Since I got accepted into the nurse anesthesia program at UM Flint, it’s been an exciting time in my life. I went on my first cruise, got engaged, joined a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) and started to really think about what this program will entail. Recently, the previous class invited the Class of 2017 to a BBQ before school starts. For me, it means it’s going to start soon. The program director sent information about what to expect (school = your life for 2 years and don’t let anyone expect you to help around the house but still have at least one evening off to decompress and hang out with loved ones), review material especially in math calculations, the autonomic nervous system and some medications we’re already familar with, and the people I’ll be with for the next couple years.
Speaking of which, I didn’t expect my picture from the interview to go up. I wished I straightened out my hair a little better but hey, it is just a picture (see above).
I appreciate that we’re paired up with a mentor from the Class of 2016. It makes it easier to ask questions since they just went through it first (or junior) year themselves.
Sometimes I’ll wake up nervous — but I haven’t even started yet. Then I’ll remember that it’s such a privilege to even have this opportunity. I’m not sure if anyone is ever ready for the massive amount of information that’s expected to be memorized and applied, but here it goes.
One thing I really don’t like doing is writing scholarship essays, or really any essay that involves describing ‘how amazing I am based on the criteria that you’re looking for.’ But it’s a necessary evil. One thing I don’t understand is that if we’ve already submitted our application with letters of recommendation to get into the program, why do we need to duplicate the process of submitting additional letters of recommendation when applying for scholarships? Regardless, I’m thankful to have a NYU faculty member who is not only super supportive of me but also fast in response.
I’m thankful for everyone who’s supported me. Because life isn’t an individual event. It’s comprised of many people. So thanks.
I’m excited to start this new chapter in my life. There’s 2 and a half months left before school starts. Two more months to save money before I’ll have zero income. But it’ll be worth it.
I recently received an email from a prospective nursing student and thought that it was worth posting my answers.
I came across to your blog while searching for NYU’s accelerated nursing program. Reading your blog has been very helpful. Congrats on becoming a nurse. Currently I have my undergrad in a business discipline and I am really considering a nursing career instead. I just have some questions regarding nursing, it would be great to get your feedback. Thanks so much if you have the time to answer any of these questions!
1. Does it matter whether you take your pre-reqs at a community college or 4-yr college when applying to NYU? Do pre-req grades matter? Will there be a higher chance if acceptance if pre-reqs are taken in NYU?
You can take your pre-reqs at a community college or a 4 year college. Pre-req grades matter a lot. Definitely do well on these. I don’t believe there’s a higher chance of acceptance of the pre-reqs are taken at NYU. Majority of students take pre-reqs at a community college or a 4 year college.
2. What were your credentials when you applied to NYU (eg. GPA, experience)? And did you find NYU to be worth it after working in the field? Is there any other nursing programs you would recommend in NY?
My GPA was 3.84. As for experience, I volunteered at a hospital when I was applying. It’s important to highlight your feelings towards nursing especially after speaking to them and seeing what they do.
NYU is a great school and I’m glad I attended the school. The professors are top-notch and the students are helpful. There’s an interdisciplinary program so med students and nursing students learn about working together and each other’s roles. It is one of the top research institutions as well especially in elder care (NICHE Program http://www.nicheprogram.org). However, it is a really expensive program so I don’t recommend it to everyone.
The other nursing schools in New York / Long Island that I hear good things from include Hunter, Columbia, Stony Brook, Adelphi, Molloy and Pace.
3. Difficulty finding a job? Did you work part-time while studying in the program?
After I passed the NCLEX, it took about 6 months to find a nursing position. A couple of problems I ran into included not knowing how to interview (because this is a skill you need to practice). I didn’t start my search until after I passed. Some students connected with nurse managers during clinical and were able to secure a position shortly after graduation.
I did work once a week as a swim instructor during school to help supplement the costs. Some students didn’t work at all while others worked 36 hours a week (a full-time job!!). The first and second semester are the toughest so give more time devoted to school before deciding to work.
4. Do grades matter a lot to employers? Do I need to get straight A’s or can I afford to have a few B’s or even a C?
Some employers require a minimum GPA (3.4, 3.5) before they even look at your application. Some don’t. It’s how you present yourself and your mannerism that matter and whether you retained information from school and can apply it.
5. What is the starting salary like and is it worth being a nurse practitioner? What kind of nurse do you think is best to become/specialize in if any?
Starting salary differs from location to location, ranging from $40-80k. In NYC, it starts around $70-80k if you’re working at a private hospital.
