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    Dec 2014

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    Default ICU/Flight RN Applying to CRNA Programs

    Good evening. I am new to this forum and have found many of the threads very interesting and insightful as I prepare to apply to multiple CRNA programs within Central Pennsylvania over the next few months. Although many of my questions and concerns have been addressed simply by reading through the forum, I still have a few questions/concerns in which I'd appreciate some feedback to anyone who may have similar experience or encounters with my background.

    First and foremost, my experience consists of approximately 3 years as an RN in a 42-bed medical/surgical ICU at a regional level I trauma center. Our patients range from severe ARDS to liver and renal transplant to multisystem trauma and neurosurgical populations. I am experienced with invasive hemodynamic monitoring (including PA catheters, SvO2 monitoring, etc.), CRRT, V-V/V-A ECMO, intracranial pressure monitoring, mass transfusion, etc. Furthermore, I function with the charge and preceptor roles. In addition, I work part-time in the flight RN role on an air medical helicopter which provides ICU-level transport on approximately 70% of the missions (ranging from 4-6 flights per shift). Within this role, I function with an RN-RN, RN-physician, or RN-paramedic team capacity. The skillset in this role includes endotracheal intubation (direct and video laryngoscopy, nasotracheal, and digital), surgical cricothyrotomy, needle thoracocentesis, pericardiocentesis, femoral central line insertion, and chest/extremity escharotomy, etc. These are all skills in which I maintain quarterly competency and have performed autonomously. Furthermore, I spend 8-12 hours in the OR every 3 months where I am required to perform (4) adult and (1) pediatric intubations under the supervision of an MDA and/or CRNA. Ultimately, prior to becoming an RN, I worked 3 years in the flight paramedic role for the same air medical provider all while performing the same skillset and undergoing the same competency requirements. Needless to say, my experience as an RN has been nothing short of humbling. I have learned to appreciate the phrase "you don't know what you don't know" and have grown exponentially within the ICU world. Let's face it.. every paramedic turned ICU RN has been railroaded a few times. I am a humble personality and even I've encountered this over the years.

    Ultimately, I am now at a point in my journey where I plan to expand into advanced practice nursing and combine my experiences from inside and outside the ICU. Becoming a CRNA has always been my long term goal but with the understanding that I wanted to truly feel "experienced" in all areas that I enjoy functioning within. Two questions come to mind as I prepare to begin the application process:

    Question #1. Most importantly, is there more I can do to be a better application candidate? I possess a BSN with a combined collegiate GPA of a 3.5 with a 3.8 science GPA. I have not taken the GREs as they are not required by the programs of interest but I would certainly be willing to do so. I possess CEN, CCRN, and CFRN certifications as required by my two current positions. I have adult, pediatric, and neonatal experience with ACLS, PALS, and NRP credentials (also required by my current positions). I meet all of the program requirements but is more better? Or pointless once the minimums are achieved?

    Question #2. Does my critical care transport experience matter? Positive or negative? We all know the paramedic turned RN who has seen and done it all. Although I consider myself relatively experienced, this is neither me nor my personality. However, I want to think that my experience somehow makes me a unique candidate. Most importantly, I have spent such a vast amount of time in the OR with an MDA and CRNA over the years that I believe I have seen a fair amount of the good, bad, and the ugly to know this is what I want to pursue. The skills experience, although helpful in the long run, does not matter to me as much as experiencing first-hand what a CRNA does... why they desire to do it... what they love... what they hate. These are elements I've seen and still wish to move forward.

    Any advice, guidance, or insight that you may have to offer would be greatly appreciated.


    Christopher Heiss
    Last edited by caheiss1; 12-28-2014 at 07:11 PM.

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