Hi, I am currently a nursing student still in the pre-req phase of my nursing degree and I am currently researching different specialties to get an idea where I want my career to go. I am interested in various specialties but the one that interests me the most is nurse anesthetist. I am not only interested because of the money, I have heard about how flexible it is and this is important to me cause I am close to my family and want to make time for them. I also want to have a family of my own someday. Anyway, I have some questions about becoming a CRNA. How can I prepare for application into a CRNA program? What is the course work like? How do you support yourself while in a CRNA program? (the last question is something I am particularly concerned about). Any other advice is welcome. Thanks.
Jun 15, '09
First get into an ICU internship and work in the ICU for a few years. Then get as many nursing certifications as possible, especially your CCRN. Take the GRE. Shadow an Anesthesiologist or CRNA. Take as many continuing education classes as possible. After that, apply. Most programs are 2-3yrs and intense but some offer courses you can take in advance to lighten your load. Loans are probably the most common way to pay but some hospitals offer sign on bonuses to pay for partof the program if you give them a few years service after graduation. Good Luck!
Jun 15, '09
i am in nursing school too but i start my clinical phase this fall. this is what i've learned from research, shadowing, and talking with srnas/crnas:
1. you need at least 1 year of critical care experience in an icu before starting school. i always hear an adult sicu (surgical) or cvicu (cardiovascular) unit provides the best experience.
2. a good cgpa of 3.5 or higher is good, especially in the sciences so do your best while you're still taking pre-reqs! if your cgpa is not up to par don't lose hope. by taking graduate coursework and doing well, you can redeem yourself and prove to the admissions board you are capable of doing work on a grad level.
3. some schools require that you submit gre scores. when i spoke to an srna she told me try and shoot for above a 1200 to make yourself competitive. she also told me if you're not strong in one area you definitely need to make up for it in another. so if you know your cgpa wasn't great you gre scores need to be out of this world!
4. when you are picking a school you either want to chose one that is front-loaded or integrated. front-loaded is when all your didactic coursework (pre-reqs) is done first before any clinicals. an integrated program may have just didactic work for the first semester, but then you are put in a clinical setting right away while you're still doing some coursework. picking depends on how you feel you learn the best. i plan on applying to integrated programs because i feel i learn better hands-on and it reinforces what i read. on the other hand some people rather have the coursework out of the way so they can just focus on clinical.
5. it will help for you to shadow a nurse anesthetist just so you can see what one does on a day-to-day basis. i shadowed one last year for 2 days and he was so great and i learned a lot! shadowing definitely confirmed that becoming an crna is what i really want to do.
6. nurse anesthesia curriculum for the most park focuses on pharmacology, biochem, anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology, and some physics. also coursework depends on the program you're in as well. from what i've gathered, in a program that offers a masters of science in nursing (msn) you have some "fluff" nursing classes you're required to take (e.g. principles of nursing ethics). if you're in a program in which you will receive a masters of science in nurse anesthesia (msna) all the coursework is strictly what you need to know as a nurse anesthetist.... not a lot of schools offer this degree though.
7. also look through these threads for more info. i learned a ton of stuff from just reading these boards! the internet is always a good source too.
as far as financial support i haven't fully figured that part out yet lol. but i have noticed that a lot of people tend to go to nurse anesthetist school when they're a little older... meaning that they may already have a spouse who is willing to support them while in school. or you have some people who go the military route and have them pay for school.
that's all i can think of right now. sorry for the essay lol but hopefully this helps! :wink2:
Jun 16, '09
take as much science as you can. not introductory courses either. and do well in them! good luck :-)
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