Essay Letter For Crna School

Becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist offers plenty of unique opportunities, and it all starts with finding and applying to the right program for you. With a nursing degree under your belt, you are already familiar with the application process, but there are a few key things to consider when pursuing an advanced degree—from shadowing and mentoring programs to important family discussions.

Application requirements

CRNA programs want candidates with ICU nurse externship experience and a high GPA, but if your grades reflect a less-than-stellar performance, there are ways to mitigate this deficiency. Your goal is to be the most competitive person in the applicant pool. “Often, we would have candidates that were less than optimally academically focused in their undergraduate programs, particularly around core courses that ended up with a marginal science GPA,” says Art Zwerling, D.N.P., D.A.A.P.M., American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Senior Peer Assistance Advisor and former Director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Nurse Anesthesia Program. “Sometimes these folks are able to demonstrate their current level of maturity and focus either retaking a core course, science course, or taking one or two graduate level science courses such as pathophysiology and/or pharmacology.” You can elect to retake courses in chemistry or biochemistry, or complete graduate nursing research as well. This will not only demonstrate to the admission committee your ability to handle graduate course work, but will also provide a welcomed boost to your GPA.

Most programs require standardized tests like the GRE as a prerequisite for admission. For many, this can feel like taking the SATs all over again. “I prepared by studying aggressively for the GRE exam,” says Macario Acosta, B.S.N., C.C.R.N., a nurse currently in the midst of applying to a nurse anesthesia program. “I purchased a GRE review book with a CD and Web access so that I had as many practice questions as possible.” According to Dr. Zwerling, applicants often make significant improvements in their relative academic competitiveness by taking practice exams, enrolling in a formal preparation course, or utilizing one of the GRE review texts.

Your essay should exhibit CRNA shadowing experience, ICU experience, financial and academic preparedness, and the emotional fortitude to progress through a demanding nurse anesthesia program. While you are writing the essay, preparing for tests, and taking additional classes, you can do an exhaustive search for anesthesia programs that best fi t your needs through a professional association, such as the AANA (www.aana.com).

Talking it over

Enrolling in a CRNA program means committing 27–32 months to rigorous course work and a demanding class schedule. It will certainly impact your lifestyle and family dynamic, so it’s important to engage in a heartfelt discussion with your loved ones. “I sat down with my husband regarding the possibility of returning to school,” says Yolanda Salas-Lee, C.R.N.A., M.S.N. “Upon getting accepted, I shared an article with my husband regarding the hardships of the program, how things will change in our lives, and how relationships are put through a test. My family and friends are my world and it was difficult for me not to be able to participate in family functions.”

The financial considerations require taking an inventory of your current situation and planning accordingly, as you will likely no longer be employed full time. “I began saving a year in advance,” Salas-Lee says. “I would look at the monthly bills and see which ones I can eliminate, as well as credit card debt. I did a lot more cooking for meals instead of going out to restaurants while in the nurse anesthesia program.”

You should also familiarize yourself with the reasons why applicants are not admitted. “Sometimes they just did not interview well because they were too anxious or too fatigued. Sometimes it’s because another applicant was deemed a better match for the particular cohort that is being selected. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of being patient and committed to the process,” Dr. Zwerling says. “I would recommend that any candidate that isn’t selected feel free to have an open and honest discussion with the program faculty with a focus on what they could do to improve their profile should they apply again.”

Shadowing

Consider seeking out a practicing CRNA (perhaps a colleague from work) to shadow for a day or two. You’ll instantly gain a better understanding of the work a CRNA does. Start your day early, so you can watch the CRNA perform a full anesthesia machine check. Study how they prepare pertinent medications prior to a patient’s arrival in the operating room. Accompany the CRNA to the holding area and observe the assessment of the patient’s airway and the interview of their medical and surgical history.

