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An “Easy” CRNA Program?

by admin

There is so much bad information on the internet regarding the nurse anesthesia application process and programs.  I recently spent hours online sifting through forums and was amazed at some of the blatant untruths out there.  There is even a popular website for potential applicants that is trying to sell you information that you can easily access online if you spend a little time!  This same website is recommending you look for schools with “easy” admission procedures if you are worried about the strength of your application.

It really got to me that nurses and potential nurses are relying on this kind of information to decide their future so I felt compelled to write this post.  It is not my intention to offend or alienate potential applicants here, but if you searched for “easy” CRNA programs- the career of nurse anesthetist might not be for you.  If you are worried about your low GPA and you searched, “What CRNA schools are easy to get in to?” you might be shooting yourself in the foot before you even start.  I’ll explain…

Why a 3.0?

There are more CRNA programs now than ever before.  The number of ICU nurses that want to attend CRNA school is even higher.  This means that programs often admit applicants with average GPAs of 3.3 to 3.6.  The minimum GPA requirement, which is 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (B average), is not an arbitrarily chosen number.   Placing a minimum standard is an attempt by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Council of Accreditation and your program admissions committee to select students that they believe will A) successfully complete the entire program, B) represent the program and the profession well.

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A good anesthesia program will require you to pass your courses with a B or better.  (Some programs offer remediation to “failing” students, but other programs will drop you from the program if you earn below a certain letter grade/percentage.  For example, when I was an anesthesia student, a final grade of at least 83% was required in every course.  Anything less meant that you were dropped from the program entirely.  This might seem unfair to some, but I would argue that it is necessary and important to have a performance standard.  Nurse anesthetists have a very important job, and a lack of knowledge in any aspect (whether it be Pharmacology, Pathophysiology, etc.) can reflect poorly on patient outcomes and on the respect we earn from the medical community.

What I am about to say is a blanket statement that does not factor in unique life circumstances, but if it relates to you, please think about this: If it was difficult for you to earn a B average as an undergraduate student, it is going to be very difficult for you to be successful in a masters or doctorate program.  CRNA courses are graduate level courses.  This often means less direct instruction, more independent study, reading for comprehension, and computer based and/or oral exams.  One of the unique aspects of the nurse anesthesia curriculum is the large amount of material that is covered in a short amount of time.  In order to be successful, you need to be a strong student, have strong critical thinking skills, and retain enough didactic information to make sound clinical decisions.  An admissions committee does not have a magical formula to predict which applicant is going to embody all these traits.  They are forced to use tools, like your GRE score and your GPA to help guide them to choosing students that will complete the program successfully.  Often your GPA directly reflects your strength as a student, that’s just how the cookie crumbles.

So you have a low GPA and you still want to be a CRNA?

I am definitely not telling you to give up.  If you are reading this post, it is because you want to do this crazy, yet wonderful, thing called CRNA.  If becoming a nurse anesthetist is your dream, you owe it to YOURSELF to prove that you can handle the course work and the clinical requirements before you make that non-refundable deposit, quit your job, and start racking up large student debt.  Has it been a long time since you completed your undergraduate degree?  Maybe you were not that serious of a student in the past and you were just trying to get by?   Why not take a few courses to strengthen your GPA (especially in sciences), and not only prove to yourself you can handle 24-36 months of full-time study, but strengthen your application to be competitive in the process?  You can focus on undergraduate science courses, prerequisites for a specific program you are interested in, or even take some graduate level courses that may transfer over to the nurse anesthesia program you are interested in.  *Not all programs accept transfer credits so consider that before making a large financial investment.  There are also things you can add to your resume or curriculum vitae that will turn you into that highly motivated student in the eyes of the admissions committee- you know…the student all the programs crave.

CRNA Academy wants to help the right students get into CRNA programs.  Is this you?  The decision to accept admission means making an extremely long commitment to your program.  The decision will affect your family, your friends, your finances, and potentially your personal health (long hours, competition, stress of constant study/exam taking, public speaking, and the frustration that can come with being under nearly constant scrutiny can take a toll).  Only someone who has graduated a CRNA program can understand this.  If you are a struggling student on top of everything else going on, not only is it going to be tougher for you than your classmates, but you are going to be under constant fear of getting dropped from the program.  If you are flailing and trying to skate that 83% or B average, everything will be even tougher for you.  Most of the students in my program found it pretty attainable (not without hard work, of course) to obtain A’s while managing the other time constraints.  This is just the honest truth.

So, again I ask you to check the source of your information.  A person who has only talked with an SRNA, CRNA, or has undergone one program interview has only seen a tiny, tiny, tiny slice of the very large part of what it means to become a nurse anesthetist.

We offer audio interviews with admission representatives, program directors, student nurse anesthetists and legitimate experts on the subjects you want to research.  We guarantee our information is 100% better than what you will find browsing forums and wasting your money on products by non-nurses and non-CRNAs.  We can also interview the schools you ask us to; we can ask those questions that you do not want to ask; we can get you in touch with CRNAs or students in your area!  Despite there being nearly 47,000 CRNAs, you would be amazed at how small of a community it really is.  And we have insider access that we want to share with you.  Join us today!

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