Hello!

I have a couple of years of PCU experience at a local VA. I CANNOT seem to break into critical care at the VA because they always want experience, and always have a ton of highly experienced applicants for their ICU. I had a shot of getting into the ICU with the last manager, but they a new manager and whenever I talk to him I get the same spiel every time: "Get outside experience and I would definitely hire you. We don't have a good training program due to a high volume of applicants, etc. etc." The job market here in southern california is competitive.

Well, I ended up getting hired in a small 12 bed ICU in a community hospital with 193 beds. They will give me 12 weeks of orientation along with a critical care course. It takes medicine and surgical patients mostly. It is an inner city hospital, and is not trauma certified. Also, it is not stroke or stemi certified. The director said I will get vents, arterial lines, central lines, pressors, etc. However, she also said that we take care of PCU/SDU status patients when their unit is full. The place also has a high turnover rate, poor benefits, and has gone bankrupt twice within the past ten years. It also doesn't have the best reputation with the public, and generally serves a lower income demographic. The people who stay love it though. It is a unionized hospital, and the members just finished a strike for poor working conditions (no breaks, low pay). Luckily they matched my current pay, but the benefits don't even come close.

Anybody get into CRNA school with experience like this? Should I just get experience at this hospital in order to make myself marketable for a bigger ICU at a teaching facility? Should I look elsewhere?

Stats:

Gpa 3.3 overall / 3.5 science/ 3.8 BSN (I partied a lot when I was 18 and got an F in a couple of religion courses along with a C in a 12 unit ADN course which drags my GPA down)

I plan on: taking the GRE, CCRN, a couple of chemistry courses, and possibly retaking the religion courses to increase my GPA (although I really don't want to haha).

I also have a family member who is an anesthesiologist, and always works with the CRNA director at a local school. She said she will give me a letter of rec, which I think would hold some weight even though she is not a CRNA because they work together and are friends.