Not only is over a year of experience as an ICU RN a “must requirement,” it is essential experience to become a competent CRNA. Don’t get stuck on the requirements to get into a CRNA program. If you really want to become a CRNA then you will really want to first practice as an ICU RN and learn as much as you can. Depending on your experience, ICU nursing carries over into the daily practice of a CRNA. That’s why you want good experience, the kind that applies. All of that experience counts... meaning it takes 4 years of a BSN, 2-4+ years ICU nursing, then 2-3 yeas in a program to become a CRNA. That’s at least 8 years of preparation to provide safe anesthesia care. That’s what it takes to become a safe anesthesia provider. That’s what you want when you or your loved one are undergoing surgery and relying on an anesthesia provider to protect your life.
Some schools accept PICU/NICU. Some do not. That said 90% of the patients you will be taking care of are adults. So back to my previous point of wanting applicable experience... PICU/NICU is not the best. You’ll be better prepared for school and practice as a CRNA with adult ICU experience.
Adult ICU nursing is physically taxing. As a MICU RN you will be turning your intubated/sedated/paralyzed patients every 2 hours. In any ICU patients require repositioning. A lot of the time they are overweight. In any ICU you will have to code patients on a regular basis. Also very physically taxing. CRNAs transfer patients all day, pushing heavy beds, etc. So yes, it is a physical job.
Lastly, all of this is stressful. These jobs are for those who work well under pressure. I would refer back to the posts on this thread to get a good idea of the mental endurance it takes to be a CRNA.
Hope this helps.