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CRNA School Dismissal for B-

SRNA   (3,943 Views | 29 Replies)
by CriticalRN CriticalRN (New) New Nurse

421 Profile Views; 9 Posts

I have spent the past several years preparing myself for CRNA school. I was super excited when I was finally accepted and I spent a big chunk of change on tuition and relocation.

However, during the first semester, I had a bad test early that was worth a huge part of our grade (I did better moving forward after tweaking my study habits), but it was not enough to pull my grade up above the required 83%. I received a B- in the course, which ultimately led to my dismissal from the program. My overall GPA for the semester was 3.8. I had 4 A's and the B-. Apparently, this is failing in CRNA school. Has anyone else ever heard of this? I've done some research and found that many schools offer academic probation for one semester or do not have as strict of a grading policy.

I feel defeated and I'm not sure where to go from here. I did seek help early on but was only given study advice. Tutoring was not offered and it seemed that seeking help was frowned upon. I've never struggled academically before. I'm not a genius, but hard work and studying have always paid off for me. Until now.

I wonder if I should bother applying to another CRNA program? I know my odds are decreased now. Or just stay a nurse. (FNP has never appealed to me personally) I wish I had waited and gone to a different program, because this seems ridiculous. I'm back at the bedside now and I just want something more and can't think of any other progression within nursing that I would rather have than being a CRNA.

Any advice or insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

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TPN1986 has 8 years experience as a RN and specializes in SRNA CEN CCRN-CMC.

87 Posts; 1,232 Profile Views

I'm assuming you reached out to the program directors already and discussed remediation?

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3 hours ago, TPN1986 said:

I'm assuming you reached out to the program directors already and discussed remediation?

Yes, I did that. I tried everything to pull my grade back up. There was no remediation offered. They even made it difficult to go back and review the questions I got wrong for that one test. Every test grade was rounded down throughout the course. So 82.9% was 82%. I was basically told it was a lockstep program and there was nothing I could do if I didn't hit the 83% by the end of the semester.

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bfreezy has 6 years experience as a CRNA and specializes in Anesthesia.

25 Posts; 715 Profile Views

I'm a CRNA that just graduated this past december and I feel terrible for you. That was one of my biggest fears throughout CRNA school and our cut off grade was 86%...so as you can tell, the stress level was at an all time high all the time.

The chances of you getting accepted to another CRNA is very low. Maybe a few schools will take a look at you and I would reach out to a program director prior to applying and maybe have your old director vouch for you if that new program request it. We lost a few classmates in my program because they didn't make that cut off and they were dismissed

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14 minutes ago, bfreezy said:

I'm a CRNA that just graduated this past december and I feel terrible for you. That was one of my biggest fears throughout CRNA school and our cut off grade was 86%...so as you can tell, the stress level was at an all time high all the time.

The chances of you getting accepted to another CRNA is very low. Maybe a few schools will take a look at you and I would reach out to a program director prior to applying and maybe have your old director vouch for you if that new program request it. We lost a few classmates in my program because they didn't make that cut off and they were dismissed

Thank you for your response and congratulations on becoming a CRNA.

WOW!, 86% is a tough cut off. I think it is interesting that the grading policies differ so much between schools. I reached out to 20 of the top programs to compare grading policies and WOW!, there were MAJOR differences in their responses.

I understand the purpose of the rigor, but also find it interesting because even medical students are not held to this high of a standard. Learning is a process. Stakes are high in anesthesia school with these grading policies, zero forgiveness, and the amount of looming debt accumulated. I don't think that the cut throat approach is the most conducive to learning, but maybe culturally that is the way anesthesia school is.

I wish there was more transparency about this topic. I would have taken this into consideration when deciding which school I went to.

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Are these cutoff scores published on there websites. That sounds completely insane that they would not work with you? What school did you go?

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2 hours ago, Sciencedude1 said:

Are these cutoff scores published on there websites. That sounds completely insane that they would not work with you? What school did you go?

Generally no. They are in the program handbook, which is given to you at orientation. For me, that was already after quitting my amazing job at a top hospital, moving, signing a lease, paying a deposit/tuition...

At that point, you're already in.

No, they would not work with me. I was not the only student this happened to either. Sorry, I'm not disclosing the name of the school.

After this whole thing happened though, I reached out to/looked up almost 20 of the top programs and asked about their grading policies. Some of the program coordinators were really rude, which surprised me (Maybe a red flag for those programs). Some said they regularly dismiss students for this reason. Hurray? Some program coordinators were really amazing and helpful/more transparent (schools I should have been applying to). In hindsight, I would have done this before applying to schools, but I did not even know it was a thing I needed to be concerned with.