Becoming a NP is dependent on the person. While I’ve heard that becoming an NP is the greatest thing in the world (I hear a lot of positive feedback), there are still a few who are discontent with the position, as there is more responsibility that comes with the position. Some people don’t want to deal with the higher stress and responsibility but wanted to go back to school and ended up hating being an NP. This requires a lot of self-reflection. What do you think would suit you and are you ready for it?
Personally, I’ve explored many advanced nursing professions. Not only should you look at your duties but also the lifestyle. Where would you want to work, what would you do, when would you want to work, what income would you make, what mobility is there? The best advanced nursing profession depends on the individual and what they want out of life. I picked Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. I like the one-on-one direct patient care aspect requiring a high level of critical thinking and autonomy and teamwork.
6. What’s life as a nurse? What are the difficulties and good parts of being a nurse? Expectations in the work force?
Life as a nurse differs between the environment that you work in. I work at the hospital where there’s 12 hour shifts (7-7:30am and pm), 3 days a week (for full time) and you can choose your schedule (with some limitations such as having to choose at least 3 weekend days, 2 Fridays, etc). Some people choose to do 3 in a row each week and have 4 days off. Other hospitals have it so you work 3 12-hour shifts plus 1 additional day every 4 weeks. Some units, especially in CTICU, PACU and ER, have other shifts from 11am to 11pm or 2pm to 2am.
It’s great having 4 days off because you definitely need it to recuperate and you’ll have time to do something else if you’d like.
Some places have day (7a -3p), evening (3p-11p), and night shift (11p-7a), especially in rehab and nursing homes, and require you work 5 days a week.
At work, you often need to have handoff communication about the patients. Then you assess the patient and pass out medications. You make nursing diagnoses about each patient and use critical thinking. You think to yourself: What’s the goal for the patient today? And then make it happen. You’ll speak to various disciplines to coordinate the care.
There’s a couple of tough parts about being a nurse.
1) Families – Some follow the unit policies and others do whatever they want. Communication is sometimes hard but trying to understand where they are coming from helps.
2) Physicians, MLP – your input is often crucial to the patient’s outcome but sometimes the provider will disagree with you.
3) Patients – some are nice and others are crazy, confused and not so nice.
4) Self- being able to let go everyday of the outcome is tough. At the end of the time, you have to set 1 small goal for the patient and as long as they meet that, you have to be satisfied with the care you provided. Nurses tend to be overachievers and want to always give more but with the number of things that must be done, it’s impossible to do everything you had in mind. You have to remember that nursing is a 24/7 job.
The good parts about being a nurse is knowing that you’ve made a difference is someone’s life. You get to think about an active problem and you get to take yourself and solve that problem. You get to hold someone’s hand and reassure them. It’s an amazing privilege to have to save a life, to have a better life, or to let someone die with dignity.
As for expectations in the workforce, there are several different angles you can discuss but I’ll discuss about your own expectations. There’s a nursing theorist named Patricia Benner who stated that the nursing career is based on the nursing model-
You really do start not knowing a lot, just the basics. You focus a lot on technical skills because it’s something you have to work on. Then as you progress, you build more confidence. Soon you’ll start to see areas in nursing where care can be streamlined or have protocols to standardize care. You’ll be in charge, take on harder assignments, be a preceptor, etc.
7. Any general suggestions on what I should focus on or do to become a nurse/get into NYU program?
Do well on your pre-reqs, volunteer or work in healthcare, and get to know a few professors who will write a letter of recommendation for you. And write a killer personal statement answering every question asked.
While there’s a lot of people who say that nursing was all they ever wanted to do, there’s also a lot of people who doubled back and thought otherwise (including myself!). There are many barriers to commit nursing as a number one career choice. One of the biggest hurdles is our conformity to society. What do our parents, family, friends, and society think about our career choice?
I know personally that I had pressure. I know many male nurses receive a certain pressure too. I know that many immigrants who may look down on nursing get that pressure. Even patients will ask, why nursing?
People get an image in their head and continue to apply that to everyone. A female should be a nurse, a male should be a doctor, some immigrants may think nursing is not a noble profession but rather a dirty one (mostly because of how the nursing profession is portrayed in other countries). We have to break free of these stereotypes and see nursing for what it really is.
Nursing is one of those fields where you get to make a difference in someone’s life everyday– where you combine the science and the art. You will make sure that someone will receive the best possible care, and in the safest way. And when that doesn’t happen, you will start an investigation questioning why that is and what can be done differently.
