Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


School of Nursing



Date of Original Version



The field of nurse anesthesia is an evolving and demanding one, requiring challenging schooling and training. The application and selection process of nurse anesthesia students remains imperfect. The purpose of this study was to examine nurse anesthesia program directors’ attitudes about the perceived importance of admission criteria and attributes in relation to success in the program. A retrospective non-experimental/ descriptive survey, with mixed method qualitative and quantitative data, was used. A convenience sample of 17 program and assistant program directors completed the researcher developed survey. Data were evaluated using descriptive statistics. Nurse anesthesia program directors’ attitudes about perceived importance of admission criteria and attributes in relation to success in the program showed high value placed on science GPA, emotional intelligence, personal interview, GPA, applicant essay, and critical care nursing experience. Science GPA and critical care experience showed the smallest standard deviation ranges and variance. The highest mean score was for science GPA, while the lowest mean scores were applicant age and GRE score. Free text responses highlighted attributes and admission criteria not evaluated in the survey including time/understanding of the program being applied to, time shadowing anesthesia providers, earned CCRN and critical care scenario test performance. The goal of improving the selection process should be to reduce attrition and increase first time national certification exam pass rates. Recommendations for research include expanded evaluation of nurse anesthesia students’ admission requirements and their predictive value in regard to success in nurse anesthesia programs.