Do most N.A. Graduate Programs accept Biology majors?

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    I am a high school senior interested in pursuing a Biology major. I have noticed that most Nurse Anesthesia Graduate Schools list a BSN, MSN or an "equivalent major" as a requirement for acceptance. What is your experience with this requirement? Is Biology an equivalent major? Will it provide me with the essentials needed to succeed in a rigorous Nurse Anesthesia program?

    Please note that I am choosing to major in Biology because the field interests me and I may enter Dental/Medical School if Nurse Anesthesia is not for me. It is always good to have a backup plan!

    Comments, suggestions, and criticisms are extremely welcome. Thanks a bunch!

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  3. 11 Comments...

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    I would have to say no that most nurse anesthesia programs do not take degrees in biology for admittance. There are a few programs that do take health related majors, and you can probably find that information out on the AANA website in the area where school information is provided.

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    You might be better off checking into Anesthesia Assistant or Physician Assistant programs. They are more geared towards biology majors. Anestheisa Assistants are essentially the same as Nurse Anesthetists except they are only licensed to practice in several states and are dependent providers of anesthesia.
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    Thank you very much for your input! Perhaps I should choose a different major if I plan on being a Nurse Anesthetist.
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    Correct me if I'm wrong (as I so often am! :chuckle ), but don't most (all) CRNA programs require that you have experience working as an RN in an ICU setting in order to get accepted? You have to be an experienced RN in order to get into the programs -- that's why a biology degree (by itself) would not be sufficient.

    If you really have your heart set on majoring in biology and being a CRNA, you could major in biology, and then become an RN through either a community college program or an accelerated BSN program. That would take at least an extra year, though, and probably more than that (that would still be a heck of a lot less time, effort, and expense than med school or dental school).
    *guest* likes this.
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    You could major in nursing. Your original message did not specify when you would become a nurse. Not sure if you realized this, but you must be a licensed registered nurse and have at least one year of work experience preferably in critical care in addition to your bachelors degree before you can apply to nurse anesthesia school.

    Good luck to you in whatever you decide.

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    Not sure if you realized this, but you must be a licensed registered nurse and have at least one year of work experience preferably in critical care in addition to your bachelors degree before you can apply to nurse anesthesia school.
    Indeed I knew this, however I did not realize that to become a licensed registered nurse, one has to complete a nursing degree! I naively assumed that anyone with a science-related major could take the test!

    This doesn't change my career aspirations though. I still want to be a nurse anesthetist. I just won't major in Biology

    Thank you very much for all of your help!
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    Welcome to allnurses, BTW!

    In order to be eligible to sit the NCLEX-RN (the licensing exam for Registered Nurses), you need to have graduated from a school of nursing (whether hospital-based diploma school, community college, online, or college/university) that is approved by the Board of Nursing in your state, and you must "pass" stringent criminal/background checks by the BON.

    There's no such thing as "challenging" the NCLEX-RN (without having completed an approved nursing program), and I very seriously doubt it would be possible for anyone other than a nursing school grad to pass it, anyway. (Heck -- look through the threads here, and you'll see that plenty of nursing school grads don't pass!)
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    If you haven't already, .... check this out:

    It does mention possibly being able to have a bachelors degree in something else, but you do need to go through nursing school. The waiting lists for Nursing programs are so long, you could become an RN with an ADN and obtain a bachelors in Biology on the side. It would probably take longer, but if Biology is what you want.....

    It appears the fastest way to get to the CRNA graduate program would be a BSN (Bachelors of Nursing) and going striaght into an ICU. Or......... get an ADN and then go into an ICU while finishing your bachelors so that you get in your one to two years ICU experience (killing two birds with one stone). Just a couple examples....
    P.S. It's always good to have a backup plan. When you aim high, you have nowhere to go but up.
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    Patrick, I have a dual degree: Biology and Nursing. I'll say the bio degree has not done anything for me lately, but you can major in both during school.

    The NCLEX has very little to do with science, and a lot to do with nursing and priorities made based on science (mostly human physiology). With the information learned in my biology degree, I would not have passed the NCLEX exam, maybe the MCAT, but not NCLEX. The basic biology in a BS biology will not teach you the thinking you need to know to decide which patient in a disaster is beyond saving, which one has immediate priority and which one can wait (typical nclex fare).

    I really enjoyed the biology classes. It was a way to "get away" from some of the rumors and competitiveness that goes on in the nursing programs, and to expand my brain. So, why not major in both? You can do it, especially if you are organized and plan ahead.

    Also, you may enter college and take a class and find that it fascinates you more than you anticipated and it could entirely change your career path. I've seen it happen to several people!\

    Best Wishes

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