“Shadowing is a must for potential candidates,” says Joseph Rodriguez, S.R.N.A., a student in the Thomas Jefferson University Nurse Anesthesia Program. “Having 30–60 hours of shadowing [experience] shows program directors you are dedicated to your decision on pursuing nurse anesthesia.” Macario Acosta was also able to shadow a CRNA. “My CRNA gave me access to a variety of cases, so I gained good insight of what CRNAs do in different situations,” he says. “I made myself available to whatever schedule the CRNA had so that it was easy and convenient.” Dr. Zwerling strongly recommends shadowing a CRNA prior to interviewing. “I think it’s an invaluable way to really get a feel for our profession as it’s practiced in the real world. I also think it provides a great opportunity to witness the wonder of anesthesia,” he says. “I always wanted applicants that had a good grasp of what they were hoping to be part of.”

Interviews

The interview is perhaps the most important criterion in determining a strong and committed applicant, capable of meeting the demands of the program. During the interview, be prepared to articulate your reasons for wanting to become a nurse anesthetist and to answer challenging questions related to the profession. To really shine, try practicing at home. “I did many mock interviews with my wife, which was extremely beneficial,” Rodriguez says. “The nervousness of the interview can really inhibit many candidates’ ability to answer smoothly, and by practicing beforehand I was able to deliver my answers calmly and without hesitation. I practiced a question sheet of 25 or so questions four to five times, until I had a high degree of comfort with the answers.”

Dr. Zwerling says he looks for nurses who display “commitment, focus, integrity, critical-thinking ability, and a demonstration that they understand the full scope of available CRNA practice regionally as well as nationally.” Regarding preparing for the interview, Jose Max Acosta, D.N.P., C.R.N.A., an associate faculty member in the Baylor College of Medicine Nurse Anesthesia Program, asserts, “You are going to invest much time and resources in the nurse anesthesia profession, so take time to read about it before the interview.”

Entering the program

You’ve submitted an exemplary application and impressed the CRNA program directors during your interview. Before you know it, there’s an acceptance letter waiting in your mailbox and you can breathe a sigh of relief! But don’t get too relaxed; you need to academically and financially prepare yourself prior to matriculation. Continue taking graduate courses, if you’re already enrolled, to complete prerequisites if you can and lessen the course work while in the nurse anesthesia program. Aim to pay off significant debt, save a considerable amount of money, and try to improve your credit score, as this will enable you to get competitive rates on student loans.

Your next challenge is learning how to balance clinical and didactic courses. Jessica Juarez-Pillai, S.R.N.A., a student at Virginia Commonwealth University, has carefully organized her tight schedule. “Monday through Thursday, I am in the operating room and usually home by 5:00 p.m. When I get home, I have dinner with my family, and then I spend two hours reading about the next clinical day, then spend a couple of hours doing readings on course work,” she says. “On the weekends, I take my children to their extracurricular activities in the morning and [then] continue to study, reading, or doing homework.” To prepare for clinicals, Juarez-Pillai incorporates studying upcoming procedures into her routine, reading about general anesthetic implications and potential complications. “As a senior nurse anesthesia student, I have to write an extensive care plan for ASA III and IV patients scheduled for surgery,” she says. “I actually prepare these cases on four-by-four note cards and highlight surgical procedure, anesthetic considerations, complications, drug calculations, calculation of fl uid requirements, and allowable blood loss.”

To stay on top of your didactics, you must make a habit of studying regularly, Rodriguez says. “The professors serve as guides to learning, but you’re doing much of the learning during your own study. It takes 30–40 hours per week in addition to class to really master the material,” he says. “Also, I must add that you have to know your physiology and pharmacology if you want to look like an all star in the clinical arena. You will be verbally challenged in the operating room.” Rodriguez relies on impeccable lecture notes and review sessions, including class recordings, live notes, concept maps, flashcards, and pre-and post-test evaluations. “I’ll review my tests to see if there were any errors in my thought process,” he says.

