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Q: What is a Nurse Anesthetist?
A: 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 safely administer 32 million anesthetics to patients each year in the United States. 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.

Q: Why should I consider NorthShore University HealthSystem School of Nurse Anesthesia?
A: The NorthShore University HealthSystem School of Nurse Anesthesia, formerly the Ravenswood Hospital Medical Center School of Anesthesia, is one of the oldest schools of anesthesia in the US. It was the first school to be accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. It has an outstanding national reputation and consistently exceeds accreditation requirements and national averages for lecture hours and clinical cases. DePaul University, our academic affiliate, is the largest Catholic University in the US and also enjoys an excellent national reputation.

Q: Why did the School change to a DNP program?
A: The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has recommended that education of
advanced practice nurses (APN), which includes Nurse Anesthetists, be provided at the doctoral level, and that APN graduates have a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) by 2015. Unlike a research doctorate (DNSc, EdD, and PhD), the DNP is a clinical doctorate that focuses on providing leadership for evidence-based practice. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), our accrediting body, supports the transition of graduate nurse anesthesia programs to DNP programs.

Q: Do you offer online courses?
A: Several of the graduate nursing courses at DePaul University are offered online or have an online component. The School offers one hybrid online course.

Q: What types of critical care experience are accepted?
A: A minimum of two years in a critical care setting that provides experience with critically ill and unstable patients, invasive hemodynamic monitoring, ventilatory care, and pharmacologic management is required for admission. Preferred areas include SICU (Surgical Intensive Care), MICU (Medical Intensive Care), CVICU (Cardiovascular Intensive Care), and Neurosurgical ICU. PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) from a Children's Hospital is also acceptable. We do not accept OR (operating room), PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit), NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care), Cardiac Step-down, Telemetry, Emergency Room, or other specialty areas of nursing practice.

Q: Do I need to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing?
A: A bachelor's or master’s degree in nursing is required for admission into the DNP program.

Q: What is the GPA requirement for admission and do you only consider my nursing GPA?
We look at the compiled GPA and the science GPA. A minimum complied GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is desirable and a minimum compiled GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale from the previous 40 semester/60 quarter hours of college coursework is required for admission.

Q: How many applicants are accepted each year?
A: Approximately twenty-five nurse anesthetist trainees (NAT) are admitted annually in September.

Q: Do I need to shadow a CRNA?
A: A shadow day with a CRNA in a hospital setting is required for admission. The shadow day should be less than two years old. This will provide the applicant with an opportunity to observe current nurse anesthesia practice. The School 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.

Q: What is the application deadline?
A: The application deadline is May 1. Interviews will be scheduled June through August for eligible individuals with complete applications.

Q: How long is the program and when does it start?
A: The program is 36 months. The program starts in early September, generally the week after Labor Day. For a more detailed overview of the program, see the Curriculum page.

Q: What is the tuition?
A: Tuition, fees, and textbooks are approximately $88,850 for the 36-month program.

Q: Do I have to buy malpractice insurance?
A: NorthShore University HealthSystem provides malpractice coverage without cost to the student. Health insurance is mandatory and is available through the Healthcare Marketplace.

Q: Will I have the summers off?
A: Nurse anesthesia programs are year long, there are no quarter breaks. Students receive one week vacation every three months during residency. They are off for holidays unless assigned an on-call shift.

Q: Can I work during the program?
A: There is no clinical residency during the first year and anesthesia students may be able to work part-time. During clinical residency (year 2-3) the average weekly commitment is 56 hours/week which precludes working on a regular basis.

Q: Will I need a car or can I use public transportation to get to clinical sites?
A: Clinical sites range from 0-60 miles from the School. A car is necessary and parking is available at all clinical sites.

Q: Do you interview all applicants?
A: Admission into our program is very competitive. Applications are reviewed relative to the admission criteria (GPA, GRE score, professional experience, reference letters, and personal statement). Interviews are offered to the most qualified applicants. Interviews last approximately 4 hours and include a detailed overview of the clinical and academic curriculum, interviews with 2-3 members of the Admission Committee, and an opportunity to meet with current nurse anesthesia trainees (NAT). Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission into the program.

Q: What type of chemistry do you accept?
A: College level Organic Chemistry less than five years old is required for admission. General chemistry or organic survey courses are not acceptable. Chemistry may be completed at two year or four-year colleges. If you are unsure of which chemistry you should take, you may fax 847.733.5392 or email a course description. In addition, College Physics is strongly recommended.

Q: Can I apply even if I still have to take organic chemistry?
A: The Admissions Committee may grant you conditional admission, but required organic chemistry course(s) must be completed by September 1 with a grade of B (3.0), of your admission year. Admission will be denied if you fail to complete the organic chemistry course(s).

