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Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

Admission and eligibility questions

Early-decision questions

General questions about the program

How many students are admitted each year and how many applications are received?
The KU Department of Nurse Anesthesia Education is approved to accept up to 36 students per year. Currently 36 students are admitted annually. Each year more than 120 applications are received.

Is employment allowed while in the program?
Becoming a nurse anesthetist is very demanding. Students should expect to devote up to 70 hours per week to program requirements including clinical experiences, class time and study time. Student employment is strongly discouraged throughout the program. The department chair reserves the right to disallow any employment if there is evidence of clinical or academic deficiencies which jeopardize the student’s progress. At no time will a student be employed as an anesthesia provider while in the program.

Does the program accept transfer students?
No. Because of the unique design and content of the curriculum, the KU nurse anesthesia program does not accept transfer students.

Will KU offer a doctorate degree-completion program for CRNAs who already have a master's degree?
No. At this time, KU does not have the resources to offer a degree-completion doctorate program with a specialization in anesthesia for the practicing CRNA.

Does KU's program accept international students?
Applicants to this program must be licensed as an RN in one of the 50 states in the United States and have two years of experience working as a registered nurse. This does not allow international students who would be on a student visa to be admitted. Foreign nationals who are residents in the US and who are licensed registered nurses with experience working as a registered nurse can be admitted to the program. A copy of permanent residence visa (also known as a green card) is required. In addition, if prerequisite course work was completed outside the U.S., please review the foreign transcript policy.

Is the KU nurse anesthesia program in the School of Health Professions or School of Nursing?
This program is offered by the School of Health Professions. For the convenience of potential applicants searching online, the School of Nursing does list the program, too, and has a link to the program website.

What types of ICU experience are acceptable?
The following table details the specific types of experience that are accepted by the program to meet the intensive care unit requirement.

YES
Acceptable ICU experiences:

Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU)

Coronary Care Unit (CCU)

Long Term Acute Care ICU

Neurosurgical/ Nueroscience/
Neurocritical Care
(NSICU)

Pediatric ICU (PICU)

NO
Not acceptable for ICU experience:

Cardiac Catherization Lab (CCL) does not qualify because the physicians, not the registered nurses, are performing or heavily involved in the actual procedures.

Long Term Acute Care Hospital is not an intensive care unit and does not require important procedures such as hemodynamic monitoring, vents, and EKG.

Neonatal ICU (NICU) is not accepted because it does not provide the experience with adults necessary for the program.

Post-Anesthesia Care (PACU) is not accepted because it does not qualify as critical care. 

MAYBE

Flight Nursing may qualify and students should obtain adult ICU experience in a busy ICU. Please consult with the program to determine if flight experience will be accepted.


Admissions: requirements, eligibility, and applications

What experience is needed to be admitted?
Applicants must have experience as a registered nurse specifically in the intensive care setting. Please review the experience requirements for details and send questions about experience requirements to the department at 913-588-6612 or na@kumc.edu.

Are two years of experience as an RN needed, including one full year of intensive care experience, before the application is submitted?
No. It is acceptable to apply while completing the required nursing experience. The experience must be completed by the time of enrollment. The program starts at the end of May each year.

If not licensed in Kansas or Missouri, where is more information available about obtaining licensure?
Visit the Kansas State Board of Nursing at ksbn.org and the Missouri Board of Nursing at pr.mo.gov.

Are Kansas and Missouri licenses required before the application is submitted?
If accepted, RN licenses must be obtained for Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma prior to the start of the program (end of May each year). Any license with restrictions will not be accepted.

Is the applicant's bachelor's degree required to be in the field of nursing?
No. A bachelor's degree in nursing is not required. A bachelor’s degree is required but that degree can be in any appropriate discipline. Appropriate alternate degrees might be in respiratory care, biological sciences, health care administration, pharmacology, psychology, sociology, etc. Applicants with an alternative degree must still be a registered nurse and have two years experience as an RN including one year of intensive care unit experience.

I have a bachelor's degree but I am not a nurse; can I still become a nurse anesthetist?
You must first become a nurse before you can apply to become a nurse anesthetist. The quickest way to become a nurse if you have a bachelor’s degree in a related field is to earn an associate’s degree in nursing and become an RN, or, enroll in an accelerated bachelor's degree to bachelor's degree in nursing program. This generally takes one to two years depending on the student's background and the program entered. After becoming a registered nurse, students still need two years of experience as an RN, including one year of ICU experience, before entering the program.

