that PACU, OR, ER, does not count. Flight nursing usually requires several years of ICU experience or ER experience because you are the critical care nurse on board.

You also need to shadow a CRNA several times. It is good if you can get to know a few and then get one to write a recommendation for you. They like to know that you have actually seen what a CRNA does.

Get your ACLS and PALS prior to applying and that will be one less thing to do. Work on putting together a really good resume.


299 Posts

Specializes in Trauma ICU, Surgical ICU, Medical ICU.

Right now I'd focus on working. Believe me, I was all gung ho about getting that stuff done too, but you are really going to need time to get adjusted to your new role as an RN. It's completely different than anything youre used to. I'd try to get into an ICU setting and really get the hang of hemodynamics and critical thinking skills. I have worked for a year now in MICU (we basically take the sickest of the sick)and I am just now starting to study for the GRE. As a new grad I realized I had a lot of learning to do in my new occupation once I got into it. No matter how much you think you may know about nursing, you havent seen anything yet. So my advice would be to relax and get your experience. It takes literally 3 months or so to get all that other stuff done, so give yourself time to adjust to this new exciting world you are about to be thrust into!

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