“Didactic challenges you mentally, but clinicals challenges you physically and mentally,” says Dr. Acosta. “In clinicals, there is the added pressure to you and your faculty of caring for human beings. You will be closely supervised during clinicals, so don’t get your feelings hurt. Do not forget about the compassionate care that you have been providing as a RN.” You are responsible for absorbing volumes of information in clinical and didactic course work, and “students have to be able to simultaneously process a large amount of time and remain in control during stressful situations.” Many programs incorporate simulation teaching to enhance didactic and clinical learning.

Indeed, nurse anesthesia programs challenge students both in the classroom, in practice, and even at home, as they sacrifice leisure time, but there are ways to relieve the stress. “Mental preparation is key. I had to clear my life with distractions during school,” Rodriguez says. “That said, I still exercise four to five days a week and eat well. I have to credit my wife for making most of the meals; she is very supportive. I also take the time to remind myself of why I committed to this process—to make a better life for my family and to challenge myself to great things. Last, I battle procrastination by taking small tasks one at a time, so I don’t get overwhelmed.”

The future of CRNA

By 2015, many CRNA programs plan to abandon their master’s degree programs in favor of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.). “This will add additional months to a program,” Dr. Acosta says. “During the didactic year, your intense course work may consist of basic to advanced anesthesia, basic sciences, pharmacology, and classes covering professional information necessary for your practice. The didactic year is very intense, and programs will push you to a limit that you never thought could be possible to reach.”

As you investigate nurse anesthesia programs and continue your pursuit of the profession, it is worth mentioning that there is an established mentoring organization primarily for minorities seeking comprehensive information and guidance. The Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia Mentorship Program was created to inform, empower, and mentor underserved diverse populations with information to prepare for a successful career in nurse anesthesia.

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WWW.NURSE-ANESTHESIA.ORG > General Discussion > So you wanna be a CRNA? > Advice on the Essay, Mission Statement, etc.


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View Full Version : Advice on the Essay, Mission Statement, etc.



gthcrna

02-10-2009, 07:04 AM

For all of those potential CRNAs out there - here is my opinion and opinion only - this does not and will not guarantee your admission to a CRNA program - my disclaimer!

I have been asked by a number of potential applicants what makes an impressive personal statement. Here was my response to one of them. I hope that it is something that can help other potential applicants. Again, this is MY opinion and only MY opinion:

I can't say I have ever asked anyone to write a "mission statement" before. My understanding of a mission statement is what you are trying to accomplish - more of a goal statement. That would entail both your short and long term goals. As a former CRNA Program Director and long time educator, I can't tell you how many essays I have read. Some are really dynamite, some are duds. If you aren't a good writer (and you know better than anyone) there is no harm, no foul in asking for help. The key is that it flows and is easily readable without jumping all over the place.

Why do you want to be a CRNA? Simple as that to me.

Here is my "Top 10 List" of the do's and do not's of the personal statement:

1. Don't go into your history too much, especially if it is a big sob story. You can't make a program accept you by trying to make them feel sorry for you. They really don't care about the adversity you had to overcome to get to where you are. It gets really corny really fast. I'm not saying don't mention it at all, but try not to make it the focus of why you are wanting to become a CRNA. Avoid sounding like you are a victim.

2. Be clear with what it is you want. It is ok to mention the money - no one believes you would put yourself through this without some financial reward.

3. Be optimistic. Look to the future and what you can do for the profession and yourself. NEVER say you want out of nursing - you are still a nurse as a CRNA and there are some people in the profession (especially if it is a nursing based program) who may be offended by that comment.

4. Never start with a quote. It is SOOOO cliche, and everyone who reads it will roll their eyes right of the bat.

5. This is about you, not about quotes. Keep the philosophical quotes to a minimum. I have read essays that are loaded with quotes and it is really distracting.