What are the specific prerequisite courses and grades that must be completed to apply for the program?
Please review the list of prerequisite courses and minimum grade standards on the program's eligibility page.

What if the applicant has completed only one semester of chemistry?
Take a second class which covers material not previously studied. Two semesters of college-level chemistry are required. These two chemistry classes should have included some elements of inorganic, organic and biochemistry. If applicants have only taken one semester of chemistry, they should look for a second chemistry class which would extend their knowledge beyond what they learned in their first chemistry and ensure that they have covered the three areas of chemistry (inorganic, organic and bio). A chemistry I & II sequence would meet this requirement.  An introduction to organic and/or biochemistry would be a good choice for a second chemistry. If unsure which chemistry class to take, please contact our office at 913-588-6612 for assistance.

Is a human physiology accepted if completed more than 10 years ago?
No. Applicants having taken human physiology more than 10 years ago must retake a human physiology class and earn a grade of B or better. If an applicant has taken combined human anatomy/physiology classes, such as A&P I & A&P II, both semesters must have been taken within the past 10 years. If taken more than 10 years ago and without a B or better in both classes, students must retake one course of physiology and earn a grade of B or better to satisfy this requirement.

Is one semester of a combined human anatomy/physiology class sufficient?
If an applicant only has one class of combined human anatomy/physiology, such as A&P, the applicant will be required to take one semester of human physiology and earn a grade of B or better, or students can take a second combined A&P course (see previous question for more details).

Do the prerequisites courses need to be completed before submitting the application?
Applicants having completed all prerequisites (that is, all five science classes, a statistics class, and a bachelor’s degree) by the July 15 application deadline will be given priority in the application process. Applicants who have not met all the prerequisites by the application deadline must submit proof of enrollment in any missing prerequisites. Proof of enrollment may be submitted as part of the online application. All prerequisites must be complete by the end of the summer semester of the year the applicant is applying to the program. 

Applicants with proof of enrollment in prerequisite course work at the time of application should upload that proof as part of the online application. If an applicant has not enrolled in prerequisite course work at the time of application, please submit proof of enrollment directly to the department as soon as it is available. Any proof of enrollment submitted must have the applicant’s name, the name of the course(s), the name of the college and dates of the course(s).

What grade point average is acceptable?
Please review the list of prerequisites, which includes information on our minimum standards for both overall GPA and science GPA. 

How is overall GPA calculated?
The program will calculate the applicant's overall GPA, including grades from every course from every university/college attended. Applicants may calculate overall GPA using their transcripts. If all classes are taken at one college/university, the cumulative GPA should be on your transcript. If classes were taken at more than one college/university, take the total semester grade points earned from all institutions and divide it by the total grade points earned from all institutions.

How is science GPA calculated?
Complete the prerequisite review worksheet PDF document (image). This will help calculate the science GPA and determine if any prerequisite courses are missing. After completing the worksheet, contact the department office if questions remain. If the applicant's science GPA is less than 3.0, retaking one or more science courses may help improve it.  

If only one class at a college was taken, is an official transcript still required?
Yes. Applicants must have one official transcript sent directly to KU from every college attended, even if only one class was taken and even if the credits show up on another transcript. To qualify as "official," transcripts must be sent directly from the institution to KU and not be handled by the student. Transcripts marked “Issued to Student” cannot be accepted, even if provided in a sealed envelope. Please see more instructions on transcripts, including mailing address, on the "how to apply" page.

Who should be used references?
Applicants are required to provide the names and contact information (including email addresses) of two (2) specific individuals when completing the online application. Family members and friends may not be included. The references must be provided by 1) a current nurse manager/supervisor and 2) an advanced-practice nurse or physician having routinely worked with and observed the work of the applicant. One of the references must be from the student's most recent ICU position.

If the applicant's nurse manager is unavailable as a reference, what alternatives are acceptable.  
One reference must be from the applicant's nurse manager. If a nurse manager is not available, this reference can also be from an assistant nurse manager, a charge nurse, a night supervisor, a house supervisor, or a day supervisor. The person who completes this reference must be involved in the evaluation process.

What if more than two references are available?
Only two references are accepted. The admissions committee will not review more than two.

