Choosing A CRNA Program
When choosing a program, you need to consider a few important things:
Is this a DNP program? most programs are converting, or will be converting to DNP in the near future. My personal opinion is to find programs offering DNP and stick with those. That is the future of our profession. Just like most nursing jobs require a bachelors degree these days, most CRNA employers will be looking for candidates with Doctorate degrees. Of course, this is just becoming the popular new thing. You can certainly get a job with a MAsters degree, but most likely you will either be required or will want to get a PhD in your future. I suggest you spend a few extra months (and dollars) and come out with a DNP right from the start
Is this a good program? Research the program you choose. Get to know the ins and outs of it. The best information on individual schools can be found on their program websites. If I’m being honest, and this is truly just my own personal opinion, the program itself doesn’t matter as much as what you put into it. At the end of the day we all graduate with the same 4 letters after our name. What matters more than ranking or faculty is clinical exposure. How many sites do you get to visit throughout the program? How many hours do you spend in the OR actually providing anesthesia? No matter what program you attend, there is a great amount of “self study” that is expected. In other words, nurse anesthesia school, no matter what school that may be, is what you make of it. You get out of the program what you yourself put into it. The important thing is that you choose a program that fits your expectations. Be it close proximity to where you live, length of the program, cost of the program, clinical sites, etc. Whatever is important to you during your tenure as a SRNA, make those the determining factors in choosing your school. Yes, there are some poorly managed CRNA programs out there, those that were created simply to cycle students through the bare requirements and collect tuition checks. Some programs are designed to "weed out" a large chunk of the class in the first few semesters. You may be shocked to realize that a lot of these programs are run as businesses with a major focus on being profitable. Do your research, but don’t over analyze and stress about the actual program, rather choose one that fits you best.
Can I afford this program? CRNA school is not cheap. Some programs are more expensive than others, and this can make a huge difference down the line. Many unfortunate people drop out of school simply due to finances, no other reason. Make sure that you have a plan and that the program you choose is one you can actually afford. I can not stress this enough, make sure you have a plan for affording school. It can be as simple as relying on loans and some savings. Whatever the case may be, have an idea of how you will be paying for school, aside from this being a common question during interviews, it's also a good thing to know for yourself before starting school.