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Hey everyone,

I was wondering, what is a good criteria to go by for knowing if you have what it takes to make it into and through a CRNA program? I guess what I'm asking is, were the pre-reqs and nursing classes a breeze for a lot of you that have made it into a CRNA program, or was it challenging for you?

I don't know if I'm getting worn out from the constant kids work, and school schedule juggling act or not, but I'm starting to get some nagging doubts about whether or not I'm capable of pulling this off. Thanks a lot for any feedback ahead of time. B.T.H

Although I'm still a nursing student, I at times feel the same way as you do. I have a long way to go - am currently in my second year of ADN, than I need to finish the bachelors degree and so on. But I do feel like this program is tough. I'm doing well but it takes alot of dedication and time away from my little boy (1 yr old).

Sometimes I feel I'm too old, sometimes I feel I'm not intelligent enough because I'm not a straight 4.0 student, other times I feel like I want to spend time with my son and hubby and yet other times I just want to stop everything and sit in my comfy recliner........forever. :)

However, it's times like these that I visit this website and reestablish my goals and decide not to give up. I remember how much I love science and how intriguing chemistry is to me. I remember how well I did on my last test. And finally I look at my son and remember how much I want to give him the world. I want job security and to accomplish a goal that is extremely important to me.

Keep your head up and charge forward....

Most of my classmates breezed through their undergraduate nursing. Those that struggled had other commitments competing for their time (full-time work, young kids). My school places emphasis on GRE and GPA, which seems to help select students with the intellectual talent to succeed.

Anesthesia school is hard (for everyone) - emotionally, physically, intellectually. It also has peaks and valleys. If a person were not committed from the start, and willing to make sacrifices in his/her personal life (and there are many sacrifices), it might be a challenge to make it through the tough times. I think that's one reason why attrition rates are 10-20% in anesthesia programs.

In truth, much depends on attitude: this could be the most miserable two years of your life, or it could be a challenge that you tackle with a positive mindset.

I have seen students with all kinds of challenges - 4/5 kids, commuting for hours, working, living on no money whatsoever - perform well, just as there are students with every advantage who struggle.

My advice for everyone is that you wait a year or two if:

1. you are burned out from your BSN or other schooling

2. you want to start a family/are pregnant/have a newborn

3. you do not have the financial stability to go to school (these are the people that seem to struggle the most)

4. you must work and go to anesthesia school (work hard for a year, cut your expenses, save your money, and THEN go).

5. your emotional reserves are low (family issues, self-esteem, fatigue, whatever - when you get picked on in the OR, sometimes you just want to burst into tears and walk away. You need that emotional reserve to pick yourself up and do it all over the next morning at 0500)

Hope this helps. Good luck with your decision!

That was the first post that I have read that is very discouraging to me. Most undergrad classmates breeze through nursing? Wow.

To everyone, was undergrad nursing a breeze? And by this I mean, not much studying and A's all the time. That's my definition of "a breeze."

I think I'm intelligent however, A's are hard work. It takes time and dedication on my part. Am I a walking brainiac? No. I sincerely hope you're not telling me that this is what I must be to make it in NA school. Because I intend to be there, brainiac or not.

I'm in my second year ADN. The content itself is not difficult but the volume makes it challenging. I have good study habits but I intend to slow down while obtaining my BSN. I don't want to get completely burnt out. With that said, I agree with the remainder of the previous post.

At the school I'm attending the pre-req's were supposed to prepare us for the nursing classes. Way off, pre-req's were hard, I did great though (Deans list the whole way) now that I am in nursing classes I just hope to get the 3.0 required to continue, most of my classmates feel the same way. Don't get down on yourself though, I'm sure the majority of the students around you feel the same way.:eek:

Qwiigley, CRNA

Specializes in Nurse Anesthetist. Has 11 years experience.

Compared to Nurse anesthesia school, nursing school (BSN at a top 10 college) was pretty easy. (all As) Yes, a lot of content in a little amount of time, but nothing compared to NA school.

