Personal Statement- Nurse Anesthesia Application
By popular demand, I am sharing my personal statement from when I applied to CRNA school in 2016. Keep in mind, it's not perfect by any means and I have become a much better writer while in CRNA school due to all the doctoral research classes, haha. However, I wanted to be honest and not make any edits. I was 26 when I started my anesthesia journey and reading my statement is not only humbling, but it's a reminder of where I started and how BADLY I wanted it.
Brittany B Harvey, RN, BSN, CCRN
Since high school, I have always been fascinated by the nurse anesthesia career. However, it was not until the summer before my freshman year of college, while volunteering at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, I gained a true insight into the field. I was assisting a child life specialist prepare a nine-year old boy for a routine tonsil-adenoidectomy. We carefully demonstrated how he would wear the “special space mask” and showed him the “little straw” he would have in his arm to receive sleeping medications during his surgery. Shortly following that consult, I mentioned to the child life specialist my interest in furthering my education after nursing school, focusing on anesthesia. A few minutes later, she introduced me to a young, effervescent CRNA, named Kelly. Kelly allowed me to shadow her for the rest of the day and spent hours teaching me the intricacies of anesthesia. I could see the passion in her eyes and became instantly hooked! Over the past three years, I have had the opportunity to shadow an anesthesiologist and three CRNAs during several cardiac and thoracic surgeries, including a left ventricular assist device implantation. That fiery passion I witnessed in Kelly’s eyes was also present in the eyes of the three CRNAs, and is now the same passion I carry with me for anesthesia.
Throughout nursing school, I continued to carry the thought of nurse anesthesia with me while completing my BSN degree. Out of our 50-student cohort, I was one of 12 nursing students selected to participate in the nursing honors program and graduated in the top nine percent of my class. I was also given the privilege to serve on my college’s Nursing Student Board as the Community Health Director for over a year. In this position, I was responsible for fundraising and organizing community health events.
These community events included public flu shot clinics, educational presentations for fellow undergraduate students, Relay for Life, Walk for a Cure, and Susan G Komen walks. While in nursing school I continued to stay involved in our local chapter (MSCANS), state chapter (GANS), and national chapter (NSNA) for nursing students. Through my membership with NSNA, I was introduced to my first medical mission, a two-week trip to Costa Rica with other nursing and medical students. I have since
participated, as a registered nurse, on another two-week medical mission trip to Kenya with a group of talented professionals from various medical fields. On both of these trips, I had the unique experience of caring for adults and children outside of modern medical conveniences. My focus on these trips was displaying compassion and improving quality of life for those who lack access to primary healthcare. These experiences further fueled my desire to grow and challenge myself as a nurse while improving current nursing practices.
Following nursing school graduation, I was offered an amazing opportunity to work at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-Scottish Rite in a 50-bed, level II trauma emergency center. While there, I gained an irreplaceable foundation for nursing, which in turn inspired me to transition to an adult intensive care setting. After 18 months at Scottish Rite, I left to join an incredible team of nurses and providers at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in the Coronary Care Unit/Medical Intensive Care Unit. At this 500-bed
hospital, including six adult intensive care units, I have been rewarded with extraordinary opportunities that have fully prepared me for advancements in my nursing career. For example, one month after completing my CCU orientation, I was approached by my unit manager to join two highly competitive critical care nursing councils. I was quickly voted in as co-chair of our CCU Unit Based Council and
shortly thereafter became CCU’s representative for Piedmont’s Critical Care Practice Council, where I still serve. On these councils, I have a front row seat to our nurse driven practices and have contributed in creating protocols and procedures for restraints, bronchoalveolar lavages, and post-cardiac arrest induced hypothermia. In addition, I assisted in creating the 2015 and 2016 annual competencies for all six intensive care units, developed three in-services to educate our intensive care nurses on topics including QT intervals and Torsades de Pointes, rapid sequence intubation, and hypothermia therapy following cardiac arrests, and am currently assisting with data collection and analysis as our CCU submits its first application for a Beacon Award. Continuing to always challenge myself, seven months off orientation, my lead charge nurse requested I begin training for relief charge and precepting of new
graduate nurses. A few months later, I was given a permanent relief charge nurse position for our night shift team.
While working in our 19-bed CCU/MICU, I have had the opportunity to care for a high acuity patient population and am experienced with ventilator support, ABG analysis, EKG interpretation, various ventricular assisted devices, intra-aortic balloon pumps, transvenous pacemakers, EKOS, CRRT/CVVHD, hypothermia devices, Swan-Ganz catheters, Rotoprone therapy, and several other diagnostic and therapeutic devices. I am familiar with vasoactive drips including, Epinephrine, Norepinephrine, Phenylephrine, Vasopressin, Dopamine, Dobutamine, Milrinone, Nitroglycerin,
Nitroprusside, as well as many other essential medications. I have also developed a thorough understanding of these medications and their effects on cardiac output/index, SVR, PVR, PAS/PAD, PAOP, heart rate and blood pressure due to our requirements for continuous in-depth monitoring of our patients. After 18 months in the CCU/MICU, I was the first intensive care nurse to be approved for cross training in our 34-bed CVICU. In this unit, I have been able to care for an array of patients including, various open-heart surgeries, VV/VA extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, heart transplants, and
ventricular assisted device transplants. In addition to my cross training, leveling as a Nurse III Preceptor, receiving my CCRN, and actively studying for my CMC has enabled me to feel more confident in autonomously caring for my acutely ill patients, and has allowed me to quickly identify and prioritize complex clinical situations. These professional advancements, as well as the positions I have held throughout nursing school and my career, have greatly enhanced my leadership skills in my nursing
Like many others who join the healthcare field, I have a strong desire and eagerness to serve and care for others. As a CRNA, I will be able to directly center my attention on one patient at a time, concentrating solely on them. I cannot think of a more focused professional role as a patient advocate. I hold a deep respect for the nurse anesthesia career, as it demands excellence, vigilance, leadership, and compassion. It can be immensely challenging, yet fully rewarding. I am striving to become a CRNA
because each day I want to have the responsibility to care for another individual during the most vulnerable time of their life- a time when they place every ounce of their trust in their nurse anesthetist. I know anesthesia school will be one of the greatest challenges I will ever face, but I am determined and confident in myself and the passion I have for anesthesia to succeed in this highly respectable career. Thank you for considering me as a future student and I hope to become a valuable addition to your CRNA program!
Brittany B Harvey