Why is shadowing an anesthesia provider required and how verification of this submitted?
Applicants must shadow with either a CRNA or an anesthesiologist to gain a better understanding of the nurse anesthesia profession through both observation and discussion. Applicants are responsible for arranging their own shadow experience and ensuring that the anesthesia provider completes the verification documentation.

Arrangements can be made to shadow at The University of Kansas Health System by sending a message to na@kumc.edu. Shadow opportunities are subject to faculty availability. It is not necessary to shadow at a hospital affiliated with the KU health system; the experience may be acquired at any hospital including the student's current employer or one in which a relationship exists with an aesthesia provider.

What if the shadowing experience has not been completed by the time application materials are submitted?
If the shadow experience has not been completed by the time application materials are submitted, please fax the verification document to the department at 913-588-3334 when the shadow experience has been completed. This form must be submitted to be considered for an interview.

Is CCRN certification required to apply?
Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification is not required but is strongly recommended. If qualified, applicants should provide a copy of their CCRN certification with their application materials. If applicants become a CCRN after submitting their application materials, they can still submit a copy of their CCRN certification later.

Are life support certifications required to be submitted with the application?
No. If admitted to the program, all students must become BLS-, ACLS- and PALS-certified before the program start date and must keep them current throughout the program. Students are required to submit copies of BLS, ACLS and PALS certifications prior to starting the program.

When must the background check be completed?
Applicants are required to complete a background check upon admission to the program. Final admission is contingent on passing the background check, which is conducted at the student's expense. Read details about this policy and what to expect.

If an application was submitted in the past and the student wishes to re-apply, what is required to be submitted with the second application?
To be reconsidered, all application materials must be submitted again. The only exception is original transcripts are not required to be submitted if already received by KU within the past two years. However, additional transcripts must be submitted if additional courses were taken since the earlier application attempt. Please note: Applicants may only interview for the program two times.

After submitting all applications materials, what happens next?
Applications are processed as soon as possible after receipt. Due to the volume of applications and the number of applications arriving immediately before the application deadline, it can take several weeks or more for processing after July 15. Please email concerns about the application process or materials to na@kumc.edu. Applicants are advised to check the status of the online application regularly at http://www.applyweb.com/cgi-bin/ustat.

When are interviews conducted and how many applicants are interviewed?
Interviews are held in the fall for applicants using the standard application process. For Kansas residents using the early-decision option, interviews are held in the summer. Qualified applicants are invited for an interview and must attend the interview to be considered for admission. Note: not all applicants will be granted an interview. The top 80-90 applicants will interview each year.

Is the GRE required?
No. The Graduate Record Exam is not required for this program and is not considered during the admissions process.

Does the program have an English language proficiency requirement?
All applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate an established level of English language proficiency through either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the academic format of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The test must have been taken within two years of the first semester of enrollment. When submitting test scores to KU Medical Center, please submit only original scores sent directly from the admitting agency. Photocopies will not be accepted. For testing purposes, the ETS school code is 6895. For more information on English language requirements, including acceptable test scores, see http://www.kumc.edu/international/esl_req.html.


Questions about the early-decision option

How many applicants will be admitted with the early-decision option?
Up to 12 applicants may admitted with early decision each year. However, the program may choose not to accept all 12 at that time.

Does the early-decision option interview count toward the two-interview limit policy for the program?
No. Only standard application interviews, held in October, count toward the limit. However, only one interview for early-decision status is allowed.

If not accepted for early-decision status, is a second application required?
No. Students not accepted after early-decision interviews will have their applications rolled over to the standard application cycle. These students may or may not be selected for an interview in October of that same year.

What qualifies a student as a Kansas resident to be eligible for the early-decision option?
Please visit the Office of the Registrar for details.

What is the difference between the standard application and the early-decision option?
The standard application is available March 15 to July 15 each year. Interviews are generally held during the first half of October. Please review the admission and eligibility requirements.

The early-decision option is available March 15 to May 15 each year. Interviews generally take place during the first half of July. The early-decision option follows all of the standard application eligibility requirements except for two differences: 1) Kansas residency is required, and 2) all five prerequisites must be completed prior to applying. Please review details of the early-decision option.


KU reserves the right to make changes in policy, tuition, financial aid, and fee structure as the needs of its administration, faculty, students, and conducting or affiliating institutions change. These changes may occur without prior notification. For any questions, and to assure that you have the most current information available, please contact the department.

Last modified: Nov 15, 2019
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