6. If it says 500 words, stick to it as closely as possible. I knew a Program Director once who would score any essay over the word limit as a zero. I don't count words personally, but potential SRNAs need to color in the lines - if you can't follow the rules on your application, they fear you won't follow the rules in the program.

7. Be honest. This is your opportunity (depending on what they ask for) to explain any weaknesses in your application. Take ownership of your weaknesses - by the way, they are your fault. Nothing scares an admission's committee more than someone unable to take responsibility for their faults. They are very hard to teach if they can't see any fault in their actions. That "C" in Anatomy is not because your dog died, you caught your S.O. cheating, the teacher hated you, or you had to go to a funeral during midterm exams. It happened because you earned it. No excuses.

8. Be sure to answer the question that they ask you. You would be surprised how many essays you read that don't answer or address the requirements of the personal statement. Make an outline that includes direct answers to their questions. If they say "where do you see yourself in 5 years" be sure to answer that!

9. It is all about form and flow - seriously. Spell check, complete sentences, not shifting from 1st to 3rd person, stay in the same tense, etc. Graduate level work. I have read essays that look like an 8 year old wrote it. Misspelled words really grind my gears. It makes it look like you didn't care enough to make it perfect. If perfection isn't in you, they won't want you.

10. Have someone you trust who will give you HONEST feedback to read it and tell you what they think. Someone who will be critical and give suggestions for improvement. My wife is my greatest critic when it comes to my writing. Sometimes I write things that make sense to me but not to anyone else. Be sure it is cogent and covers all of the points required.

Basically I would suggest starting with "I first learned about the Nurse Anesthesia Profession.... transition into how it piqued your interest, and what you have done to prepare for it. What you plan to do while in school, what you plan to do after you finish. Keep the self adulation under control - nursing was actually ok before you got on the scene. You want to appear humble and eager without sounding cocky.

As an end note - almost everyone puts that they want to return to school after finishing, get a doctoral degree, and teach. Very few actually do, so don't go into that part deeply if you don't really think you want to do that. That is in probably 80% of the essays I read. By the way, for those who think we don't read them, I've got news for you....

Hope this helps - I'll post it on the discussion board for others to read (name removed) so they have an opportunity to learn and respond.

Good luck to you in your goal of becoming a CRNA - still the smartest thing I ever did!

Jerry Hogan


infidel

02-10-2009, 07:17 AM

The prior letter should be a sticky. That was the most concise, complete explanation I have seen on the forum dealing with this subject.


.. And I would like to add.. Read it, re-read it, re-read it again. Have someone with an English degree read it if possible. Do everything you can to insure there is not one single, spelling,grammar or syntax error. Do not trust spell-check alone.

I have seen applicants, who otherwise were very good applicants, NOT get selected because of errors in the personal statement. When all things are equal among applicants, its is often the tie breaker.


GeraldoV

02-10-2009, 08:41 AM

Very nice. Thank you. Agree with infidel


StillWaiting

02-10-2009, 10:26 AM

I was going to say the same thing.


armygas

02-10-2009, 10:30 AM

Done!


CRNAIam

02-12-2009, 10:20 AM

Gerry, thank you very much, it just so happens that I am writing my outline today. I appreciate your assistance!!!


JadamR15

04-02-2009, 12:47 PM

The key is that it flows and is easily readable without jumping all over the place.
Why do you want to be a CRNA? Simple as that to me.


1. Don't go into your history too much, especially if it is a big sob story. You can't make a program accept you by trying to make them feel sorry for you. They really don't care about the adversity you had to overcome to get to where you are.


3. Be optimistic. Look to the future and what you can do for the profession and yourself.



6. If it says 500 words, stick to it as closely as possible.



8. Be sure to answer the question that they ask you.
9. It is all about form and flow - seriously. Spell check, complete sentences, not shifting from 1st to 3rd person, stay in the same tense, etc. Graduate level work.


