FAQs Share This OHSU Content

What is a general description of the program?
The Nurse Anesthesia Program at OHSU is 27 months long and students are required to attend on a full-time basis; there is no part-time option. Generally speaking, the first 12 months of the program integrates didactic classroom work along with laboratory experiences in skill development at the Center for Clinical Simulation. The remaining 15 months are spent rotating to various clinical sites where students will gain experiences in the provision of anesthesia to a wide variety of surgical cases and patient populations. One cohort of students is accepted each year.  Each new cohort begins the program in the Fall.

 What are the criteria used to evaluate applications to the nurse anesthesia program at OHSU?
a.       Baccalaureate degree in nursing from a program accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission or the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education.

b.      Undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or greater. In addition, strong preference is given to those applicants with a GPA of 3.0 or greater in their undergraduate science courses.

c.       Completion of the Graduate Record Examination. OHSU recommends a minimum score of 500 in each section (verbal and quantitative) as well as a minimum analytical writing score of 4.0 for the scoring scale used prior to August 2011 or a 144 in the quantitative section, 153 in the verbal section, and a minimum analytical writing score of 4.0 to be competitive. Official GRE scores must be submitted to OHSU School of Nursing.

d.      Eligibility for an Oregon and Washington registered nurse license. If selected for admission to the nurse anesthesia program, applicant must obtain RN licensure in Oregon PRIOR to the beginning of classes.

e.       A minimum of one year, full-time critical care experience. Critical care experience refers to full-time work experience as an RN in an adult intensive care unit: medical, surgical, combined, cardiovascular or neurological. Due to the competitive nature of the application process, most applicants who are admitted to nurse anesthesia programs possess between 2 and 5 years of full-time ICU experience (e.g. surgical, cardiac, cardiovascular, neuro, trauma, medical and burn ICUs). Applicants who have their sole acute care experience in the ER, recovery room, operating room, or neonatal ICU will likely not be admitted to the program at OHSU. Applicants with more recent ICU experience are more competitive.

f.       Completion of a statistics course (undergraduate or graduate) with a grade of "B" or better within five years prior to beginning classes in the nurse anesthesia program. If this requirement has not been met at the time of application, the student will be required to take a statistics course (graduate or undergraduate) BEFORE entering the Masters program. This statistics course will not count towards the Masters degree requirements in the student's program of study. Both Portland Community College (www.pcc.edu) and Portland State University (www.pdx.edu) offer statistics courses. Portland Community College offers a statistics course on-line.

g.      Statement explaining the applicant's purpose in seeking graduate nursing education and understanding of the Nurse Anesthesia role: what is hoped will be derived from the program, the particular areas of interest and concern, and aspirations after graduation. Also explain your clinical experience that you feel prepares you for the role of nurse anesthetist, including work experiences in practice, teaching, administration, as well as evidence of independent role function, certifications and organizational responsibilities.

h.      Three letters of reference from sources knowledgeable of the applicant's work experience and education. References should include at least one academic reference. Other references from the following: employer, instructors, or colleagues are suggested.

i.        Successful completion of personal interview with the Nurse Anesthesia Admissions Committee.

When are applications accepted for admission to the nurse anesthesia program?
Applications are only available online.  Please check the Application Deadlines page for more information.

How competitive is the application selection process?
Nationally, acceptance to a nurse anesthesia program is very competitive. It is not unusual for programs to have at least 5 applicants for every one that is selected. For this reason, programs tend to evaluate the applicant's undergraduate GPA and clinical critical care experience very closely.

I've submitted my application, now what happens?
Following the receipt of all completed applications by the deadline date, a review committee will assess each application and a determination will be made as to whether or not the applicant is selected for an interview. If an invitation to interview is extended, this will most likely be scheduled for approximately February. The Office of Recruitment, Admission and Progression will notify applicants of acceptance shortly after the completion of interviews.

Is there a matriculation deposit?
Yes, once you have received a letter of acceptance to the program, you must submit a deposit of $500.00 to the OHSU School of Nursing in order to hold your place in the cohort. Failure to do so in the time allotted will forfeit your place and an alternate will be selected. The matriculation fee is applied towards payment of tuition for the first term of the program.

What is the accreditation status of the program?
On October 9, 2009 the maximum accreditation status of 10 years was granted to the Nurse Anesthesia Program by the Council on Accreditation (COA). Initial accreditation was granted by the COA in June 2006.

The COA may be contacted at:
Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
222 South Prospect Ave.
Park Ridge, IL 60068-4001
847 655-1160

Can students be employed while enrolled in the program?
Being enrolled in the nurse anesthesia program at OHSU is a full-time endeavor for 27 months and the curriculum is very demanding. Typically, students are not employed while attending a nurse anesthesia program. However, it may be possible for students to work during term breaks and holidays during the first year of the program, though this is strongly discouraged. At no time, may students be employed or compensated in any way for services rendered as a nurse anesthetist while enrolled in the nurse anesthesia program.