When we start to have a diverse group of nurses, different ideas abound, different strengths surface, and as a whole, nursing gets stronger.
You can jump over these hurdles by thinking about what is nursing, and how nursing is such an amazing and vast field. There are so many choices and different ways you can contribute, touch another and be touched. You can in one direction and go up as high as you want, or expand horizontally and try out different fields of nursing. You can choose to be by the bedside, or an administration, in research, in an insurance company, etc. Wherever you decide to grow, just go for it. Say it out loud and proud and you will gain social support.
I got in touch with the author of the Top RN to BSN website, who suggested that I include this infographic below on the Second Career Nurse. She did her research and learned more about the characteristics of the Second Career Nurse. I thought it was informative so here it is! If you look at the graph below, you will see that in 2012, 1 in 3 nursing grads are from accelerated nursing degrees.
Now, I have some questions for you as the reader. What made you change your career and how did you get your support for switching into nursing? Comment below to start a discussion. I look forward to chatting with you.
Second career nurses are solving the nursing crisis.
As a part of our unit’s community service project, we decided to do two projects. One of them was Project GLAM — Granting Lasting Amazing Memories. Somehow I was assigned to make the flyer and ended up becoming the head cheerleader for this project. WGIRLS Inc started Project GLAM back in 2010 where you can donate your gently used prom dresses (or cocktail dresses or bridesmaid dresses) for underprivileged girls who need prom dresses!
The idea started back in January by my nurse manager where she handed me some printouts from the website. Even Oprah endorsed it, how can you go wrong?
I made the flyer and started talking about it with coworkers a week before our donation drive. I set the drive to a short amount of time (2 weeks) so that people who were interested would bring in their dresses right away. I thought the flyer should be colorful and have spring colors, as well as the logo of the project. The timing of the drive is also important — it just turned spring, just in time for spring cleaning and Earth Day (reduce, reuse, recycle!), and it is before prom session starts. The Project GLAM was also discussed in the local news, which helped bring interest.
It was exciting talking to people about it, and hearing others talk about it with others. There’s a large age range of those working on the unit so many had different ideas of which dresses they should donate — some brought their own cocktail dress or bridesmaid dress, and others brought their own daughter’s prom dress!
We collected about 10 dresses and many accessories. Next, I got in touch with Amy, the president of WGIRLS, who then put me in touch with Kristi, the VP of WGIRLS in Long Island. We decided on a location and I dropped off the dresses.
Overall, it was a successful drive and I hope that other organizations will do the same! It helps to have a group of people donating to bring a sense of community together. However, if you’re interested in donating your own dresses, drop off your dress and accessories at these locations.
Have fun with your own dress drive and make a difference. 🙂
It’s so easy to say mean and rude things on the internet because often times the person receiving the message is not face to face. This TED talk by Monica Lewinsky shows how bad shame and humiliation can be… To the point where you would rather die than be so humiliated. No matter where she went, people didn’t know her for her but as that other women. It used to only a small community knowing the shame of a person. Now it’s the whole internet world shining a spotlight on an embarrassing moment. To stop this, there are things that need to be done.
First, be nice. If you see a mean comment, counter it with something kind.
Second, don’t click on those demeaning links. The more clicks, the more advertising, the more they can make money, and the more they will spend on finding embarrassing stories to tell. People have souls.
Here were a couple things I learned from the video:
Even in small numbers, when there’s consistency over time, change can happen.
Compassionate comments can abate bullying. Think about the other person on the other side of the headline.
We have a responsibility to the freedom of expression.
I recently received an email regarding low GPAs (as defined by anything less than 3.0) and what can be done about it, especially if you’re interested in heading back for an accelerated BSN degree or graduate school. After a little research and discussion I found out a few things that I thought may be helpful to share.
If you already have a BSN degree and you have a low GPA, then there are a couple of options you can take. These may or may not count towards the undergraduate GPA, but it will demonstrate to the admissions board your dedication, motivation, determination and persistence.
Apply and get enrolled into a MSN program that doesn’t require stellar GPAs and that allows you to go part-time. Take core classes that could transfer to your dream school and ace those classes.
Many hospitals offer compensation for nursing credits so be sure to take them up on the offer. Get to know the details of the offer. At my hospital, only those working night shift can get it and then must work 1 year after they have taken the class. They must get a certain grade. Other hospitals may have requirements of you working for the hospital for an ‘x’ number of years.
I hoped that helped! Let me know if there’s anything different that you’ve done.
