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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Nurse Anesthetist?

A Nurse Anesthetist, or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), is a licensed advanced practice nurse.  After completing extensive education and training, CRNAs become nationally certified. CRNAs administer approximately 65% of the 26 million anesthetics administered in the United States each year. They practice in a variety of settings in the private and public sectors and in the U.S. military, including traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms, ambulatory surgery centers, pain clinics, and physicians' offices.

Why should I consider Drexel University’s Nurse Anesthesia Department?

Drexel currently offers a three month certification exam review, two review courses, one of which is sponsored by the university.  Our department also has on site approachable faculty committed to your learning and success.  Separate class and clinical days allows the student to adequately prepare for class or clinical.  The ability to take MSN Core Courses prior to the start of the program will ease the burden of a rigorous program.  The primary simulation experience is targeted to allow the student to gain the necessary didactic and “hands on” experience prior to the start of their clinical rotations.  The simulation experience also includes a pediatric simulation workshop and an alternative workshop in the second and third year of studies.

Do you offer online courses?

All of the graduate nursing core courses for the nurse anesthesia department are offered online with some blended virtual class requirements.

What type of critical care experience is required?

A minimum of two years recent full-time critical care experience where the registered professional nurse manages invasive hemodynamic monitors (such as pulmonary artery catheter; CVP; arterial), cardiac assist devices, mechanical ventilation, and vasoactive drips (such as norepinephrine epinephrine; dobutamine; nicardipine; nitroglycerine). Preferred areas include: SICU (Surgical Intensive Care), MICU (Medical Intensive Care), CVICU (Cardiovascular Intensive Care), Coronary Intensive Care, PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) and a Level I Emergency/Trauma Unit are also acceptable. Other areas may be considered provided competence can be demonstrated with invasive monitoring, ventilators, and critical care pharmacology.

Do I need to have Bachelor of Science in Nursing?

A bachelor's in nursing is required.

What is the minimum score required for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?

A score of 300 (or higher) when combining the verbal and quantitative scores on the 130-170 score scale. A score of 1000 (or higher) when combining the verbal and quantitative scores on the 200-800 score scale.

How many applicants are accepted each year?

Approximately twenty one  registered nurse anesthetist students  are admitted annually in January.

Do I need to shadow a CRNA?

It is strongly recommended that you shadow a CRNA to observe current nurse anesthesia practice to ascertain that you are choosing to pursue a career of interest. The department is unable to provide this experience for potential applicants and recommend that you contact the anesthesia department at your place of employment or a nearby hospital that employs CRNAs.

What is the application deadline?

The deadline to submit an application for the January 2016 cohort is April 15, 2014.

How long is the program and when does it start?

The program is 28 months in length and starts the first week in January.

What is the tuition?

For more information, please contact the bursar's office.

Do I have to buy malpractice insurance?

No. Drexel University provides malpractice coverage without cost to the student.  Health insurance is mandatory and is available through Drexel University.

Will I have the summers off?

No, however you can look forward to one week off every ten weeks. The entire Nurse Anesthesia program of study consists of nine 10-week quarters, with one week off between quarters (usually March, June, September and December). Students are off for most major holidays unless assigned an on-call shift as part of the clinical practicum.

Can I work during studies?

Because of an average weekly program commitment of 56 hours/week, very few students are able to work on a regular basis.

Will I need a car or can I use public transportation to get to clinical sites?

Clinical sites range from 0-90 miles from the university.  A reliable vehicle is necessary and parking is available at all clinical sites.  Some clinical sites offer free student housing during the clinical rotation.

Do you interview all applicants?

Admission into our department is very competitive. Applications are reviewed relative to the admission criteria (GPA, GRE score, professional experience, reference letters, and the personal statement). Interviews are offered to the most qualified applicants.  The interview includes a detailed overview of the clinical and academic curriculum, an interview with the Nurse Anesthesia Program's Admission committee, and an opportunity to meet with current students. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the department.

What is the accreditation status of the Department?

Drexel University’s Nurse Anesthesia Department received the maximum 10 year accreditation in 2010. The next accreditation review will be in 2020.

Will I need a computer?

Yes, a personal computer (or laptop) with DSL internet access is mandatory. (Link to drexel IRT)  Students are expected to be proficient with word processing, electronic mail, and online literature searches.

Do I need to have a full year of critical care experience before I submit my application?

You can apply to the department if you are currently employed in critical care and will have the necessary two years of full time experience before the start of the program.

My GPA was low for my first two years in college, will this count against me or will you just look at my nursing GPA?

We look at the compiled GPA and the science GPA. Admission is not based solely on GPA; we also look at GRE scores, professional experience and recommendations.

Can I attend the program on a part time basis?

No, the program is 28 months in length and is designed for full time study.

I already have a Masters of Science in Nursing, do I have to get a second graduate degree in nursing?

No, you are eligible for the post masters certificate option.

Is financial aid available?

For more information on financial aid, please visit Drexel Central.

Where will I complete my clinical requirements?

The Nurse Anesthesia Department has multiple clinical sites in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Where can I get a copy of the course descriptions?

Please click on the curriculum link for course descriptions.

Where are classes held?

Classes are held at the university during the first quarter.  Students in the distance option may make housing arrangements privately or through the university.  The cost of university housing may be bundled in with tuition.  At the start of the second quarter of the first year, students will take their classes in a synchronous mode at their distance site.  Distance students are also expected to come to campus for Interdisciplinary Day, held twice a year, the Pediatric Simulation experience, and Alternative Airway once during the program. The Pediatric Simulation experience offers students “hands on” exposure in a non clinical setting and the airway workshop provides students an opportunity to utilize alternative airway techniques.