Which nursing extern position would be best for pre-CRNA experience?

Students SRNA



I just started an accelerated BSN program and have the opportunity to be a nursing student extern. I am having trouble deciding which area would be best though because I am a little confused with terminology. I thought I read that CRNAs need at least 1 year of "acute care" experience, but then I read that they need "ICU" or "critical care" experience. What is the difference and which do I really need? Also, here are the areas availble for an extern:

Emergency Department

Skilled Nursing Facility

Medical/Surgical Tower 5

Which would help me the most for a CRNA career?

As always, thank you so much!


7 Posts

Hi Katie..

just a quick reply..

If "skilled nursing facility" means nursing home..don't do it

med/surg tower sounds like just the regular surgical floor.

I would pick Emergency Room, you will see bigger procedures...bigger cases. You will see patients get emergently intubated in the ED.

Out of your choices, pick ED. But, if you can, try to persuade your faculty into adding another extern to ICU. :)


9 Posts

At least in my state, most schools don't take ED experience as an equivalent for ICU. ICU is the only thing that they want. Good luck getting an extern :-) But yeah as the other poster says, out of all of those choices, ED would be the closest.


94 Posts

Hi Katie,

I was just wondering if you did the externship? I'm also in an accelerated BSN and we do not have a summer break. The hospital that I'm interested in has a summer externship, but you work 3 12 hour shifts following whatever nurse precepts you. I'm wondering if I could even do this and be in school full time. Please let me know if you did the externship and how it went for you.


Specializes in OR, peds, PALS, ICU, camp, school.

I know this is late, but I'm going to add my thoughts for the next student. Your CRNA school isn't going to care too much where you worked as a student nurse. Your first job might. If you think ED or M/S will shoe you in for a job then go for it. You can always take that if you have trouble landing and ICU job. Ask about the type of M/S floor. If Tower 5 takes mostly GI patients or you visit and see a lot of people ambulatory and dressed and three spaces used on the telemetry screens, then pass it up. If there is a lot of telemetry and heart and respiratory issues, or neuro/trauma, you should get some great experience there to apply to your critical care knowledge.


25 Posts

Specializes in Surgical/Transplant ICU.


i worked in a CVICU for my nurse externship and now work as a surgical/transplant (plus cardiac and neuro overflow) ICU at a large teaching hospital in atlanta metro area. I will start the application process to CRNA school in the fall. Focus on getting yourself in a position to get a New Grad job in an ICU after graduation.

Hope this helps...


6 Posts


did you get into the CVICU right out of nursing school? which hospital? and where did you do your senior practicum? I also hope to go straight to ICU, but I'm having trouble finding hospitals that allow that as a new grad...

currently a GSU nursing student :)

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