I’m really excited to say that I got into the University of Michigan-Flint / Hurley Medical Center Nurse Anesthesia Program. I am proud of my accomplishments and thankful for everyone who has encouraged me and helped me along the way.
Like many others, I have varied interests, but healthcare was always in the forefront of my mind. I grew up knowing that I wanted to heal the sick and that I wanted my presence to truly make a difference in people’s life everyday.
I first went for a biology degree for pre-med. But unfortunately, as I started to explore medicine as a career, I was put off by it. Sure, a lot of friends continued on and I’m proud of them. Some decided that it wasn’t for them either. I started to explore other healthcare fields. I found my place in nursing. I was most excited when I found out about the accelerated nursing programs because it truly changed my life. Before I finished my biology degree, I took several prerequisites for nursing schools that I was interested in (because unfortunately they all differ).
After I graduated from nursing school, I knew that I wanted to go to graduate school. I took a couple of graduate courses through NYU’s dual degree program while I was working on telemetry. I was interested in nearly all the graduate nursing fields — nurse practitioner (acute, primary, pediatric, family), nursing informatics, nursing administration, and nurse anesthesia. But it wasn’t until I entered the intensive care unit before I started to really take my preparation seriously. At this point, I debated becoming a primary NP or going into nursing informatics or nurse anesthesia.
I already saw what a difference nurse practitioners do but I didn’t know if I really had it in me to do anesthesia. Life in my hands– day in and out. But I met a few UM alumni who told me that I would do a great job. I shadowed them over the summer, and saw their autonomy and teamwork abilities. I had almost all of the credentials to apply and their encouragement made me believe in myself.
I started my process of looking into schools to apply.
Where is it located?
Do I meet the requirements? If not, which ones are still missing?
Is there an information sessions to learn more about the program?
When is the due date? When does it start? How much does it cost?
I started attending information sessions in July. I went to UM-Flint information session in October. My advice is to bring transcripts. This kills two birds with one stone — (1) an opportunity to speak to the head of admissions and (2) to find out if your prerequisites meet the school’s standard. Learn how the school chooses students. Some may emphasize that three years of critical care experience is essential and any ‘outside of work’ experience is crucial. Others say that ‘you may pass all of the didactic courses but if you fail the clinical aspect, then you’re not cut out for CRNA.’ While that’s true, when I hear that comment, I feel that the school is more hostile rather than helpful. Just as you’re interested in becoming a CRNA, it is important to learn more about the school’s culture.
At the University of Michigan-Flint, admissions is based on a points system (as are many schools). For the application, objective data such as the science GPA, overall GPA, and GRE score is scored. Thankfully, I was able to submit majority of the application before tackling the admissions essay. In the essay, it is crucial to answer every question in detail. And while the CCRN is not required, it is highly recommended to take it. It shows that you take your education seriously and it helps you prepare for the interview.
At UM-Flint, there are 2 due dates: Early (10/1) and Regular (2/1). I submitted my full application a week before the due date. There was a website to check if all of your required paperwork is submitted and which ones were not completed (I loved this!). The admissions team was easy to work with and answered all my questions. Sometime during the first week of February, I was offered an interview for either February 19 or 20. I picked Friday the 20th. I made some work schedule changes and booked a flight back home. The 3 part interview (exam, panel interview, and OR with CRNA) is also based on a point system– 10 points for each section. The purpose of this is to make admissions as fair as possible (rather than getting in because you know someone on the admissions board).
The exam is composed of multiple choice, fill in the blank, and essay comprising mostly of CCRN and ACLS material. Apparently, I have to work on the cardiac section.
The interview is a panel interview asking typical questions as well as some ethical questions. I highly recommend practicing saying them out loud. I recommend getting the All CRNA School Guide, going over common questions.
The OR time with a CRNA is comprises of short clinical questions on what you’d do in certain situations.
When I walked in, I saw that I was the last person to be interviewed. After the 3 hour interview window, I was driving back home and got the call. I was shocked that they had reached their decisions so quickly, especially since I was expecting to hear back a week or two after the interview. It may be because they’ve already interviewed everyone and scored them on a points system already and they simply picked people starting from the highest marks going down the list. But regardless, I was definitely excited.
Of course, getting in sparked another list of questions to solve. That’s what I’ve been working on since then.
Where will I live?
Who will I tell?
When is my end date at work?
How will I end my lease?
How will I manage my relationship with my sister and boyfriend?
Will my boyfriend stay here or move back with me?
My car lease is almost up. Should I lease or buy another car considering the number of miles I will potentially drive?