10. Have someone you trust who will give you HONEST feedback to read it and tell you what they think.


Basically I would suggest starting with "I first learned about the Nurse Anesthesia Profession.... transition into how it piqued your interest, and what you have done to prepare for it. What you plan to do while in school, what you plan to do after you finish. Keep the self adulation under control - nursing was actually ok before you got on the scene. You want to appear humble and eager without sounding cocky.


As an end note - almost everyone puts that they want to return to school after finishing, get a doctoral degree, and teach. Very few actually do, so don't go into that part deeply if you don't really think you want to do that. That is in probably 80% of the essays I read. By the way, for those who think we don't read them, I've got news for you....

Jerry and Infidel:

Thank you very much for posting this! I used all of your insight, especially what I've qouted above. I did about 10 drafts before having my wife, mother, and mother in law look at it. Then, I had an english major at a local univ. edit it, too. By the time he got it - he really thought I was a good writer :).

Thank you both. This is another example of why this site has been so beneficial to us pre-SRNAs. We REALLY appreciate hearing from those who have "been there"!


Vents-n-gtts

10-19-2010, 12:58 PM

Wow! This is an amazing thread. This is my second round at the application process and my essay is one of the things that might have gotten me under. I am GUILTY of using the quotes which I used very liberally in my opening paragraph. LOL! I wish I could post it, I read it now and I can't believe I actually thought someone was gonna read it and say "Yes, we have to have her in our program!" Thanks Gerard, when I grow up I want to be just like you :)


ethernaut

10-19-2010, 08:02 PM

i wrote about the trials and tribulations i faced in my last few months of graduating ADN. my mom passed away unexpectedly, i began to not care about clinical or class. i was at a loss. one of my instructors (who was actually my L&D nurse when i was born) pulled me aside and gave me the ultimatum to either buck up and finish or take time off and continue down the road. i bucked up, decided to grieve later, graduated, and had things in perspective rather quickly. i didn't want to lose all i had worked for. for me, tenacity, hard work, over-coming emotions, etc.. was what my angle was to show the ad-coms that i have what it takes to dedicate and focus on getting in, overcoming adversity, thru and beyond anesthesia school.


bettermj

03-01-2011, 06:29 PM

Very Nice! I've assisted a few as well, and you've stated things I've thought over and over when reading other essays. I would add, or rather emphasize, to read ALOUD each essay, with a pen/highlighter in hand. EVERY time you studder, or have to reread (for whatever reason, whether it's to "make" the statement make sense, or because you sneezed while reading aloud), mark this area. If you have to verbally accentuate, or alter your cadence, to get your point across, then it likely doesn't flow to the reader. Read it as though you are reading it to the ad com..... then even as though you are reading it in a court room.

If you are in a hurry to get this done, then you've waited too long. About 90% of the other applicants in the pool have outstanding qualifications (more degrees than the average joe, tons of experience, 4.0, perfect scores on GRE, etc....).... so don't think your app is going to stick out any more than the others.

What DOES stick out is the first impression..... the ad coms meet you for the first time when they read your essay. It must be PERFECT!!

Awesome thread!!! Love the rolling the eyes part, Jerry!


SRNAblogger

06-27-2011, 01:36 AM

A personal goal statement or cover letter should be a basic introduction that gives enough information about you in 1 page that will want the Admission Panel to meet you for an interview. A good way to start writing is to think about why you are interested in becoming a CRNA, what steps you took to get you there, what your working environment and critical care experience is like, or why you think you would be a good match for their program. Brainstorm ideas, write them down, and edit along the way. Be honest, the letter should reflect you as a person, and I'm sure the Admission Panel will know in the interview if you did not write it. You should have someone else proofread your final letter, and most importantly make sure your spelling and grammar are correct!


Bad Apple

10-14-2011, 11:21 PM

Reading hundreds of essays each year I wholeheartedly agree. Again I will emphasize -- answer the questions. Make an outline or a checklist to make sure you have addressed everything that was asked of you. I can't tell you how many people ramble on but never get around to answering the questions.