Q: What is the accreditation status of the Program?
A: The DNP program offered in cooperation with DePaul University was approved by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) in November 2012. The NorthShore University HealthSystem School of Nurse Anesthesia received the maximum 10-year accreditation in 2015. The next COA accreditation review will be in 2025.

Q: Will I need a computer?
A: Yes, a personal computer (or laptop) with internet access is mandatory. Students are expected to be proficient with word processing, electronic mail, and online literature searches.

Q: Do I need to have two full years of critical care experience before I submit my application?
A: You can apply to the program if you are currently employed in critical care and will have a minimum of two years of full-time experience before the start of the program.

Q: Can I attend the program on a part-time basis?
A: No, the program is 36 months long and is designed for full-time study.

Q: I already have a Masters of Science in Nursing, do I have to get a second graduate degree in nursing?
A: Applicants with an MS in Nursing are eligible to transfer a maximum of  2 semester-based courses or  3 quarter-based courses; transfer is dependent upon a review of course transcripts and syllabi.

Q: What does the average nurse anesthesia student look like?
A: The average student is 30 years old. 70% are female, 52% are married, 33% have children, 29% are out of state and 4% are in the Army Reserves.

Q: I am from out of state; do I need an Illinois nursing license to apply to the program?
A: You do not need an Illinois license to apply if you have an unrestricted license in another state. You will need to have an Illinois RN license by September 1 of your admission year.

Q: Is financial aid available?
A: Degree-seeking students are eligible to apply for the Federal Direct Loan Program through DePaul University. Non-degree seeking students are eligible to apply for the Federal Direct Loan Progam through NorthShore. The actual amount of financial aid is dependent upon individual needs. Students may also receive a Health Resources and Services Administration Nurse Anesthetist Traineeship Grant. The School awards five annual alumni scholarships during residency.

Q: Where will I complete my clinical requirements?
A: The School has 18 clinical sites. Students are assigned to 7-8 sites during their enrollment. Names and locations of clinical sites are available on the Curriculum page.

Q: Do I have to apply separately to DePaul University?
A: Following their acceptance into NorthShore University HealthSystem School of Nurse Anesthesia, applicants must apply online to DePaul University.

Q: Where can I get a copy of the course descriptions?
A: Course Descriptions are available at both the NorthShore and DePaul websites.

Q: Where are the classes held?
A: Anesthesia courses are taught at Evanston Hospital. Core nursing courses are taught at DePaul University, Lincoln Park Campus, often online.

Q: How can I make my application more competitive?
A: In recent years, the School has received a record number of highly competitive applications. Ensure that your application is complete, submitted prior to the deadline, and that you exceed the minimum requirements. Strong applicants have a nursing school GPA >3.75, and a science GPA >3.75. Consider retaking science courses to replace a previously poor grade. Experiences included in a strong application include unit-based leadership activities, research projects and presentations, ICU experience in a level 1 trauma center, and CCRN certification.

Q: I applied and did not get an interview or did not get in, what should I do next?
A: Admission to the NorthShore program is very competitive and meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee an interview or admission. Review the answer to the “How to make my application more competitive” question for guidance on ways to strengthen your application. Applications are kept open for two years. Prior to the next interview deadline (May 1), an applicant should submit any updates to the school which will be added to your application for reconsideration with the next cohort. If an applicant is not granted admission on the second attempt, the application is closed and the applicant may re-apply in the future.

Q: Can applicants with disabilities apply to the program?
Due to the rigorous and physical nature of the profession, applicants with disabilities will be considered on an individual basis. NorthShore can work closely with the Center for Students with Disabilities at DePaul University to offer accommodations and other services to students. DePaul University’s Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) coordinates accommodations and other services to students with disabilities pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act. CSD regularly works with students diagnosed with conditions such as learning disabilities, AD/HD, chronic illness, mental health disorders, and physical/visual disabilities.

Q: Can applicants in a substance abuse disorder (SUD) monitoring program apply to the program?
Due to the complex nature of anesthesia clinical residency, the school is unable to accommodate applicants in recovery from SUD, with an active clinical monitoring and supervision contract with a state licensing board or impaired professionals program.

Q: What kinds of student activities are offered by NorthShore University HealthSystem School of Nurse Anesthesia?
Financial support is offered to students who wish to attend statewide and national anesthesia conferences. Students can also attend an annual Lobby Day where CRNAs and SRNAs meet with their legislators in Springfield, IL. Additionally, workshops are offered by Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the University of Chicago. Several times a year, faculty and students participate in a medical mission trip during which they travel to the Holy Family Surgery Center in Honduras. Financial assistance is provided to students who wish to participate in this trip. Students also have access to employee health services such as free immunizations and an annual flu shot. Scholarships opportunities are offered throughout the duration of the program to assist with financial aid. A list of financial assistance options and scholarships can be found here.