CRNA harder than RN school?


Is it harder? if so how?

bread angel

Specializes in Anesthesia. 58 Posts

Think advanced chemistry, physics, math, physiology, cellular pharmacology. A good friend teaches at both undergrad nursing students and CRNA students and says they are light years apart. Also, in anesthesia, you are rarely given another chance to make the grade, get good grades or you are out. You can do it, unless you are looking for shortcuts. I want my anesthetist to be as well educated as possible.


Specializes in critcal care, CRNA. Has 4 years experience. 610 Posts

Is it harder? if so how?

I am not trying to be rude, but seriously? I start class Tuesday and do not have actual experience in the classroom yet but telling from the interview process, I would imagine that it is ridiculous compared to any of my nursing classes.


Specializes in STICU; cross-trained in CCU, MICU, CVICU. Has 6 years experience. 78 Posts

I am not trying to be rude, but seriously? I start class Tuesday and do not have actual experience in the classroom yet but telling from the interview process, I would imagine that it is ridiculous compared to any of my nursing classes.

hahahhaha...well said and so unbelievably true

bread angel

Specializes in Anesthesia. 58 Posts

When I took my anesthesia schooling, the classes were held with the medical students and we were graded the same as they were. It was difficult because they had much more difficult undergrad science classes than we did. That is why I always recommend that if you think your nursing program was weak in biochemistry and math, to take some remedial work before even considering anesthesia.


3 Posts

I just graduated in December. It will be the hardest thing you will ever do. I can promise if you ask anyone in my class if they would do it again, they would say not only no but heck no. There is just an unbelievable amount of stress. When people told me they studied, 8 hours a day I thought "they must be an idiot". Then during didactic I would find myself in the same chair for 8-10 hours and I thought, who's the idiot now.

The two don't even compare. It's like comparing grade school to high school. It's not the content that is hard, it is the volume of information you must keep up with. I can finally say, it was worth it BUT again I can promise I would never do it again.

CRNA 2012

11 Posts

I agree with the above posts. We always joke around in class that we didnt learn anything in nursing school. The topics are advanced and you really have to correlate them to your practice. We too have classes with med students but you realize after a while when you are getting the same good grades or better that you too could have went to med school and done just as well as any of them. Dr's are not in a league all their own. SOME CRNAs are just as knowledgable.


29 Posts

Every CRNA I have talked to said it was hardest thing they ever did. They also love their job. So if can make it all is good. Also been told to tell your family good bye for the length of the program because you will spend all your time with a book or notes .

I am scared, excited, nervous, happy a whole mix of emotions as the school is about to begin in a few months for me


255 Posts

It is much harder than nursing school. The time committment and more science is involved. It has to be done full time, no part time education available. Have to show up for clinical which is like a job in itself, and then you have all the classes and studying after that. Each program is a little differenet. Some let you out of clinical for classes, mine you went to classes after the clinical. finished up at 8 at night three days out of the week. Around three the others. Had to study and pre-op patients the night before if they were inpatient. Basically it is hard because of the massive amount of time and energy it will take up. It is definitely well worth it though. Just to clarify, when most crna's are asked if they would do it again- when they say no they don't mean they would not choose to be crnas. Just that it was so hard that they wouldnt want to re-live the experience. It is a great profession and well worth the effort. As long as your family is supportive you can make it.

Most RN's have a very poor understanding of basic sciences, they don't have to take the organic and biochem classes. And at many classes you take the same courses as physicians, dentists, optometrists, etc. Gross anataomy and patho classes I took were the same ones med students took. The anesthesia program I went to had twice the amount of semester hours required than the NP track. And we had way more pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, patho courses. I am a NP also, I would say it is much harder to do a crna program over a full time ACNP program. And none of the classes taken as a NP can transfer for any of the crna classes (depending on the school you go to a few may actually, but just the general courses). I hava MNA and has no relation to a school of nursing, so luckily had no nursing theory.

I got accepted into anesthesia school while I was taking organic chemistry, I dropped it as soon as I got my acceptance letter so I could take a short vacation before starting. Also, for people checking into programs to apply to--not all schools are equal when it comes to how much of the sciences they want to teach you. There are programs where you need very little organic chem or biochem. Though it still looks really good on your application.

Good Luck.


79 Posts

Just so there is no confusion...

Anyone who gets accepted into CRNA, if they did not make a 4.0 in their BSN program, probably could have easily made a 4.0 if they had only spent five hours per week more than what they did when they were in undergrad. Most make their 3.5s-3.7s by going to most classes, studying hard for a few hours the night before tests, and generally focusing more on school than other aspects of life. Sure there is the occasional hooky day and mind-blowing all nighters, the occasional three or four day vacation etc., but generally, they focused 60-65% of their time on doing well in their BSN program.

CRNA school: 90-100% of your time focused on school. You will spend twice as many hours as you did the night before a BSN class test...EVERY DAY for EVERY CLASS. When you take a "OMG my head is spinning" break from studying, you will feel guilty that you are not using that time to study. Forget the occasional hooky day...just be there hell or high water. The material is the same as you've studied before, but what you've studied before is just the very surface of what you are about to dive very, very deep into. While it is much, much more difficult material than BSN material, it is very do-able. It is just that it is very difficult material piled on you at a rate that you just can not comprehend until you experience it. I studied for 16 hours a day during the didactic portion of my program. I'd study until I couldn't go any more and then I'd sleep for four hours. If this meant I was sleeping from noon till 4am, so be it. While I could have probably got by with less, I never wanted to get behind, because I do not see how you could do well if you ever fell behind. Truly, truly understand that you kiss your family and friends goodbye.

It is worth it, but BSN vs CRNA difficulty is like coloring a map of the world vs knowing the capitol of every state/province/territory of every country in the world along with their population breakdown, currency, religions, bodies of water, soil structure, transportation systems, languages, history, political structure, climate, environmental laws etc...


Specializes in CRNA. 69 Posts

CRNA school is making me realize just how much I didn't know when I was an ICU not only learn the necessary skills, but WHY you are doing what you are doing (that's the big thing...when in clinical, you will be asked not only to perform the necessary duties, but why you are doing them and how the outcome affects the patient) accelerated BSN program was much much easier and much less of a time commitment than my CRNA program--I am now tired all the time, stay up late making care plans, and practically live at the hospital (I am going there now, on a Saturday morning for our mandatory journal club....but it will all be worth it in the end---I am halfway done!!!!)

I wish more people read this. A lot of people just want to be CRNA's for the money but don't realize how difficult it actually is. I know a lot of people who want to be CRNA's but have the c=rn mentality and say nursing school is the hardest thing in the world. I have huge respect for the CRNA's they are so incredibly smart and others just underestimate everything they have had to do.