I'm just going to throw these two things out there, and I hope people will consider them:

1. Be very careful about discussing religion in your essay or on your resume. I hope you would not put these things on a professional job application. Be aware that not everyone has the same beliefs as you. Edit out your Biblical quotations as well.

2. When you talk about how you've always wanted to be a CRNA, you do not want to come across as someone who does not want to be a nurse. We are looking for elite nurses. To be one, you have to take pride in your job and be passionate about what you do. In my experience, the people who enjoy nursing are the ones who get the most out of it, and give the most back.


oatmeal

09-20-2015, 11:36 PM

1. Be very careful about discussing religion in your essay

elppA daB, elppA daB, elppA daB. (If you say her name, will she appear?)

I appreciate why this is great advice. That said, here's my conundrum: I am no longer religious but used to be very religious. When I initially got into nursing, nursing was an afterthought, a way to make some scratch on the side so that I could live for Jesus. Church activities were central to my life, entire identity, etc. Up until about three years ago, when I pulled a whole-life 180°.

So now here I am, trying to write personal statements, which often call for me to touch on "community leadership" and "service", which I admittedly didn't do much of outside of the context of religion. Within that context, I decided at age 20 to learn American Sign Language to support deaf congregation members and to help spearhead community outreach for deaf individuals. After a couple years, I was coordinating incoming visiting ASL speakers, and myself traveling around the northeast for speaking assignments, sometimes hitting 3 cities in a weekend. In 2011 I picked up and moved to China, set about learning Chinese Sign Language, and helped establish a fledgling deaf outreach in a large city over there. I returned to the US after a year, and spent four months volunteering as a nurse caring for aging members of a religious order.

Shortly thereafter I had a full-on identity crisis, deciding I didn't believe in any of the things I thought I had believed in, and cut bait.

This is when I really jumped into nursing as a career. I quickly found my way into critical care and haven't looked back.

OK, to the point: Does any of that (middle chunk) belong anywhere near a personal statement? Can I spin any of it to reflect my ability to handle responsibility, to take on & adapt to new challenges, or will I inevitably come across looking like a brainwashed zealot nutter?


Bad Apple

09-21-2015, 09:20 PM

elppA daB, elppA daB, elppA daB. (If you say her name, will she appear?)

So now here I am, trying to write personal statements, which often call for me to touch on "community leadership" and "service", which I admittedly didn't do much of outside of the context of religion. Within that context, I decided at age 20 to learn American Sign Language to support deaf congregation members and to help spearhead community outreach for deaf individuals. After a couple years, I was coordinating incoming visiting ASL speakers, and myself traveling around the northeast for speaking assignments, sometimes hitting 3 cities in a weekend. In 2011 I picked up and moved to China, set about learning Chinese Sign Language, and helped establish a fledgling deaf outreach in a large city over there. I returned to the US after a year, and spent four months volunteering as a nurse caring for aging members of a religious order.

Does any of that (middle chunk) belong anywhere near a personal statement? Can I spin any of it to reflect my ability to handle responsibility, to take on & adapt to new challenges, or will I inevitably come across looking like a brainwashed zealot nutter?

All of that belongs in a personal statement. I would love to meet you and discuss this in a personal interview. It shows initiative, leadership, organization, and interpersonal skills, plus it's just a damn fascinating and inspirational story. The way that you tell it, you did some amazing things in the service of people (who happen to be affiliated with a church). You identified a need and you found a way to address it. Bravo! The fact that a church was the setting or the conduit is irrelevant -- in fact, I've already completely forgotten it, and I'm picturing you as a student, signing to my deaf patient in the OR while I'm rendered completely ineffective at communication in that situation because I'm wearing a mask. And then I'm thinking about all the fabulous life skills you must possess to move to China, learn sign language **in Chinese**, and organize a program there. A second language within a second language. A social program in a foreign society. These are the kind of statements that I lived to read. The next 50 or so essays in the pile are all about when someone's wife got an epidural, or lengthy descriptions of a day spent shadowing a CRNA. You had me at hello.