How many clinical sites will students typically rotate to and where are they located?
Clinical experiences will be obtained at a variety of outstanding clinical anesthesia sites, including OHSU Hospital, Portland Veteran's Administration Medical Center, Kaiser South Interstate Same Day Surgery Center, Kaiser Sunnyside Hospital, Willamette Valley Medical Center, Providence Newberg Medical Center and Southwest Washington Medical Center (Vancouver, WA) in the Portland metro area. Students will rotate outside the Portland metro area to Three Rivers Community Hospital (Grants Pass, OR) and Tampa General Hospital (Tampa, FL). Some students will also rotate to Seattle Children's Hospital, University of Washington Medical Center (Seattle, WA), Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital (Hood River, OR), Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital (Newport, OR), Curry General Hospital (Gold Beach, OR), Prosser Memorial Hospital (Prosser, WA), and Silverton Hospital (Silverton, OR). Expenses associated with travel and housing at distant sites are the student's responsibility. Currently, clinical experience will be obtained in the States of Oregon, Washington, and Florida; therefore, Oregon, Washington, and Florida RN licensure is required prior to beginning those clinical experiences.

Do I need to possess and maintain Basic Cardiac Life Support, (BCLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) throughout the Program?
Yes. Students entering the program need to be able to document their certifications are current in BCLS, ACLS and PALS on the first day of classes. Current status in all three certifications throughout the program must be maintained. All certifications must be approved by the American Heart Association. It is strongly advised to those applicants selected for the program that they update their certifications as soon as possible after accepting their invitation to the program. These certifications must be maintained throughout the course of study in order for the student to be eligible for the National Certification Exam after graduation.

How successful are students at passing the National Certification Exam after graduating from the OHSU Nurse Anesthesia Program?
For the classes who graduated in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, OHSU graduates pass the NCE on their first attempt 91% of the time. More specifically, in 2008, 100% of the 8 graduates passed the first time; in 2009, 8 of the 10 graduates passed the first time; in 2010, 12 of the 12 graduates passed on the first attempt; in 2011 12 of the 12 graduates passed the first time, and in 2012, 11 of the 14 graduates passed on the first attempt.

Are OHSU Nurse Anesthesia graduates able to secure employment soon after completing the program?
For the graduating class of 2010, 2011, and 2012 100% of the graduates were employed within 6 months after graduation.

How many students who are admitted into the program complete the program?
The overall attrition rate for the 5 classes who have graduated from the OHSU Nurse Anesthesia program is 6.7%.

What are the financial costs associated with the program?
Due to additional costs in offering a nurse anesthesia program at the School of Nursing, students will be charged a proportionately higher rate of tuition versus other nursing graduate tracks at OHSU. The nurse anesthesia program is 106 quarter credits and the tuition fee will be $660.00 per credit hour. So, the total tuition for the MN degree is $69,960.00. This does not include other fees that are paid by students associated with the operations of the university. The University fees can be found by visiting the OHSU Registrar website at http://www.ohsu.edu/registrar.  Textbook and supplies for the program will typically be $1500 to $2000 dollars. Travel and living expenses related to rotating to various clinical sites are the responsibility of the student. Students are strongly encouraged to become associate members of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and the fee is $100.00 for the duration of the program. Application materials will be distributed to each student the first week of classes. There are two Self Evaluation Examinations (SEEs) which are required of students at strategic points in the program. The SEEs are offered by the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists in order to help prepare for the National Certification Examination which will be taken shortly after graduation. Registration for each SEE is approximately $125.00.

Is there financial aid available to students enrolled in the nurse anesthesia program?
Yes. It is strongly advised that applicants, who are accepted into the program, contact the OHSU Office of Financial Aid as soon as possible. There are a limited number of scholarships available. Federal and local student loans are available with low payback interest rates. On an annual basis, Congress typically awards advanced practice nursing traineeship funds which are distributed to nurse anesthesia students nationally. The individual amounts are generally in the $800 to $1,000 range depending on the number of students enrolled in the program. Another source of potential funding is stipends offered to students from sponsoring hospitals that are in particular need of CRNAs.

Are any of the courses in the program of study available to students using distance education technologies?
Yes. During the Fall and Winter term of Year 1 in the program, students will be enrolled in one course each term that utilizes distance technology. During the fall term, NURS 535 Pharmacology of Anesthetic Agents I will be taught in a distance education format, as well as NURS 536 Pharmacology of Anesthetic Agents II in the winter term. There are no additional costs or fees to the student for the courses offered using distance education technology. These classes will be held at the Oregon Health & Science University Portland Campus in the Biomedical Information Communications Center (BICC).