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Will I be prepared?

Has 2 years experience.

Hi there,

I have some questions for all those who have been through CRNA school. I am hoping to get into school next fall, at which point I will have been a nurse for almost 3 years.

All of my work so far has been in a surgical ICU at a level-1 trauma hospital. Sounds good, right? Problem is, we also have a trauma ICU. It's a community hospital, and the acuity is not regularly super high. My concern is not as much about getting into school, but rather doing well in school.

I feel like I mostly have stable patients. Often on a vent, sometimes on a couple pressors, but not a whole lot more going on. We also get a ton of medical ICU overflow, and also float to neuro/trauma and cardiac. So I see a good variety, but not a ton of acutely critical patients. Occasionally I get that sick post-code admit, but not frequently. There is one academic hospital in my area, and I've been trying to make a move there, but it's very difficult.

Assuming I have to stay with my current system, what can I do to be ok in school? I'm trying to supplement my learning by reading and such (studying for CCRN, taking that soon), but I know patient experience is so valuable. Should I switch to the CICU? I doubt I'll be oriented to open hearts (I've already told my manager that I'm interested in going back to school relatively soon, so they probably wouldn't want to invest in me - oops), but at least I'd see more vasoactive drips.

Am I in trouble if I stay where I am? It seems some think you need crazy-sick patients all the time. While others say that CRNA school is a completely different learning/occupation and "re-set" - giving me hope that I can do fine. I definitely think I'm smart enough and good with science, I'm just concerned about experience. Thoughts?


Has 2 years experience.

anyone? or would i have better luck asking for what percent chance i have for getting into schools x, y, and z based on my gpa and gre? :-D

Da_Milk_of_Amnesia, MSN

Has 5 years experience. Specializes in Critical Care.

How do you do well in school? You may have to study harder than most to make up for your lack of high acuity experience. The thing is this, surgery is a dynamic situation, everything that the surgeon does could impact the patient in a positive or negative way. It's our job as a CRNA to be vigilant and be prepared if bad things happen and the knowledge to know how to effectively treat what's going on. High acuity ICUs give you the chance to have super sick patients and learn to have good assessment skills and to learn to manage these situations, quickly as their conditions are dynamic. Does that make any sense?

Im not saying it can't be done but your learning curve maybe slightly steeper. What you'll come to learn is anesthesia and nursing are all about experience, it doesn't matter how good you did on a test or how book smart you are (ok, well it does to some degree). Idk if I was you I'd try to get somewhere that the patients are as sick as possible. Get CCRN, have solid letters of Recc and say a couple prayers and hope for the best. Good luck


I am currently a student registered nurse anesthetist (SRNA) at the University of Scranton. I worked 3 years in the CCU before applying to the anesthesia school. About 1/3 of my classmates had a similar clinical experience that I did. However, not all of my classmates have a background in the CCU or surgical ICU. I personally believe that the CCU offers the best clinical experience for anesthesia. Based on what you described about your clinical experience, you meet the ICU experience required by most programs. An important question about your readiness to apply to CRNA school: how comfortable are you caring for the sick patients when you do care for them? It's not a numbers game concerning the number of sick patients you've had. It's your ability to critically think and provide safe care to your sick patients. The admissions committee will be more concerned about your critical thinking skills and how you took care of your very sick patients than how many sick patients you've had. If you want to hear more about my clinical experience feel free to contact me at anderst2@live.com .

Good luck!


Has 2 years experience.

Thank you both for your time and advice!


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