What I am referring to are the people who say in their statement that God (or Jesus) works "through" them. People who open their essay by quoting scripture. People whose stated goal is to spread the light and the word. All references to "the Cross." Yes, people do write their entire personal statements about their hands being guided by the spirit and their purpose for getting out of bed every morning is to shepherd every..single..person they meet to the truth, the light, and the way. If that's your thing, fine, but keep it to yourself. If you're the volunteer relief organist one Sunday a month, I hope you have more important things to write about. But there's no reason to leave out "good stuff" just because it was affiliated with a church, as long as you're writing about YOU and YOUR accomplishments. Being religious (or having a history) is nothing to be ashamed of. Do not put your candle under a bushel, let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds (said in my best she-reverend voice). But keep your focus on you, and the deeds, and the recipients, not the denomination or the mission or the glory.

I just don't want to be asked in the middle of a 16-hour shift if I've accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, or get complaints from patients and staff that a student is baptizing people in the pre-op holding area. Religion is highly personal and can be a very polarizing subject. In most professions it is well-accepted that you don't discuss religion in the workplace, especially with clients. Healthcare becomes a muddy area because there is a spiritual aspect to caring for people. But you have to do it in the way that makes them comfortable, not the way that makes you feel satisfied. Discussing specifics of your religion in a professional essay that you mailed to a stranger is off-putting, and will make people question your judgment as well as your capacity to respect the beliefs (or absence of beliefs) of other people.


oatmeal

09-23-2015, 09:48 PM

It's clearly an uneasy area for me; I feel I did some good and bold and interesting things for some misguided reasons, but I would nevertheless like the bold and the interesting - and especially the good - to shine through. Thank you much for your kind and helpful reply.


robert.mix

05-19-2016, 03:19 AM

For all of those potential CRNAs out there - here is my opinion and opinion only - this does not and will not guarantee your admission to a CRNA program - my disclaimer!

I have been asked by a number of potential applicants what makes an impressive personal statement. Here was my response to one of them. I hope that it is something that can help other potential applicants. Again, this is MY opinion and only MY opinion:

I can't say I have ever asked anyone to write a "mission statement" before. My understanding of a mission statement is what you are trying to accomplish - more of a goal statement. That would entail both your short and long term goals. As a former CRNA Program Director and long time educator, I can't tell you how many essays I have read. Some are really dynamite, some are duds. If you aren't a good writer (and you know better than anyone) there is no harm, no foul in asking for help. The key is that it flows and is easily readable without jumping all over the place.

Why do you want to be a CRNA? Simple as that to me.

Here is my "Top 10 List" of the do's and do not's of the personal statement:

1. Don't go into your history too much, especially if it is a big sob story. You can't make a program accept you by trying to make them feel sorry for you. They really don't care about the adversity you had to overcome to get to where you are. It gets really corny really fast. I'm not saying don't mention it at all, but try not to make it the focus of why you are wanting to become a CRNA. Avoid sounding like you are a victim.

2. Be clear with what it is you want. It is ok to mention the money - no one believes you would put yourself through this without some financial reward.

3. Be optimistic. Look to the future and what you can do for the profession and yourself. NEVER say you want out of nursing - you are still a nurse as a CRNA and there are some people in the profession (especially if it is a nursing based program) who may be offended by that comment.

4. Never start with a quote. It is SOOOO cliche, and everyone who reads it will roll their eyes right of the bat.

5. This is about you, not about quotes. Keep the philosophical quotes to a minimum. I have read essays that are loaded with quotes and it is really distracting.