I am currenly a Sr in NA school, I have no $ problems, I have a supportive husband and no children and I still don't have enough time to get it all done. I pull As and Bs. I can only tell you about me and can not tell you how you will do. Just be sure that you are willing to give up many things.

I have to agree w/Qwiigley, nusing school was academically pretty easy. Now that doesn't mean i did'nt put a lot of time in studying, just that the stuff wasn't that hard to wrap your mind around. I was never a good memorizer so i worked hard when we had to memorize lists and such. Also being in the right places at the right time and not screwing up was sometimes a challenge. That all said I think that if the academics were challenging as an undergrad, I would have to think hard about whether i could handle NA school. (67 more days to go!!)

Nice work WntrMute.

I was 10 years younger when I di my ADN, but although I worked hard, it was still pretty easy compared to anesthesia school.

The 0500 five days a week is more than enough to kill you. School goes to 1500 or 1600 most days and then I'm home to study. My caffeine intact is dangerously high. (I need it to stay awake so I can study in the evenings.) Although I've been in clinical for four months or so, it's still quite stessful at times.

Anyway, a good bunch of fun nevertheless. I'm so glad I decided to do this.

Brenna's Dad - I've been in clinical for over 2 years and it is still stressful so don't expect much relief with the constant evals and all. One of the CRNAs at the mother ship says being tired is just a symptom of caffine deficency.

Well, it makes me feel a little better that someone actually had to study while in nursing school. I'm not at all kidding myself about the difficulties of NA school. I have no familial examples to follow when it comes to college and grad school so I must continually ask others to answer my questions.

I completely agree with having your "ducks in a row" before attending NA school.

Hi Everyone,

thanks for all the advice.

I guess I was feeling a little tired from dealing with 3 deadlines in the same time period, taking care of 2 kids by myself (wife got accepted to a nursing program out of the city) as well as taking 17 credit hours this semester. It's suprising how much harder school is when you don't have enough time to study properly(maybe a preview of the stress and doubts I'll face as an SRNA someday. he,he)

Iliket3, I can relate to a lot of the things you posted, especially the one about looking at your son and wanting the best for him. I hope you finish the goal you set for yourself of becoming a CRNA someday. Good luck to you and to everyone else as well. Thanks again for the words of encouragement and advice. B.T.H


I found the first two years of my undergraduate challenging as it was an ADN program and the "whole" issue of nursing with the supporting sciences was new to me. When I went back for my BSN it was a breeze in that I was familiar with many aspects of nursing, and most of it was simply busy work other than patho, and mental health. In NA school you will be covering some familiar apsects such as patho etc, but there is whole new area that you will be unfamiliar with. Not only must you become "well accquainted" with those areas, but you must score a grade B in order to progress to the next semester. A B- is a failing grade. Now this pertains to the schools in the Philadelphia area, I am not sure for the rest of the country. I study every day faithfully for 3-4 hrs regardless of the fact that I have completed most of the MSN credits at the university, and I am only doing didactic. I have to commend those students who take all of their courses over a two year period because I chose the three year route and spend most of my time studying. I cannot imagine having to write a thirty page research proposal at this time.

TAke it one step at a time. Try to see as a evolutionary process. Most of us were very busy during undergrad nursing school and had to study hard to do well. There are exceptions, but most had to put out plenty of effort, so focus on getting your ADN completed and then take the next step. Like London 88, I found my ADN program to much more intense than the RN/BSN program. Although, it was at the same medical center and in the same nursing school, which had a reputation of been one the hardest in my state. Now I am taking 16 hours of grad classes towards my MSN in anesthesia, although my my anesthesia classes start next semester. And I have been warned that it will be the hardest semester of the program, however, I am fousing on the classes in front of me for now. Just like you will need to do in order to be ready fro the opportunity to go to anesthesia school.

Now, I do agree with some of the other post, in regards to if a student is truly struggling with the undergrad. nursing material they may not be able to make the transition to the grad level. But I think most students with average intellect who are very motivated and hard working can get through crna school if they total commit themselves to their goal. ANd yes there are some very smart people in my program but I don't feel you have to be a genius to make it. Good luck with your journey.

