What Helped me Get Into CRNA School
I’m going to reference 2 books that helped me prepare a lot for my nurse anesthesia interviews and helped me get into CRNA school: Quick Reference to Critical Care Nursing and CRNA School Interview: Bonus Pack. I studied these two books for a few months and made flash cards of commonly used drugs and broke them down to the cellular level and what receptors they work on etc. I worked in a medical ICU so brushing up on swans-ganz catheters and cardiac output numbers was a necessity as well.
Tips on Interviewing for CRNA School
I interviewed at two top CRNA schools, so I’ll tell you guys about both because the interview process was completely different. My first interview was at the CRNA school I was accepted to and ended up attending. The excitement of shopping for a new suit and passing the CCRN and studying for my interviews still did not prepare me for how nerve-racking the actual nurse anesthesia interview would be. I had four weeks to study from the time I received my interview letter to my interview date. I felt prepared until I walked through the door and all my confidence went out the window. My best advice is hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! You are going to be so nervous you’ll get cotton- mouth and your tongue will stick to the roof of your mouth. Not even kidding. Haha!
At the beginning of the day we started in a big room with current students telling us about the program and attempting to calm our nerves. My first thought was “Oh my gosh! These people hold my future in their hands,” followed by “if I don’t get in this is just a practice interview and it will be ok.”
One of my Top 5 Tips to Get Into CRNA School
After waiting for two hours my turn had finally arrived. The clinical coordinator walked me to the interview room which is set up like a board room. When I am nervous I tend to say stupid things. The first thing I say is “Wow! I feel like I’m in a board meeting, “ and immediately think “why in the world did I say that out loud?” They laughed, I’ve learned it’s good to make them laugh. This probably one of my top 5 tips to get into CRNA school… make them laugh. However don’t tell the horrible joke my friend did about potassium. “Do you want to hear my joke about potassium?” “K.” He didn’t get in… oops! The interview committee consists of several CRNA’s, the director of the program, the head Anesthesiologist, a senior student, and the clinical coordinator. I’m feeling parched. I take a deep breath. I can do this. One CRNA comments on my recent CCRN achievement. This interview is focused on how well you handle stress. I’m asked questions related to sepsis since I work in a medical ICU. They went back and forth from clinical questions to why I wanted to be a CRNA then back to what drug would I use? Why did I get my CCRN? How do I handle stress? They continued to ask questions as far down to the cellular level I was willing to go until I had to say I don’t know. I think I answered a few questions wrong. It is better to say that you don’t know the answer than to try to bs a wrong answer.
When I left, I thought it seemed too easy. The questions weren’t terribly difficult. I thought it was because I worked in a medical ICU and they wrote me off because in the past they had been known to not accept medical ICU nurses. A week later I found out I got in on my 30th birthday. Happy day.
My 2nd CRNA School Interview
The second schools interview had multiple stations. The first station was with the President of the school. I was asked how I’ve handled confrontational coworkers. Honestly, I’ve always gotten along with everyone, so that is what I replied with. Then I couldn’t think of a good answer. The second station consisted of drawing a scenario and having five minutes to prepare an answer. I’m just going to say I completely bombed this interview. This was the CRNA school I wanted to get into so bad. I read way too much into the scenario and instead of thinking of an overdosed patient, I was thinking of a chronic disease process. I was asked about Narcan. I’d never given it so I had no idea on the dose. I was asked if I had taken any graduate level classes to help get into CRNA school. I had put in my letter I had planned to, but ended up not taking any. Long story short, I had my hopes up so bad for this one nurse anesthesia school I shrugged off being my best because the school I got into is actually harder to get into than my first choice, so I thought if I can get in there, I’m a safe bet for the other school. It all worked out for the best and it isn’t going to matter what school you went to and I am coming out way ahead in the financial debt department.
I was extremely lucky to get into CRNA school on my first go around. If you don’t get in, I encourage you to talk to the program director on what you can do to improve your chances the next year. Keep your head up. If this is what you want don’t give up. It’s a tough road but worth the sacrifice.
A. Tanner RRNA
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Get Into CRNA School This Year
If you enjoyed this student blog and are interested in how to become a nurse anesthetist please feel free to check out our CRNA School Admissions: The Cold Hard Facts. We have put together a resource that helps the CRNA school applicant through the entire application process. You will be shown what CRNA schools are looking for, and how to get accepted into a top nurse anesthesia program. If you have any questions please contact us.