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loveanesthesia specializes in CRNA.

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You have identified a real issue. Programs are under a lot of pressure to publish high first attempt board pass rates, and there are different ways to achieve that. Some that aren’t helpful to students.

You contacted ‘top 20’ programs. What caused you to name a program a ‘top 20’?

Several related issues:

The student handbooks should be available to applicants and applicants should review them.

Another policy becoming more common recently-not allowing students to graduate based on a SEE score. The SEE is a national exam for nurse anesthesia students. Some programs are not letting students graduate unless they score a 425(national average). Most people who score less than 425 will pass boards. So students may complete the whole program and not be allowed to attempt boards. That’s worse than being dismissed in the second semester. Look for this type of policy when selecting programs.

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226 Posts; 5,981 Profile Views

Well there is an academic policy from the University that the program has to follow. If they did, there is nothing that you can do about it. If they did not, contact the COA and get them involved. I suspect they did things correctly, but it may be worth checking. But bottom line is they MUST follow university policy.

I would hope that every potential student reads this thread and thinks about it. Everyone is always saying "go for it" or "what have you got to lose" or "I really, really wanted it." But this is serious and in general one needs to know that they can keep up to the academic rigor of their program.

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myoglobin has 12 years experience as a ASN, BSN, MSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

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I don't see why you couldn't apply to a different program and just neglect to mention on the application your experience at this institution. True, you would lose all of the other credit from the other courses, but you also wouldn't be hindered by the dismissal. You would be starting "de novo". Alternatively, you could apply into a different NP specialty. In my ICU I knew two separate individuals who were "ejected" from CRNA school sadly during various stages of clinical and in one case they had acquired over 80K in student loan debt (from the program) by the time they were dismissed. To me were I going the CRNA school route I would vastly prefer a program that had a higher pass rate (in school) but lower pass rate on the boards. Given that you can always "test again" for the boards, but failing in school presents a greater challenge (I feel the same with RN programs) and indeed with MD programs (hence I might take a program say on Grenada with a high pass rate but lower USMLE pass rate than one say in New York with the opposite results)

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48 minutes ago, loveanesthesia said:

You have identified a real issue. Programs are under a lot of pressure to publish high first attempt board pass rates, and there are different ways to achieve that. Some that aren’t helpful to students.

You contacted ‘top 20’ programs. What caused you to name a program a ‘top 20’?

Several related issues:

The student handbooks should be available to applicants and applicants should review them.

Another policy becoming more common recently-not allowing students to graduate based on a SEE score. The SEE is a national exam for nurse anesthesia students. Some programs are not letting students graduate unless they score a 425(national average). Most people who score less than 425 will pass boards. So students may complete the whole program and not be allowed to attempt boards. That’s worse than being dismissed in the second semester. Look for this type of policy when selecting programs.

I used US News and World Report to look for top programs. However, knowing what I know now I would not have given this list much consideration. I would choose a school that is invested in helping students succeed. At the end of the day, when you finish school/pass boards it doesn't matter if you graduated from the #1 school or #50, as long as you pass.

What you are saying about the SEE Exam preventing people from progressing is awful. I guess I'm at least grateful to have failed out after one semester. I have heard of people making it almost to the end with $200,000 in debt looming over their heads and not finishing. That would be devastating. Hopefully, this post can help other prospective students to know what to be aware of.

Edited by CriticalRN
typo

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44 minutes ago, BigPappaCRNA said:

Well there is an academic policy from the University that the program has to follow. If they did, there is nothing that you can do about it. If they did not, contact the COA and get them involved. I suspect they did things correctly, but it may be worth checking. But bottom line is they MUST follow university policy.

I would hope that every potential student reads this thread and thinks about it. Everyone is always saying "go for it" or "what have you got to lose" or "I really, really wanted it." But this is serious and in general one needs to know that they can keep up to the academic rigor of their program.

I agree. The policy is there for a reason and I'm not asking for a free hand out. However, this policy should have been more transparent. It's actually a new policy for this program. Historically, students were allowed to get two C's during the course of the program. Some schools still do this or offer academic probation for one semester. Getting a B- in one class due to a bad test is not a great reflection of a student's capabilities. It hurts the student and the school's attrition rate. No one wins.

You make a fantastic point about this whole, "just go for it" movement. I cringe a bit now seeing these, how to get into CRNA school with a low GPA or people who had to take the CCRN multiple times but kept trying and stuck with it. That is great and all, but just beware that CRNA school has Chemistry and physics. A lot of straight memorization. Be ready for what you are getting into. It is doable. I don't regret trying. I just regret not going to a school that was more invested in the students than the #s. Give yourself the best possible chance by doing your research.

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