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Applying to CRNA School After Repeating a Class in Undergrad- Advice Needed!

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Hello! I would eventually like to apply to CRNA school. I need advice regarding the interview. I graduated with a 3.53, got mostly A’s in my core science classes, and was in Sigma Theta Tau. My last semester, I was struggling in clinical and I had to withdraw from the class. I worked as a nursing assistant over the Summer to get more exposure to the clinical environment and met with the simulation lab instructor to review skills prior to the start of the fall semester. The next term I passed without issue.

I’m just concerned they’re going to ask me why I withdrew when I interview for CRNA programs. That semester was my most rigorous clinical rotation, and I was dealing with some mental health issues at the time that made it difficult to focus on my studies. I just don’t know how to tactfully explain that in an interview because mental health is such a taboo subject. I feel like when people say they repeated a semester because they were distracted by a divorce, death of a loved one, physical illness, etc. that stuff is 100% understandable. But I feel like if I mention a psych history that’s going to be an immediate red flag to them. I’ve thought about telling them I was struggling with personal problems or health problems at that time, but I’m afraid they would ask me to elaborate and I’d end up digging myself even deeper.

Disclaimer- I understand that there are people who believe I have no business applying to an intense graduate program like anesthesia because I’ve struggled with my mental health in the past. However, I do not think that the anxiety/depression I struggled with when I was 18-21yo should define me for the rest of my life, nor should it keep me from pursuing my dream career. That being said, please be kind and only comment relevant advice. TIA!

Edited by mph53953

hi. im currently applying for crna school too. and the process itself is tedious. I will be very honest with you. other people might tell you do not apply due to rigors of the program but if this is what you really wanted to do, do not let it affect you.

regarding your question, I would not bring it up unless you were ask to do so OR bring it up if you know you can use it as an advantage.

if I were in your position and they ask me about it during the interview, I would be honest and tell them

“mental health is an important factor especially for anesthesia program that is why this time around I made sure I am emotionally and mentally prepared for this program by making sure I don't have any personal problems that might affect me such as in my family, friends or with my significant other. I learned also from my previous experience and taught myself positive coping mechanisms such as (insert what you like to do to destress ex reaching out to friends or hiking). in addition, having that experience just made me a stronger person because next time a stressful situation arises during the program, I would be able to handle it far better than before.”

good luck to your application!

1 hour ago, lionsimba said:

hi. im currently applying for crna school too. and the process itself is tedious. I will be very honest with you. other people might tell you do not apply due to rigors of the program but if this is what you really wanted to do, do not let it affect you.

regarding your question, I would not bring it up unless you were ask to do so OR bring it up if you know you can use it as an advantage.

if I were in your position and they ask me about it during the interview, I would be honest and tell them

“mental health is an important factor especially for anesthesia program that is why this time around I made sure I am emotionally and mentally prepared for this program by making sure I don't have any personal problems that might affect me such as in my family, friends or with my significant other. I learned also from my previous experience and taught myself positive coping mechanisms such as (insert what you like to do to destress ex reaching out to friends or hiking). in addition, having that experience just made me a stronger person because next time a stressful situation arises during the program, I would be able to handle it far better than before.”

good luck to your application!

Hi lionsimba, thank you for your advice. I will admit, the majority of my problems stemmed from poor coping mechanisms. Unfortunately, I was immature and not in the greatest place when I was in school. I had to learn that self-care is non-negotiable, and I also learned to cope with high stress situations in the clinical environment. I’ve grown and changed a lot since I was in school, and I honestly think I’m a stronger person and better nurse because of my past experiences. Because of this I still want to pursue CRNA school. Thank you for your input!

subee, MSN, CRNA

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired. Has 49 years experience.

Many people in anesthesia have mental health issues - as witnessed by our high rates of addiction to drugs as well as plain old adrenaline (which IMHO) is a lot more prevalent. Sounds like you have learned some coping mechanisms and will be fine.

Defibn', RN, EMT-P

Specializes in SRNA. Has 7 years experience.

You will find that many programs will be understanding of that. Use this to your advantage. Show that you have developed healthy coping mechanisms. Reflect how you learned more about yourself through the process. Showing that you are willing to address stressful situations and work through them via healthy means is a great way to impress the ADCOMs. Substance abuse is big problem in anesthesia and healthcare in general. If you have healthy coping mechanisms, you will be that more resistant to it. Anesthesia school is very burdensome and stressful. If you have been in that type of situation before and have already developed the coping skills to work through tough situations, I think you are ahead of the game. I have noticed a different attitude toward mental health in anesthesia school. All of the faculty has focused on self care, healthy outlets, hobbies, time with family, even counseling, etc. I would bring it up and highlight how you have grown.