Master's Nurse Anesthesia FAQs

Nurse Anesthesia FAQs


What does your school accept for "Critical Care Experience"?

The program requires all applicants to have one full year of ICU experience in order to be invited to interview with the Program Administrators.  Critical care experience must be obtained in a critical care area within the United States, its territories, or a U.S. military hospital outside of the United States.  A critical care area is defined as one where, on a routine basis, the registered professional nurse manages one or more of the following: invasive hemodynamic monitors (such as pulmonary artery catheter, CVP, arterial); cardiac assist devices; mechanical ventilation; and vasoactive drips.  The critical care areas include intensive care units.  Those who have experience in other areas may be considered provided they can demonstrate competence with invasive monitoring, ventilators, and critical care pharmacology.

Surgical or Cardiac ICUs are preferred and Pediatric ICU in a large Children’s Hospital is also acceptable.  ER experience must be in a large trauma center in order to be considered.  PACU experience would only be considered if the critically ill patients (Open heart, neuro, AAA’s etc.) do not go directly to ICU after surgery.  During this experience, the applicant nurse is to have developed critical decision making and psychomotor skills, competency in patient assessment, and the ability to use and interpret advanced monitoring techniques.  

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Do I need to take GRE exams, or MAT (Miller Analogies Test) for admission and what score would I need?

Applicants to the MSN in Nurse Anesthetist program who earned a cumulative BSN grade point average (GPA) of 3.4 or greater on a 4.0 scale are not reuired to submit GRE test results.  Applicants who earned a GPA of less than 3.4 must submit GRE test results.

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Describe for me what the first 6 months in the program are “really” like?

From a students prospective, expect the first 6 months to be quite busy. You will have frequent classes on many topics during the day and Villanova MSN courses at night 1-2 days a week (If you don’t take any cores beforehand). Some weeks you might have 3-5 anesthesia exams, papers, presentations, and other projects. Beginning in November you will begin clinical rotations one day a week. First you begin with basic cases, focusing on learning and implementing the basics of a proper room setup, anesthesia machine checks, and developing an anesthetic plan of care. The coursework load will subside in the mid spring term 1st year, however you will be in clinical 3-4 days a week at that time. Different students many have different workloads. You will eventually master the art of time management and finding a balance for yourself between school, clinical, and personal life.

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What are some ways that students finance their education?

Financial aid, loans, scholarships (Sigma Theta Tau) AEN traineeships, hospital subsidies are available to those that are eligible.

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Will I be allowed to work a nursing job while I am attending Anesthesia school?

We STRONGLY discourage students from working for the first two semesters. However, some students work as an RN on a limited basis with their local hospital or with local staffing agencies later in the program.

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What does my deposit cover? Is it refundable?

The deposit is non refundable. It is used to support the educational needs of the program.

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When do we begin clinical rotations, and how long do they last?

Clinical rotations begin in November of the first semester. The first rotation is for 7 months. After the initial rotation, all others are between 2 to 3 months at a time. Here you will gain exposure to different facilities and techniques.

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Can I do a clinical rotation located near my home?

Not always. We try our best to accommodate students but it is not always possible. Most of our clinical sites are within an hour drive from CCMC. The sites in the Hershey, Lancaster and Lehigh areas are for the students from those areas.

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I have my Bachelor's degree in an area other than nursing. Can I apply for admission to the program?

Not to this program. We currently only accept applicants with a BSN degree.

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How many applicants do you have each year?

Between 80 to 100. Not everyone is interviewed; only those who meet our criteria are invited to an interview. We interview probably 50 to 60 for 25 spots.

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Will I be required to attend any regional and national anesthesia conferences and workshops?

Yes. Our students are expected to attend one state meeting a year. The schools in the Philadelphia area also conduct 4 workshops for the students. Students are encouraged, but not required to attend the Annual AANA meeting. The annual conference includes many recruiters from all over the country, a trade show, social functions, and opportunity to network with other anesthesia providers.

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If I am admitted, can I start taking classes before the program actually begins?

It is highly recommended that you take between 9 and 12 nursing core credits prior to beginning the anesthesia program. Some courses are web-based as well.

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Does the School of Anesthesia have a patient simulator?

Yes, we have a “Sim Man” interactive patient simulator with an anesthesia machine. Sim Man is located on our Villanova campus. Anesthesia students will have numerous opportunities to work with the simulator during the first semester.

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Do your graduates have a hard time finding jobs?

No. Our students generally rotate to 5 to 6 different clinical sites and therefore have a great exposure to many CRNAs and anesthesiologists. These clinical sites often recruit them well before graduation. All of our students have jobs before graduation.  There is no guarantee that jobs will be available in the local market upon your graduation.  There are plenty of jobs nationwide, you will need to be prepared to relocate to those areas.

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My family and I might have to relocate so I can attend Anesthesia School. Any tips on where I can look?

Check out our Anesthesia links section for links to the some Philadelphia area web sites where you can learn more about our thriving region and what it offers.

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My View

"Villanova has an excellent reputation within the anesthesia community for the education and experience they provide their CRNA students and has an extremely competitive tuition. Besides having a beautiful and new nursing building, they utilize cutting edge technology, life-like simulation lab experiences, and experienced staff to teach and guide the students.  Villanova is affiliated with clinical sites that span from southern Delaware to New Jersey and many Pennsylvania locations to provide convenience as well as various experiences to all the students.  

I am proud to belong to this program and highly recommend it to anyone looking for an amazing educational experience."

Valerie Ross