frequently asked questions
- Thinking about becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist?
Here you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the nurse anesthesia program at the Frank J. Tornetta School of Anesthesia at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery/La Salle University School of Nursing.
- What is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)?
CRNAs are professional registered nurses who are independently licensed to deliver anesthesia. These advanced practice nursing specialists work in every healthcare arena in which anesthesia is delivered, from major urban medical centers to the offices of private practice physicians. It is estimated that CRNAs administer more than 65% of the 26 million anesthetics delivered in the U.S. each year. For additional information related to CRNA practice please visit the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) website: www.aana.com
- What is the role of a CRNA?
A CRNA provides anesthesia to patients of all ages during the preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative period. Examples of CRNA responsibilities include:
- Performing a preoperative assessment, formulating an anesthetic care plan, and patient teaching.
- Administering a wide variety of anesthetics, including inhalational, IV, regional, spinal, and epidural techniques.
- Applying and inserting appropriate invasive and noninvasive monitoring modalities for the continuous evaluation of a patient’s physical status.
- Providing postanesthesia follow-up care.
- Collaborating with other members of the healthcare team to ensure quality, patient-centered care.
- What employment opportunities exist for CRNAs?
CRNAs practice in a variety of clinical practice settings. Program alumni currently work in traditional hospital surgical suites, obstetric delivery rooms, surgery centers and physician offices. In addition, many of our program alumni hold educational and administrative positions throughout the country.
- How far in advance should I submit my application?
We suggest that you submit your application at least two and a half years in advance of your anticipated clinical residency practicum start date. This time allows for your interview and completing all core DNP La Salle University School of Nursing coursework before beginning the clinical residency portion of the program. Please see the BSN-DNP curriculum for course sequencing during the first 24 months, which allows students the opportunity to continue with full time employment while completing online DNP core courses requirements.
- What makes your programs BSN-DNP so unique?
When designing the BSN to DNP nurse anesthesia track curriculum, the Frank J. Tornetta School of Anesthesia at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery and La Salle University School of Nursing and Health Sciences faculty set out to create a program that afforded the students the opportunity to complete a sizable portion of the program while still maintaining full time employment. Students are accepted into the program several years prior to the start of the clinical practicum curriculum in order to complete 30 prerequisite DNP course credits online while still maintaining full time employment. This innovative curricular design also maximizes the nurse’s ability to continue to utilize their employer’s tuition assistance programs to help with the fees associated with the program. Upon completion of the 30 DNP core courses of La Salle University School of Nursing and Health Sciences, the student begins the 29 month clinical practicum portion of the program. During this 29 month clinical practicum portion of the program, the student is not able to maintain full time employment under any circumstances due to the required comprehensive anesthesia didactic courses, clinical practicum, subspecialty rotations and their DNP project. Feedback from students that are currently enrolled in the program state that the current curricular design has been extremely beneficial both from an economic standpoint as well as a time management perspective.
- When is your deadline for applications?
Application files are reviewed and processed as they are received by the program. Student interviews are scheduled on a ‘rolling admission basis’ as application files are completed and processed. Rolling admission means that completed applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis, not after a set deadline. This also means that applications are accepted until the class reaches capacity. A rolling admission policy encourages early submission of application.
- What is the earliest I can submit my application after starting work in an ICU setting?
The average critical care unit experience of program applicants is 3 to 5 years. However, students may submit an application to the program with 1 year of critical care experience while obtaining additional critical care experience as they complete the La Salle University School of Nursing ‘core’ courses outlined in the curriculum section of this website.
- Do you have a Waiting List?
Due to the large number of applications received, the program does not place students on a ‘waiting list.’
- How many students are accepted each year?
Class size varies each year based on the applicant pool. Generally 22 students are selected for each class.
- Is the program competitive?
Yes, the program is competitive. Each application is thoroughly reviewed individually by our Admissions Committee.
- Are the GRE’s required?
La Salle University does not require GRE examination scores if you have a 3.2 GPA or higher. However, the mean GPA of a typical candidate seeking admission to the program is 3.4 or higher for previous undergraduate coursework completed. Students with an undergraduate BSN GPA of less than 3.2 may take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) and submit the exam results to the Admission Committee as part of their application materials.
- Are applicants required to complete a CRNA shadowing experience?
Yes, applicants are required to shadow a CRNA or anesthesiologist prior to applying for admission to the program. Applicants should download the CRNA shadowing form to document the shadowing experience, hours, CRNA/anesthesiologist and facility where they shadowed. Completed shadowing forms should be submitted with the applications.
- Do you require applicants to obtain CCRN certification?
Students are not required to have CCRN certification, however, it is highly recommended and is considered by the admissions committee during the application process.
- How do I get an interview?
Once your completed application and all documents required are received by the program office you will be notified if you are granted an interview with the Admissions Committee.
- Are students permitted to be employed while attending anesthesia school?
Students may work limited hours in acute care nursing areas with the approval of the Director. The Director may not approve work when, in their opinion, the outside work is preventing the student’s didactic or clinical progress and development within the anesthesia program.
- Will I be required to obtain my RN license in any other state besides PA?
