Applying to CRNA Programs?


So I've been a nurse for about 5mo now on a med/surg unit. It's an understaffed unit, and the hospital doesn't have an ICU step-down. Regardless, I've been handling 6-7 high-acuity patient assignments on a regular basis. Once I hit the 1 year mark, I'm hoping to transfer into either the CVICU or MICU. After I get a year or two of ICU experience, I want to apply to CRNA programs.

I just I'm sort of just wondering what my odds of getting accepted are, and if anyone has any advice for getting into CRNA school. Right after high school, I went into a BSN program. I graduated Cum Laude with a 3.53 GPA and my lowest grade was a B-. I ran division II cross country and track & field my first two years of college, and I was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau my junior year. Other than that I really wasn't involved in anything. I also was never really a "professor's favorite". Not that I caused trouble or anything, I was just quiet. I'm also not very good at interviews. For some people, being charismatic and "talking the talk" comes naturally, but for me it doesn't. I also graduated a semester late. Long story short, in my last semester of nursing school, every little thing that possibly could have went wrong...well, went wrong. My clinical instructor advised me to withdraw at my midterm evaluation, so I did. It was the only class I had to withdraw from, and I've never dropped/failed a class. The next semester I passed clinical with no issues whatsoever and got a B+ overall.

I still have a year at the very least before I would begin applying, but I feel like I should start preparing now. I got half-decent grades, but I feel like that's the only thing going in my favor. I'm so scared my lack of involvement, my lack of charisma, and my repeated class are going to blow my chances of getting in. Like I don't even know what I would say if they were to ask me why I withdrew from a class. It sounds like I doubt myself like crazy, but I know I can make it through CRNA school. I am willing put in the work and do whatever it takes, but I feel like people look at me and all they see is some introverted little girl who will never make it. Any advice would be much appreciated :/


859 Posts

Specializes in CRNA.

Introverted is fine, and your grades are fine. You are going to need to answer why you withdrew from the class. So really think about that, you have plenty of time to do that. The best answer is the truth-but it sounds like you are uncertain, so that's why you should really think about it. People look at you and don't think much of anything, but you have decided that you appear like a 'little girl who will never make it'. You need to change that story in your own mind. Then get a couple years of ICU experience, learn everything you can about your patients, and practice interviewing. You project confidence and you will be successful.

mindy kaling, BSN, RN

1 Article; 39 Posts

Specializes in ICU. Has 6 years experience.

I think you'll gain more confidence in yourself with more experience as a nurse and like the above poster said, be ready to answer truthfully why you withdrew. For now focus on being an awesome nurse, get into ICU when the time comes, gets certs like CCRN, TNCC etc and seek out opportunities to precept or charge and take your shot at applying...all the best


6 Posts

You have a good gpa so the class wont be an issue. You don't need charisma for the interview. Most schools I've applied to interview based on clinical questions, which you will either know or you won't. It seems in my opinion they aren't as interested in the personal questions, they want to see what you know about cardio/pulm, hemodynamics, vents, etc. My advice would be transfer to a busy ICU, preferably a CTICU or SICU where you will frequently have vents, invasive lines, titrate drips, multi-system dysfunction/failure. Make sure wherever you go, you are learning from your patients not just coasting through shifts. If you want to start preparing now study CCRN, its a must for CRNA school with how competitive the schools are. Get as many certifications as you can: ACLS, PALS, CCRN, TNCC, CRRT, NIHSS. Also try networking with the midlevels/physicians early so you have strong letters of recommendations, plus you can discuss patient cases with them to learn. Also it would be good to start shadowing sooner than later, find a board certified MD for tougher cases such as cardiothoracic surgery, you'll learn more there than the easier cases. Dont underestimate the GRE either, many schools wont even interview you if your GRE is below their minimum standard. Good luck!

Has 1 years experience.

Charisma has nothing to do with it, trust me. In interviews they don't choose you based on your superficial personality or outward appearance. They ask questions to dig deep and get to know you as a person. This is how they figure out if you have what it takes and are a right fit for the program. I am the least charismatic person you could imagine. I'm shy and tend to lack confidence in myself but I showed them how passionate I was and how much I truly wanted this. You can do the same! No matter what personality traits you hold.

Specializes in CVICU.

Since you can't transfer just quite yet I would start studying for my GRE. Math may come a little easier to you since you sound like you are fresh out of school. You have time to take it multiple times and scores last up to five years.


89 Posts

Go ahead and get your GRE out of the way if you've got time on your hands and start knocking out other requirements. You'll need at least a year of ICU experience as you know but the important thing is getting into the ICU and actually learning to be a critical care nurse. You may never be 100% comfortable with what you are doing, but you need to be confident in what you do. So, take care of the little things along the way and it'll be easier come application times. Again, the most important thing you can do is become a great ICU nurse and then move forward with your career.


240 Posts

Specializes in ICU. Has 2 years experience.

Why did your instructor ask you to withdraw? As others have stated, you will more than likely have them question this in an interview. Honesty is always best in my opinion. How are you managing your patient load overall now? Do you feel confident in your skills, time management, drug calculations? Are you able to converse with the patients well? I think it's important to be able to communicate to patients quickly and effectively, especially in anesthesia world where you have ~5 minutes to gain a patient's trust before rolling back to the OR.

If the rest of your application looks great (do the GRE, CCRN), I think you'll be okay.

Thanks for the advice everyone! As far as to why I withdrew...I went into a BSN program straight out of high school. I had no prior experience working in a nursing home, working as a NA/PCT, and I did not seek out an internship/externship. Going to clinical two days a week for a few weeks every semester just wasn't giving me enough practice to feel comfortable in my clinical environment. I was able to get by until my very last clinical rotation, but then my lack of experience finally showed. There was no major "incident" or anything, I just wasn't comfortable in the clinical environment and I wasn't ready to graduate. At my midterm clinical evaluation, my instructor advised me to withdraw. After I withdrew, I got a job as a NA in a step-down ICU and worked full-time that summer. (I was the person everyone would ask to cover their shifts- I was starving for experience so everyone knew I'd never turn down hours!) At the end of the summer before the semester started, I met with the skills lab director and spent two days going practicing every skill and asking every question I could possibly think of. Then before clinical started, I met with my new clinical instructor to discuss my concerns about the upcoming clinical rotation, and to get 1-on-1 instruction so I could better understand what was expected from the paperwork. I passed the clinical rotation with no issues. Repeating this class was one of the most terrifying and heartbreaking things I've ever dealt with, but I did everything I could to turn it into an experience I could learn from. Unfortunately the blemish will always be on my transcript :/