Prospective students must meet the following criteria in order to be considered for entry into the program:
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Application Packets for the class beginning May 2021 must be completed by April 1, 2020.
- Completion of a baccalaureate degree program with an NLNAC or CCNE accredited major in nursing from a regionally accredited institution or the equivalent as determined by the Department of Nursing Faculty
- Grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher. Students not meeting this grade point average requirement may be admitted to conditional status on the recommendation of the faculty
- Transcripts from all previously attended institutions of higher education, please provide original transcripts.
- Current RN licensure in Pennsylvania; Current home state licensure for application process is acceptable.
- Successful completion of the following courses: a statistics course that covered descriptive and inferential statistics, a physical assessment course, and a nursing research course
- A personal statement indicating academic goals for graduate nursing education
- Each applicant will keep a shadow log of his or her visits to the operating room. The minimum time for this is 8 hours. It should contain (at a minimum) the hours they were there, with whom they spent time, and what they saw. This log will be sent to the admissions committee for their review and evaluation.
Three completed recommendation forms with accompanying letters: one of the three recommendations for the CRNA program must be from a nurse anesthetist. In order to ensure this recommendation is a true reflection of the abilities of the applicant, the following are required:
- A letter and recommendation form are required to be completed by the recommender
- Applicants are required to have one recommendation from a nurse anesthetist. This is an individual:
- With whom they have established, over time (60 to 90 days minimum), a professional relationship and
- Who is familiar with the applicant’s abilities and potential. While this MAY be the person with whom the applicant has shadowed in the operating room, that is not a requirement
- Applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in the verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections, and include a copy of his or her scores in the application packet
- A minimum of one year of acute care experience in the role of a Registered Nurse, defined as experience in personally caring for patients with invasive monitoring devices (arterial line, central venous pressure line, and pulmonary artery occlusion catheters), vasoactive infusions, ECG interpretation, and caring for mechanically ventilated patients
- Current BLS, ACLS, and PALS certifications.
Observation opportunities are available for students interested in applying to the program. During an observation day you will observe a class and meet with current students and faculty members. Please refer to our DNP Course of Study for class times and dates.
Contact us now to set up an observation day or attend one of our Grand Rounds by calling (717)-815-6550.
Application and Admission
Is there a deadline for my application?
Yes; we are now accepting applications for the Class of 2024. They must be complete by April 1, 2020.
How many students do you admit each year?
The Nurse Anesthetist Program admits 12-16 students each year.
Do you interview everyone who applies to the program?
The number of applicants interviewed is determined by the number of positions available. Approximately 4 times the number of available slots will be invited to interview.
How long after the application deadline does the interview process begin?
Selected applicants are notified approximately four to six weeks after the application deadline and scheduled for interview within the following month.
Is there a waiting list for admission?
The Nurse Anesthetist Program will not maintain a waiting list of prospective applicants. Unsuccessful applicants may reapply in following years.
Do you accept scores from any other placement exam besides the GRE (such as MAT, etc.)?
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required for application to the Nurse Anesthesia Program. Applicants whose first language is not English must achieve a minimum score of 600 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Graduates of foreign nursing programs must also have transcripts and application materials evaluated by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools.
Which graduate or undergraduate courses might be helpful to me as a nurse anesthesia student?
Undergraduate or graduate courses in statistics and health assessment are prerequisites for admission. Courses in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, physics, organic chemistry, and biochemistry are suggested, but not required. You may wish to consider additional education in those areas of the sciences in which you feel you are weak.
Do I have to obtain my own liability insurance for clinical rotations?
Liability insurance with specific coverage for nurse anesthesia students must be purchased before beginning the clinical phase of the program. Information about policy options available through AANA Insurance Services will be provided after enrollment.
Is financial assistance available?
Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information, regarding programs that may be available to provide you with financial assistance
General Information: (717) firstname.lastname@example.org
Location: Miller Administration Building, Room 138
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30am – 5:00pm
Calvin Williams, Financial Aid Director
Education and Experience Prerequisites
Must I have an undergraduate bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN)?
