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FAQ - CRNA Program

1. How does the admission process for the Nurse Anesthesia Program work?
The Nurse Anesthesia Program admits one class each year that begins in the Fall Term. The application deadline each year is September 15th for submitting a completed application and all supporting documentation. All completed applicant files are reviewed by the Program Director and Assistant Director for eligibility to receive an interview with the Admissions Committee. Applicants not invited for an interview receive written notification. Interviews are scheduled over a two-day period in October. Applicants selected to interview are contacted by telephone to schedule an appointment. At the conclusion of all interviews, the committee rank orders all applicants to select those applicants who will be offered a position in the next class the following Fall. Alternate candidates are also selected to receive any spot not accepted. Written notification regarding acceptance status is sent to all candidates by November. 

2. Your information states that prerequisite course work must be completed prior to the September 15 deadline. If I do not have one of the prerequisite courses completed by this deadline, does that completely rule me out for the upcoming class or can something be worked out to have it completed by the time I may be accepted or prior to starting the program?
It is highly recommended that candidates begin the application process well in advance of the September 15th deadline to assure that all admission requirements are met by the deadline. The Nurse Anesthesia Program is extremely competitive due to admission to the program one time per year and the small number of candidates accepted to each class. Preferably, all required prerequisite coursework should be completed by the September 15th application deadline. However, an applicant will be allowed to complete an outstanding prerequisite course during the Fall immediately following the application deadline (e.g., September 15 application deadline; completion of an outstanding prerequisite course by the end of Fall) and may be considered for an interview. If an interview is offered and the applicant is selected as a candidate for the class, it will be stipulated in the acceptance letter that “admission is contingent upon successful completion of the outstanding course.”

3. How competitive is the program (how many applicants vs. number admitted)?
On average, 10 applications are received for each position available for admission. Of this applicant pool, approximately 20 to 30 candidates are interviewed per class. Of the candidates interviewed, 6 students are selected for each class, with two additional alternate candidates selected to fill any position declined by a selected candidate.

4. I am interested in applying to the Nurse Anesthesia Program. I have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree and am currently working as a nurse practitioner. Would I be able to transition into the CRNA Program?
After receiving several inquiries from individuals interested in changing their area of interest to Nurse Anesthesia, this issue was presented to the Higher Learning Commission which regulates the accreditation status of the College. The official response was that a second Master of Science in Nursing degree cannot be granted. Applicants who have a master’s degree in another area, (i.e., a Master of Science in Social Work [MSW]), would be eligible to apply. However, applicants who have a MSN degree can continue their education in the area of Nurse Anesthesia through either a program that offers a Post-master’s certificate in Nurse Anesthesia, or a program that offers a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP). Unfortunately at this time, individuals with a MSN are not eligible to apply to our program since we do not offer a Post-Master’s certificate.

5. Will a DNP in Nurse Anesthesia ever be offered through Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College?
Development of a curriculum for a DNP in Nurse Anesthesia is currently in the beginning stages. Admission requirements, policies and procedures for the operation of the program need to be developed, and courses need to be written. In addition, program approval must be granted by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, the accrediting body for Nurse Anesthesia Programs, as well as the North Central Association and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, which are accrediting bodies for the College. This process will take time to complete.

6. Do you use the GPA from my bachelor’s program or a cumulative GPA?
An applicant’s GPA from the baccalaureate degree is considered and a cumulative GPA is calculated from all college/university transcripts. Transcripts are also reviewed with regard to grades for prerequisite and science courses as well as overall academic achievement. Science grades are weighted heavily.

7. What format should be used for reference letters?
References should be in letter format for applicants to the Nurse Anesthesia Program. Letters provide more indepth information regarding applicants than a reference form with a few lines for comments. The person writing the reference letter should include his/her association with the applicant (co-worker, supervisor, CRNA, physician, etc.). However, most importantly, the person should address the applicant’s academic and clinical potential for the Nurse Anesthesia Program. If the Application for Admission to the Nurse Anesthesia Program form is downloaded from the College website (, DO NOT use the Graduate Reference Form that is available. Responses tend to be brief and do not provide adequate information.

8. Am I required to have one year of ICU experience when/before you apply?
A minimum of one year of critical care experience is required, with priority given to applicants with the most current experience in an adult ICU at a Level One Trauma Center (larger hospital/medical center) where experience is varied and care is provided to the “sickest of the sick,” much like the types of patients that are cared for during the Nurse Anesthesia Program. As part of the interview process, candidates will be asked to complete a questionnaire to further validate specific experiences in the ICU with regard to equipment, medications, procedures and situations.

9. Does OR, PACU or ER experience count as critical care experience, or does it have to be ICU?
The Nurse Anesthesia Program does not accept OR as critical care experience. Although the Council on Accreditation requires one year of critical care experience, it is highly recommended that the experience be from an ICU rather than PACU or ER. Students in the Nurse Anesthesia Program gain clinical experience from Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis and Children’s Hospital during the program. Patients at these hospitals have very high acuity since they are tertiary centers. Applicants should be very skilled in caring for patients who are on ventilators, have invasive lines, and/or have a variety of medicated drips. Applicants who work in PACU or ER will be considered only if the candidate can demonstrate this experience.

10. Is neonatal or pediatric ICU experience acceptable for the one year ICU experience requirement?
Neonatal ICU experience, due to its limitation of caring for newborns, is not acceptable. Pediatric ICU (PICU) experience is acceptable only if the applicant can demonstrate excellent experience in caring for children and young adults who are on ventilators, have invasive lines, and have a variety of experience with medicated drips, as well as with medical conditions common to adults (i.e., COPD, PVD, etc.). The applicant with PICU experience is also highly encouraged (recommended) to have adult critical care experience.