A clarification:

My post was not - in any way - meant to be discouraging. That is not my intention!

I hope everyone who truly wants to be a CRNA has the drive, intellect, and opportunity to achieve this goal. I am working harder than I ever have, and it is difficult, but it is worth the effort. Anesthesia is fantastic.

Did I (and most of my classmates) find undergraduate nursing easy? Yes - and especially so when compared to anesthesia school.

Are their geniuses in my program? Yes, more than a few.

Will students with average intellect succeed in anesthesia school? Absolutely yes - if they are willing to work very hard and make school their priority.

One of the clinical faculty mentioned that talent in academics does not necessarily translate into being an excellent CRNA. Often, the best practicing CRNAs are the ones that really had to work at it in school. Don't you know some straight-A classmates that you wouldn't let touch you?!

Having said that, my comments still stand. Back to studying!

Athlein, thank you for your honest replies and assessment regarding my questions posted earlier.

I agree with yours and Anthony's assessment that you don't have to be a genius to do this. My take on this pursuit after some consideration is that in the end it is hard work that usually determines whether one makes it or not.

My belief on the question of intelligence and talent is that most people on the whole are average (with some minor differences). There are people more intelligent or more talented then the average on the whole, but everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Things have a way of evening out in the end because of the intangibles. Most of the time it comes down to hard work, determination, and discipline which dictate where we end up at the end.

There are very few people in this world that have everything in one package, in any field. These people are rare in comparison to everyone else. The rest of us fall in the gray area somewhere and have to work hard to move up.

I agree that a person has to be realistic about themselves and their capabilities, circumstances, energy, etc., when pursuing a goal. Doubt is a normal occurrence for us being humans, and the important thing is not that we have doubt, but how do we handle the challenge they represent. I realize that CRNA education is very difficult (to say the least) and will require everything an SRNA has in order to complete the program, no matter how smart they are.

When the time comes, I will be ready to dedicate completely, or elevate myself to whatever level is necessary to finishing this journey I have started. What I have gotten from the post of you upper level classmen and CRNAs, is that this type of dedication, sacrifice, and commitment is the only way to succeed in this journey. I'm committed and failure is not an option(doubt or not). Take care, B.T.H

I am going for my BSN now and never been a nurse before ( don't have a knowledge which can help) , so I have to say that the program I am in - is not an easy one. I am not a genious, I don't get staight "A"s, but I can study and after 2-3 days of studying when you get a "C" for patho-pharm - you pretty much dissapointed...

What I realized was that you have to adjust to the type of questions during your clinical program. Pre clinicals were easy, I have to agree, but when I started my clinicals 2 semesters ago I could hardly pull an "A" because the questions on the tests were not about what you MEMORIZED but what you UNDERSTOOD! I have to completely switch the way I study!

Anyway, sometimes I think I am not good enough for CRNA school(especially when I got a "C") and sometimes I think that I need to study more ( English is my second language)

I love to read this site!!! I really appreciate all the postings and the info each one of you guys sharing!


Don't get discouraged. Same here, English is my second language and I did it, working full time. The BSN wasn't difficult, just time consuming and a lot of busy work. I don't consider myself a genius eigher, but you know what,? I am very persistent with my goals. Focus, focus, focus. Overall, in my opinion it takes more that just intelligence to become a CRNA. From what I gather, discipline and persistence are two importants characteristics from people who suceed. I wasn't accepted the first time I applied to CRNA school, but I am not giving up. At the present time I am preparing myself for the GRE because this time I am applying to more than one school. The message is, it takes work and discipline to accomplish what we want, but is not impossible, even for us that aren't born knowing English. You can do it.

Thanks, NOPAIN! There are some days when I think I chose the wrong path... But just what you said, I have to be persistent.

And discipline myself not to think pessimisticly. By the way, where are you from? I am from Russia.

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