Please advise!!

Specialties CRNA


Hello everyone.

I am planning to apply to anesthesia programs in the summer/fall of next year.

I currently work in a medical/surgical intensive care unit at a 350-bed hospital. We get vasoactive gtts, PA catheters, vents, etc. We also seem to "babysit" quite a bit -- keeping patients in ICU who really do not need intensive care, per se, but probably would not have a good outcome on the floor due to different staffing ratios (high risk for falls, etc) but who are not on vents or drips & have no central or arterial lines in, etc. Is this common? -- This is the only ICU I have ever worked in, so I have no basis for comparison.

I have seen many posts on this board that state that anesthesia school admission committees really prefer ICU experience in a teaching hospital. I am considering applying for a position at a teaching hospital, but I have a few concerns:

I have not been at my current job very long - would it cast a negative shadow on my application if I were to change jobs at this point, even though I am looking for experience in a higher-acuity setting? I really want to apply next fall and that would give me a little over a year experience in the new unit if I change now. Would I be better off staying where I am?

If I do change, there 3 units with openings at the university hospital - medical ICU, surgical ICU, and trauma ICU. Which of these would be the best choice? I am leaning toward trauma, with surgical as a second choice, but the bottom line for me is getting the best experience to gain admission to a CRNA program. Is one unit better than the other?

The specialty units at the university hospital are smaller and more specialized than my unit - we see a little bit of everything - would experience in the teaching hospital still be preferential?

Please help me decide!



4 Posts


As a CRNA educator, my advice to you would be to stay put in the ICU where you are currently working. The hospital sounds plenty big enough and in a combined ICU such as you describe, its very likely you will get some good experience.

Another suggestion would be to check into CCRN certification. The prep for the test is heavy into pharmacology and physiology and would be a good way to bolster your background knowledge base.

Take note of your GPA, especially in the undergraduate science courses, and if you need to repeat anything, now is the time to do so.

And finally, do some shadowing of some CRNAs in your area to familiarize yourself with the role, professional issues, etc. If you can, try and shadow some CRNAs in varying practice settings to get a comparison.

Hope this is helpful. Feel free to message me if you have additional questions or concerns.


I work at a teaching hospital and we still get those occasional patients who don't really belong in the ICU. The nurses in my ICU take turns rotating to our attached step-down unit, where the patients are mostly failure to wean vent dependent patients. Everyone hates doing their occasional shift in the step-down unit because it is like a psych unit/ skilled nursing home. My advice? If you like where you work, stay where you are and just volunteer to take the sickest patients!!


176 Posts

want2bscopergirl, I am in my second semester of CRNA school and also think that where you are is good learning. My hospital sounded very similar to yours and I had only one year of icu experience upon being accepted. Having your CCRN looks very good upon your application and like they said I think shadowing a CRNA looks good when you interview also. Good luck!!

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