11. Do you prefer the letters of recommendation and transcripts to be mailed all together with the application packet, or would you prefer them to be sent directly to you from the schools attended and supervisors who will be writing the letters?
It is important to start the application process for the program as soon as possible to avoid any last minute issues that could delay your consideration for admission to the program. Applications to the College are required to be submitted to the Admissions Office online by accessing the College website ( and clicking on "Apply Now" under the admissions tab. Once an application has been completed and submitted, the applicant will be prompted to download and print a Signature Page, which must then be signed and mailed to the College Admissions Office with the $50 application fee. All additional required documentation can be submitted together at one time to the Admissions office to complete your application. This documentation includes a current resume or curriculum vitae and personal statement, evidence of a current nursing license as well as evidence of ACLS, BLS and PALS certification (PALS certification can be completed after admission). References should be in letter format addressing academic and clinical potential of the applicant for the Nurse Anesthesia Program and submitted in the sealed envelope. Do not use the Graduate Reference Form. Official transcripts must be received in a sealed envelope to from all colleges/universities and schools attended. They must remain sealed when sent to the College to remain “official” transcripts. All information should be sent directly to the Admissions Office. This documentation will then be forwarded to the Academic Coordinator for the Nurse Anesthesia Program, who will develop a program file and provide continuous contact via e-mail keeping applicants updated on their application status until complete.

12. How does the application process differ for International students?
Refer to the College website for complete information regarding required documentation as an International student. Regardless of U.S. residency, international applicants who received undergraduate or higher degrees from colleges and universities in which English is not the primary language must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination as an indicator of ability to read, write and comprehend English. A passing score on the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (COGFNS) examination is required for applicants from foreign nursing schools. All transcripts and documents in languages other than English must be certified and accompanied by a certified English translation. For additional information or questions, please contact Ms. Malou Jaime, International Student Advisor, via e-mail (, or telephone (314-454-8686).

13. I completed my undergraduate nursing program as soon as I graduated from high school and my grades were not as good as I had hoped. If my GPA is borderline or just below the 3.0 required, will I be considered as an applicant? What can I do to raise my GPA?
Applying to the Nurse Anesthesia Program requires that the applicant have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. If a GPA is below 3.0, the applicant will not be considered for admission. The College may provide 10 year forgiveness for cumulative GPA calculation. However, if a student has not completed any coursework in the last 10 years, he/she will need to complete a minimum of 9 credit hours of prerequisite coursework at the appropriate GPA to meet program/option requirements. An applicant can raise the GPA by retakingcourses to improve a grade or taking additional courses and receiving higher grades. A new GPA will then be re-calculated from both new and previous transcripts. However, raising a GPA is a slow process -- the more hours of course work taken, the slower the process.

14. What can I do to make my application more competitive?
Science courses and clinical experiences are two areas that are weighted heavily. If you have science prerequisite course work to complete, an A or a B for the course will enhance your application. Experience in a Level I trauma center will provide you with a wide variety of critical care experiences. Experience with adult patients is highly recommended in ICU areas, such as cardiothoracic, medical, surgical, neuro, etc. It is important to have a wide variety of experiences with all aspects of ICU areas, which may require having more than just the minimum requirement of one year of experience. Although not a requirement for the program, CCRN certification will enhance your application. If you do not have CCRN certification but are eligible to take the exam, it is strongly recommended. 

15. Are any courses offered online?
Nurse Anesthesia-specific courses are not offered online; on-campus attendance is required. Attendance at class and in the OR is mandatory. However, some core Nursing courses may be offered online.

16. Can I attend the program part-time?
Completion of the program can be done only on a full-time basis; no part-time enrollment is available.

17. Which is preferred, Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry?
Either course will fulfill the requirement as long as it is 3 credit hours. However, the course content must be specific to Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry. There should be no general chemistry content included in the course. Personal preference, based on course descriptions, may influence an applicant’s choice of organic vs. biochemistry, but this choice will have no bearing on the likelihood of admission. What is important in the review process is the grade obtained for the course.

18. Are labs required for the prerequisite undergraduate Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry or Physics courses?
Labs are not required for the chemistry or physics prerequisites. It is required that the courses be at least 3 credit hours, and that the Physics course be College Algebra-based. A basic understanding of the content of these courses is theprerequisite goal.  

19. What is your accreditation status?
The Nurse Anesthesia Program at Barnes-Jewish College of Nursing is fully accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. Barnes-Jewish College of Nursing is also fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

20. What is the estimated cost to attend the Nurse Anesthesia Program?
As of May 2013, the total cost of the 28-month Nurse Anesthesia Program is approximately $83,355. The cost includes tuition and fees, textbooks, equipment, AANA student membership, as well as fees for a background check, drug screening, graduation, the national certification exam and self-evaluation exam. There may be additional costs not included in this list and costs are subject to change.

21. Do you require the GRE or GMAT?
No, the GRE and GMAT are not required to apply to the Nurse Anesthesia Program.

22. Are there time limits on prerequisite course work?
Although there are no specified time limits for prerequisite course work, it is preferred and beneficial to the applicant that course work be recent, especially with regard to the sciences.

23. What is a typical day for a nurse anesthesia student?
A typical day depends on the semester. During the first term, students are not in the OR but carry a heavy academic load. As students progress through the program, class time decreases and clinical time increases. During the last two terms students are in clinical 5 days a week.

24. I understand that the demand on students during the program is so high they are unable to work while in school. Is working part-time forbidden?
It is highly recommended that students do not work while enrolled in the program due to the demanding academic course work and high volume of clinical time. A grade below a “B” is unacceptable for Nurse Anesthesia-specific courses, and will result in exclusion from the program.

Updated: 5/5/14