Yes. Although some nurse anesthesia programs allow the RN applicant to have a degree in another field, the program requires the student to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Can I apply for admission if I am enrolled in a degree completion program and scheduled to finish my BSN after the application deadline?
Yes, a registered nurse who is enrolled in a BSN completion program may be admitted contingent upon completion of the BSN and all other admission criteria.
What is the average nursing experience, in years, for accepted applicants?
Applicants are required to have at least one year of acute care experience as a registered nurse when entering the program. Most individuals accepted in Nurse Anesthetist Programs have at least 2-4 years of experience.
Which type of clinical experience is preferred?
Applicants are encouraged to practice in clinical environments that require dynamic decision making while caring for patients with continuous ECG monitoring, invasive lines (such as pulmonary artery, central venous, and arterial catheters), vasoactive infusions, and ventilatory support. Most applicants obtain these experiences in surgical, cardiothoracic, trauma, or medical intensive care units; however, we are interested in the quality of nursing experience, not a unit’s name.
Does it matter if all my clinical experience is with neonatal or pediatric patients?
The majority of students enter the program with adult critical care nursing experience; however, this is not mandatory. Students having only pediatric nursing experience should insure they have some background providing care for adult patients, as the majority of their education will be in this venue.
Is your program offered by distance learning?
Can I attend your program on a part time basis?
The Nurse Anesthetist Program currently admits only on a full time basis
Is housing available for graduate students?
No, students must make their own arrangements for housing.
How many hours per week can I work while enrolled in the program?
Outside employment is discouraged because of the intense nature of the program.
Tips for a Successful Application
Many prospective students ask how they can make their applications more competitive. Here are some tips which might assist you in that process. It is important to remember that the use of any or all of these techniques in no way guarantees your entrance into the Nurse Anesthetist Program.
In addition to answering the questions at the top of the autobiographical statement, your letter should tell us who you are and what you hope to achieve personally and professionally by attending this program. This letter plays a role in the selection of applicants for interview. Instructions for writing your goals statement can be found on the checklist in the application packet, which will be mailed to you.
Your CV should be both clear and concise, and should provide a good overview of your professional life. Avoid jargon (“CVICU” could be anything, the “Post-operative Open Heart Surgery Unit” only describes one thing.
Critical Care Experience: What you do in the ICU is more important than the type of ICU. Your practice should include ECG interpretation, management of invasive monitors, the use and titration of vasoactive substances, and
Please do NOT ask your relatives and friends to write your recommendations. We know they think you are wonderful! Your recommendations SHOULD include a nurse anesthetist with whom you have spent time with, and if possible one of your academic instructors familiar with your work and study habits. Remember that we are part of the School of Nursing, so recommendations from Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA’s) and Nursing Instructors are important.
Spend Time with a CRNA
One of your recommendations must be from a nurse anesthetist. The best way to get a good recommendation is to spend time in the operating room with a CRNA. This is a program that will require an amazing (and sometimes seemingly overwhelming) commitment of time and energy. The information you will receive during your three semesters of didactic instruction is quite specialized. Therefore, it is important that you understand what CRNA’s do in the course of a normal day. Eight hours is probably the minimum amount of time one should spend, and more is probably better (after hour 40, you have probably learned all you can learn). You should also keep a shadow log of your experiences in the OR, which is to be submitted with your program application. Your goal in this pursuit is NOT to learn how to do anesthesia, it is to see the nature of the role of nurse anesthetists in the pre-operative, peri-operative and post-operative period.
We look at your transcript carefully, on a grade-by-grade basis. As such, a 3.0 GPA from a student who had an “A” in “Appreciation of Television” and a “C” in “Physiology” will be looked at in a different light than one who has the opposite grades. Your science and mathematics courses are carefully scrutinized. Please request original copies of your transcripts.
There is no minimum acceptable GRE score. The overall “average” GRE score is approximately 50th percentile on the verbal, 40th percentile the quantitative, and 3 on the analytical portion. A low-end GRE (less than 30th percentile on the verbal and quantitative sections) may NOT be something that will keep you out of the program. Don’t let a less than average GRE score dissuade you from applying.