Previous Degree Advantages/Disadvantages for CRNA programs

  1. Hello everyone,

    My brief background...I graduated in 2010 with a Bachelors in Biology (3.8 GPA), so I took 2 General Chem courses, 2 organic courses, 2 physics courses, biochem, histology, and other random upper level science courses. I am currently in a BSN program and graduate May 2014 with a realistic nursing school GPA estimation of 3.2 to 3.4. I understand the 1+ years of critical care experience and blah blah blah... my questions are...

    Do CRNA programs consider my previous degree very helpful? Mainly as a sign of understanding harder science courses and having a solid foundation?

    Is my low nursing GPA going to hurt me as much as I worry?

    I really enjoy and grasp detailed/difficult science courses, some of these nursing courses are frustrating to me in regards to not providing enough information and answering "why?". I like to understand things from the cellular level all the way up to how they effect the individual. Do CRNA programs provide my indepth curiosity?

    If any current CRNA students or recent graduates have had my previous degree(s) and/or similar frustrations in nursing school who would like to provide me some wisdom I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks in advance
  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   Boog179
    Your biology degree will definitely be an advantage in the application process. I can't speak from experience as I don't start CRNA school until August, but I know a few people who hold a degree in either biology or chemistry and applied, and all were told that it was a mark in their favor.

    I felt the same as you in regards to much of the science content in the BSN program that I attended. While I learned much, it could be rather disjointed, and I felt that many of the professors didn't have a very deep understanding of the content. Advanced practice curricula is obviously much more focused on a specific area, and CRNA programs in particular stress chemistry, microbiology, and advanced pathophysiology.

    The general consensus among people that I talk to, both CRNA's and students, is that most programs love applicants who have extra coursework in chemistry as well as biology. While I have neither, I was told that my experience working as a certified pharmacy tech was a plus. Obviously there are many other factors that influence admittance, such as GPA, ICU experience, GRE scores, and the interview itself. Ultimately your strength and background as an ICU nurse will be the strongest criterion for admittance.

    Your nursing GPA should be fine, especially along with your solid overall GPA. Most programs weigh an applicants GPA several different ways, such as overall GPA, science GPA, nursing school GPA, and the last 60 hours GPA. If you're deficient in one area, you can always compensate in another, such as making a high score on the GRE, obtaining other certs such as the CCRN ( which is mandatory for many schools), taking on leadership or research roles in the ICU, or taking a few extra classes to bump up your GPA in the last 60 hours category.

    I hope this helps, and good luck!
  4. by   Scooby-Dooby-Doo
    I think it will help by having a strong science background.
    Just my 2 cents from my experience with science and nursing classes, nursing classes are more theory-based and do not always follow "laws" as what many science classes do have, that's why there are lots of leeway for exceptions from the "whys." But this is just me and from what I've experienced. You'll not always get the answer you expect to get in nursing classes as you would with science classes.

    Good luck
  5. by   lovescoffee
    Hi, as someone who just passed my CRNA boards YESTERDAY (woohoo!) I definitely think that your prior degree will be helpful when applying to CRNA school. I too had 2 Bach. degrees (Accelerated BSN & Psych/Sociology) and my overall GPA was around 3.4. Additionally, I had 1 yr ER & 1 yr Trauma 1 ICU exp. and my CCRN when applying to CRNA school. I found it very difficult to adapt to nursing-type exam questions but I have to say it's in your best interest to adapt as quickly as possible because if you go to CRNA school that question "type" won't stop During school I'd say about 50% of the exams were that "type", but boards were TOTALLY that "type"! Obviously, the questions were on a more in-depth level, but still not the cut & dry you like.

    As hard as I found it to be, your sound smart and committed, and I think if you want it enough you'll do GREAT!

    GOOD LUCK!!!
  6. by   marco346
    Congratulations lovecoffee!!!!! It must be so exciting for you.