How to Get Involved with the CRNA Community

Show How Serious You Are About Your Career Path

Getting involved in the CRNA community is crucial; not only will it ensure you have connections to others who can mentor you in your journey to CRNA, but it will show your desired program(s) that you thoroughly understand the career you're stepping into, and have a true passion to become a CRNA.


Show How Serious You Are About Your Career Path

You may be wondering how to get involved in the CRNA community. Below are ways to show your desired schools how committed you are to pursuing the CRNA career path!


This should be sought out early and frequently. Aim for 1 or 2 times while you are exploring the career path and then ideally shadow two to three more times in the year leading up to your application. The best way to gain shadowing is to contact your local hospital anesthesia department directly. You may need to call around town. Try dental clinics, endoscopy clinics, fertility clinics, Ophthalmology clinics, Ketamine clinics, pain clinics, surgery centers, and all other hospitals in your area. Be persistent and be okay with being told no. Remember, no does not mean never!


Conferences are a great way to learn and a great way to network. What conferences should you consider going to?

Here are the best available options:

Open House Conference

The most affordable (free) and accessible is an open house conference. Most schools will host at least one, if not several open houses throughout the year. Be sure to follow their website, social media, and any potential email subscription options, so you don't miss out on a scheduled event! Many programs are now also hosting virtual open houses, great for those who are looking to go to programs out of state!

A lot of times, schools lump all graduate programs into one conference, but you will still get a chance to be separated out into your subspecialty of nurse anesthesia and get face time with current students and the program director. 

FACT: This is a must-do if you are looking for a way to network and learn more about how to be a successful candidate and student!

It will play out in your favor to get face time with the program director prior to your interview, and often it allows you to connect with current students. Connecting with current students can also allow you to learn more about the application and interview process, as well as learn about the details of the program to ensure it's a good fit for you, too. 

CRNA School Prep Academy Conference (CSPA)

CSPA is planning its 3rd conference for Summer 2023! The CSPA conference is a two-day event featuring program faculty guest speakers from around the country covering a variety of topics to prepare you for CRNA school. We cover different facets of the path to CRNA, including application and interview help, clinical and emotional intelligence review, and more. Perhaps more importantly, we feature a number of different programs that host open house sessions and networking sessions. You can meet with a variety of programs, connect with current program faculty and directors, as well as network with current students and others on the path to CRNA with you! Networking plays a vital role in both the short-term and long-term success and career satisfaction of a CRNA, so this conference is great to attend, no matter where you are in your journey to becoming a CRNA! 

CRNA State Associations

I encourage you to reach out to your local state association to inquire about attending one of their offerings. Most hold a Spring and a fall meeting. They usually keep the fees low for RNs and possibly even allow you to attend for free if you find a CRNA sponsor. Note that not all states will allow this however, it is absolutely worth looking into. 


As previously stated, contact someone listed on their website to see if you can attend a meeting. You can also see if you can gain sponsorship with a CRNA that attends with you. Please note that it is usually around $700 to attend a National AANA meeting. If you build a relationship by shadowing frequently and they already plan to attend they might be willing to pay for your ticket. You could also offer to reimburse them.

The CRNA world is a small but mighty one. Networking while you're working on your application can only help you in the process of gaining acceptance and ultimately landing your dream job as a CRNA. Additionally, most programs will inquire during the application and interview process about how you plan to give back to the profession; by being involved in local, state, or national organizations, you give yourself an advantage AND help future generations of CRNAs! 

(Trusted Brand)

Jenny Finnell is a practicing CRNA & the founder of CRNA School Prep Academy. Lack of guidance, misinformation, overwhelm, frustration, fear, and burnout are all too common among CRNA hopefuls. Over the past 3 years, I have been fortunate enough to combine my passion and expertise for anesthesia and my love of helping students into a comprehensive, ongoing & supportive mentoring program.

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