Yes, students are required to obtain a nursing license in any state where they receive clinical instruction. Currently the program has clinical affiliation agreements in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
- Does the anesthesia program incorporate simulation into the curriculum?
Yes, the program incorporates an extensive simulation curriculum which is embedded into the student’s junior and senior year. This comprehensive curriculum utilizes state of the art equipment including the Laerdal Sim Man 3G with Sim View AVS Recording System, Laerdal Sim NewB, Laerdal Sim Man ALS, Simbionix Bronch Mentor Virtual Reality Bronchoscopy Simulation Trainer, Ambu Ascope Fiberoptic Bronchoscopes, Olympus Fiberoptic Bronchoscopes, GE Venue 40 Ultrasound, Simulab Spinal/Epidural Task Trainers, Simulab Central Venous Task Trainers, Simulab Upper Extremity Task Trainer, Simulab Lower Extremity Task Trainer, Gaumard Pulsatile Arterial Arms, GE AISYS Anesthesia Machine, Drager Fabius Anesthesia Workstation, Narkomed GS Anesthesia Machine, Nasco Cricothyrotomy Trainer, Glidescope, Laerdal Haptic Intravenous Insertion Trainer, Ingmar Medical Respitrainer Advance Adult and Infant with ET View System, Ingmar Medical Quick Lung Breather and a variety of additional specialty anesthesia devices encountered in the perioperative setting.
For a full listing of our comprehensive simulation curriculum please see the ‘Sim Center’ section of this website.
- Are students required to purchase a laptop computer?
Yes, students are required to purchase a laptop computer with the following minimum specifications:
- Operating System: 32-bit and 64-bit Versions of Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10
- Only genuine, U.S.-English, French, Portuguese, Swedish, and British versions of Windows Operating Systems are supported
- CPU Processor: 1.86Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo or greater
- RAM: highest recommended for the operating system or 4GB
- Hard Drive: highest recommended for the operating system, recommend minimum 500
- For onsite support, a working USB port is required (Newer devices may require an adaptor)
- Internet connection for SofTest Download, Registration, Exam Download and Upload
- Screen Resolution must be 1024×768 or higher
- Adobe Reader (Version 9, 11, or DC) is required for exams containing PDF attachments
- How much time is devoted to classroom versus clinical learning?
Generally the first 9-12 months of the program are spent on classroom and simulation center learning. During this period of time students are in class 2 or 3 days per week and in clinical 1-2 days per week. The remainder of the program provides 4 days of clinical learning and 1 day per week of classroom work.
- How much time will I need to spend studying each night?
Student learning styles vary. SRNAs can expect to study 3 – 5 hours per weeknight and 6 – 8 hours per weekend day during the first year of the program. The remainder of the program generally requires a minimum of 20 – 25 hours of study per week in addition to clinical requirements of 40 – 45 hours per week.
- Is an on call experience provided?
The program provides an on call clinical experience for students at the end of their junior year and throughout their senior year. Students obtain call experience with direct supervision by a CRNA/MDA at a variety of clinical sites including general and trauma surgical experiences.
- How can I pay for attending the Nurse Anesthesia program?
You will not have time to work for pay while attending the nurse anesthesia program. The options for paying for the program for most students will be one of the following, or a combination of the following: savings, financial aid administered through La Salle University’s Financial Aid office, loans, scholarships, and traineeships. Each of these is discussed briefly below. Other possibilities include enlisting in the military, attending as an active duty military officer, or making individual arrangements to work with a hospital or anesthesiology group practice in return for money to pay for school expenses.
Savings: Many students may have limited savings; however, students who apply for Financial Aid are assumed to have either some savings or at least an obligation to pay for a portion of their own education.
Financial Aid: Students apply for financial aid by completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form and coordinating their efforts through La Salle University’s Financial Aid Office (215) 951-1381.
Nurse Anesthesia Traineeships: This is a Federal grant. The School of Nursing applies for the traineeship annually, but there is no guarantee the School will receive funding for student trainee distribution. If you belong to any professional nursing organizations (e.g., AACN, ONS), you may contact your national organization to see if there are scholarships available for graduate study.
- Is there financial aid available?
Financial aid is available through the Guaranteed Student Loan Program, which is administered through La Salle University’s Financial Aid Office.
- When will the DNP program start and what will the curriculum look like?
We are currently planning on implementing DNP with the class starting their clinical residency portion of the program in 2020. The current curricular plan would allow students the opportunity to maintain full time employment while completing online DNP coursework at La Salle University School of Nursing during the first 24 months of the program followed by the 27 month clinical residency portion of the program.
- Is there time allocated to study for the NBCRNA certification examination preparation?
Ample preparation time and faculty mentorship is allotted for NBCRNA certification examination for all students enrolled in the program. Additional information related to NBCRNA certification examination preparation (study skills, required study hours, study plans etc) are continuously monitored by faculty administration during the student’s senior year.
- What location do you hold didactic classes?
Didactic classes are held in the state of the art classroom located at the Frank J. Tornetta School of Anesthesia at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery (Karabots Professional Building, 1330 Powell, Suite 608, Norristown, PA 19401) and the La Salle University Plymouth Meeting, PA campus.
- Thinking about becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist?