I was a tiny, premature baby, and although my medical problems were not severe, they did involve frequent visits to the hospital in my early childhood. So I became used to the hospital environment and observed the staff in a way that only a child can. I saw that some nurses and doctors did their job and that others did the same job but with a smile and a friendly manner, even taking the time occasionally to share a joke with a little girl. I decided very early in my life that I would like to help people by working in a hospital and that I would be one of the smiling, friendly, caring staff and not one of the others. I have never forgotten my childhood resolution in my career to date.
Initially, my dream was to be a doctor, but I could not overcome the early obstacles to my goal. My exam results were not good enough to go to medical school, which was devastating anyway. Before I had finalized plans to retake exams and re-apply, my parents told me that they could not support me through exam re-takes in medical school. They suggested that I apply for nursing school. I did so but was unhappy, I felt crushed, and my initial results reflected my attitude. At a certain point, I realized that I was staring another failure in the face and that I would let myself and my family down unless something changed. I adopted a new attitude; I studied hard and enthusiastically, my scores improved dramatically, and I felt much happier. My unique perspective was rewarded by the award of an associate degree and an R.N. post at one of the most prestigious hospitals in South Korea.
Life moved on professionally and personally; I married, moved to the US, had four children, worked happily and successfully as a nurse, and supported my husband through his Ph.D. studies. My life seemed pretty much ‘mapped out,’ but unexpectedly, my husband and I separated. I took careful stock of my life; I decided that I wanted to advance academically and professionally as far as my ability would take me. Although working full time, I studied for a B.S. degree in biology at St. John’s University. My GPA score was admittedly not ‘stellar,’ but I graduated ‘Magna cum Laude.’ I felt very proud to have succeeded when I was working full time and taking care of my children as well as studying.
Having obtained my degree, I began to look closely at my professional situation. I have nearly two decades of ICU nursing experience and have been successful and, to a large extent, personally fulfilled in my career to date. However, I wanted a change that involved progress and additional satisfaction. I explored various options and, after much consideration, have concluded that being a Nurse Anesthetist would fulfill my specialization and progress goals. I have substantial experience in ICU, specifically in neuro ICU and in helping to manage patients during surgery. I knew the role involved and the characteristics of a good NA and saw that I possess them.
According to the AANA, CRNAs are “special people -- compassionate, vigilant in their responsibilities, protective of and advocates for their patients; they dedicate themselves to one patient at a time, watching over them and seeing that the patient is pain-free during surgery.” When I read these words, I could see that they described the role I was seeking and would use my specific skills and characteristics. I discussed the position with several NA colleagues who encouraged me to complete this application and decided to do so.
I am keen to be involved in research, especially in neuro-anesthetics, and I believe that my considerable experience will enable me to make a significant contribution. My ultimate goal is to become a highly skilled and knowledgeable NA for the benefit of my patients.
My long nursing life has given me considerable experience in effective teamwork and recognizing situations where it is appropriate to seek support. While happy to work as part of a team, I am a confident and able decision-maker when working autonomously.
I am very aware of the need for cultural sensitivity in healthcare provision. I have personal experience living in two distinct cultures and adjusting to moving from one to another.
I have also treated, studied with, and worked alongside people of many cultural and social backgrounds and enjoy doing so. I enjoy educating people about my own Korean culture and learning from others about their own.
I know that CRNA programs attract many very well-qualified applicants. However, I am academically able, as I have recently demonstrated in the face of extreme time constraints; I am a highly experienced health professional with proven skills and knowledge in the area in which I wish to work; my long experience and personal maturity will enable me to contribute something of value to my class. However, my most important recommendation is a genuine passion and total determination to excel within the program.