6. If it says 500 words, stick to it as closely as possible. I knew a Program Director once who would score any essay over the word limit as a zero. I don't count words personally, but potential SRNAs need to color in the lines - if you can't follow the rules on your application, they fear you won't follow the rules in the program.

7. Be honest. This is your opportunity (depending on what they ask for) to explain any weaknesses in your application. Take ownership of your weaknesses - by the way, they are your fault. Nothing scares an admission's committee more than someone unable to take responsibility for their faults. They are very hard to teach if they can't see any fault in their actions. That "C" in Anatomy is not because your dog died, you caught your S.O. cheating, the teacher hated you, or you had to go to a funeral during midterm exams. It happened because you earned it. No excuses.

8. Be sure to answer the question that they ask you. You would be surprised how many essays you read that don't answer or address the requirements of the personal statement. Make an outline that includes direct answers to their questions. If they say "where do you see yourself in 5 years" be sure to answer that!

9. It is all about form and flow - seriously. Spell check, complete sentences, not shifting from 1st to 3rd person, stay in the same tense, etc. Graduate level work. I have read essays that look like an 8 year old wrote it. Misspelled words really grind my gears. It makes it look like you didn't care enough to make it perfect. If perfection isn't in you, they won't want you.

10. Have someone you trust who will give you HONEST feedback to read it and tell you what they think. Someone who will be critical and give suggestions for improvement. My wife is my greatest critic when it comes to my writing. Sometimes I write things that make sense to me but not to anyone else. Be sure it is cogent and covers all of the points required.

Basically I would suggest starting with "I first learned about the Nurse Anesthesia Profession.... transition into how it piqued your interest, and what you have done to prepare for it. What you plan to do while in school, what you plan to do after you finish. Keep the self adulation under control - nursing was actually ok before you got on the scene. You want to appear humble and eager without sounding cocky.

As an end note - almost everyone puts that they want to return to school after finishing, get a doctoral degree, and teach. Very few actually do, so don't go into that part deeply if you don't really think you want to do that. That is in probably 80% of the essays I read. By the way, for those who think we don't read them, I've got news for you....

Hope this helps - I'll post it on the discussion board for others to read (name removed) so they have an opportunity to learn and respond.

Good luck to you in your goal of becoming a CRNA - still the smartest thing I ever did!

Jerry Hogan


I can say as a person trying to form to words the experience and the motivation for applying to CRNA program in 500 words or less. This is the first post I have found to be very informative and helpful.

If it is possible to ask for help or recommendations in writing my goal statement These are the bullet points I wish to share and include. Can you help me seeing what can be decreased or what I maybe should not include.


I first learned about the nurse anesthesia profession during my OR rotation in nursing school
· Open heart quadruple bypass
· Spent case with CRNA
· Management of Anesthesia
· Autonomy with surgeon and anesthesiologist
· Amount of medications and drips for cardiac versus general surgery cases

Bumps along the way
· I started off my education on a less than stellar gpa
· I realized late that my mediocre gpa was going to hurt me
· I have worked very hard since my junior year in college (2nd year of nursing school) that I needed to do better
· First time college student, learned and grown through the years
· I have had a 3.8+ in my last 60+ hours of education
· 2009 till now I have had a 3.65+
· last 60 hours of course work 3.79
· Trend is upward and continuing

Transferred from Springfield to Kansas City to further develop my critical care experience and experience with post-operative cardiac patients

Desires to
· Advance my leadership in the role of nursing
· Advance my practice and my independence
· Desire to continue to use my hands and my skills
· Love for cardiac surgery and cardiac anesthesia

Longterm Goals Desires
· Hope to find an integration for CRNA’s into the critical care environment
· Hope to aid in the advancement in the cardiac environment for crna’s
· Continue to utilize my nursing profession to serve internationally as I have previously served as a Nurse with Babyheart.org in Guyana SA performing heart surgeries on babies with congenital heart disease.


Robert Mix
PICU Nurse aspiring to be a CRNA


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