Taxes need to be completed. FAFSA needs to be completed. In-state or out-of-state residency needs to be determined.
I also looked up all the clinical sites and put them on Google Maps.
It’s about a nice 1 hour radius circumference from Flint, Michigan. As of right now, I’m planning to stay at home in Ann Arbor but for clinical that is more than 1 hour away, I’ll stay closer.
As for my boyfriend, he will stay in NYC. He’s doing well with his career here. And we’ve had a long distance relationship before back when we were swapped — when he was at the University of Michigan studying economics and I was in NYC. How ironic.
As for cars, lately I’ve leased Honda Civics because they are less expensive and reliable. But it is true — I really should support American Car Companies (Ford, GM, Chrysler). I plan on going to the New York Auto Show in April and hopefully I’ll get a better idea of what car I should buy.
As for saving money for tuition, I’ve been working an extra shift about every other week. Thankfully I’ve saved a bit already in my retirement funds, which can be used for higher education (I need to look into this more).
As for the order in which I told people, I first told my closest friends not from work. Then after the official letter came in, I told my nurse manager (who is really supportive!!). After that, I put it on Facebook. Prior to applying, I didn’t make it well-known that I was interested in nurse anesthesia partly because I wasn’t sure of the reactions I would receive and I’d rather just leave that part off the table. However, since getting in, I’ve received positive feedback. I think that for the most part nurses are kind and encouraging but I guess you never know.
On Thursday, March 19, was National Certified Nurses Day. At work, it was nice to get that acknowledgement (again!). The AACN ambassadors put together little bags for all those who are certified as a CCRN. In the bag, there were a couple of AACN and CCRN pens, pins, and chocolate.
My hope is that once you’ve been in practice long enough to get certified, go for it. It just gives you that additional “oomph” and confidence.
I don’t drink coffee to stay awake. I know that caffeine is America’s legal drug to stay awake, and coffee shops are abound to fill that need. But for some reason, a 11th grade chemistry poster presentation on caffeine swayed me away from coffee. It’s an artificial way to keep you awake.
Instead, I sleep. Yes, it’s true — I didn’t drink coffee during school. And I don’t drink coffee for work. How is it possible that I just sleep to refuel?
My mom may have influenced me a little. Whenever I physically felt bad or crummy as a kid, she told me to take a shower then go to sleep. So being the good kid, I slept.
I think this country is sleep deprived and we simply don’t get enough sleep every night. Some people say that sleep is a waste of time and you’ll get plenty of it once you’re dead. However, I think otherwise.
I am pretty lucky when it comes to sleeping. When I was a baby and I cried, my parents drove me around the block in the car and I fell asleep. I can still fall asleep almost anywhere anytime. I even miss the snacks on flights. I worked the night shift and sleeping during the day really wasn’t too bad (except for when construction was going on or the neighbors’ dogs were barking).
But some people can’t sleep. Which totally sucks because they are cranky. Irritable. It’s much more difficult to concentrate and remember things. And drowsy driving is dangerous driving.
During the rare times that I can’t sleep, I found that I did somethings that I shouldn’t do. Here are some things that I do to help me sleep.
Don’t eat a large meal at least 1 hour before sleeping. When you eat a large meal, your body is spiked with glucose and your body is working on digesting food, not getting ready to sleep.
Sleep in a dark room with as little distractions as possible. This is especially important for people who work during the night and sleep during the day. Getting dark shades is helpful. You shouldn’t feel too hot or cold, and the mattress and pillows should feel comfortable to you. If you find yourself tossing and turning often, it may be time to consider a new mattress or pillow!
Clear your mind with deep breathing. This one sounds cheesy but it really works. At work, I noticed that patients who have the most difficult time sleeping are those who have too much on their mind. They think about everything and anything except for deep breathing. They will try to mask the problem by asking for a sleeping pill but that is not always the solution. The mind needs to be clear before falling into a nice, deep sleep otherwise the mind will be too focused on other thoughts.
Write down your day /topics or talk to someone about your day. I find that if you write down your thoughts and issues, then you can set aside the problem for the next day. By writing a journal, you can more clearly see the problems and how you may want to solve them. You won’t have to keep thinking about the problems because you’ve already written it down.
Exercise. Many times, being overweight contributes to a large fat neck. This kind of anatomy can cause obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). You may hear snoring and really the worst part is that your body isn’t getting enough oxygen while you sleep. This often causes daytime sleepiness because your body isn’t resting throughout the night since your brain keeps waking you up to make sure you get enough oxygen!
I hope you learned something new and enjoy sleeping!