Main Content

Admission – DNAP Program

We are glad you are considering the Texas Christian University School of Nurse Anesthesia, Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice program. Below are application instructions and admission criteria.

The application deadline is May 15 for class beginning in January of the following year. Early submission and completion of application is strongly encouraged.

Apply Now

 

Below are the admission statistics for the latest admission cycle.  This cohort of students will begin in January 2022.

Average GPAs
Overall 3.64
Math and Science 3.62
Last 60 Hours of Coursework 3.72
Average GRE Scores / Percentiles
GRE Quantitative Score 153
GRE Quantitative Percentile 48th percentile
GRE Verbal Score 154
GRE Verbal Percentile 62nd percentile
GRE Writing Score 4
GRE Writing Percentile 59th percentile

The TCU School of Nurse Anesthesia program participates in the Nursing Centralized Application Services (NursingCas). An application fee will be collected by NursingCas.

Applicants meeting the following criteria will be considered for admission:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or an appropriate Bachelor degree from a regionally accredited school or college in the United States.
    • Prerequisite science courses for application to DNAP program:
      1. Anatomy and Physiology I (or its equivalent)
      2. Anatomy and Physiology II (or its equivalent)
      3. Microbiology
      4. Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Organic Chemistry (at least one course in a Chemistry is required for admission).
    • These science courses are within most undergraduate bachelor’s degrees.  If any of these courses have not been taken or included as part of an applicant’s undergraduate degree, the course(s) must be taken prior to consideration for admission. See FAQ 14 and 16 for details.
  • Unencumbered licensure as a registered nurse
  • Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
    • All applicants must submit GRE test scores taken within the last 5 years
    • Applicants must request GRE scores from the test center to be sent directly to NursingCAS
    • Scores must be received by NursingCAS before the program application deadline May 15
    • The minimum GRE scores are
      • Quantitative reasoning 150
      • Verbal reasoning 150
      • Analytic writing 3.5
    • Applicants with a master’s degree must submit official GRE scores of tests taken within the last 5 years
  • The score report code for the TCU School of Nurse Anesthesia is 4373.
  • Overall weighted GPA ≥ 3.0, math and science courses GPA ≥ 3.0, and last 60 hours of coursework GPA ≥ 3.0.
  • A minimum of one year of experience in critical care; two years are recommended.
  • Certification in BLS and ACLS.
  • CCRN exam score sheet
  • Answer 3 questions with short-answer essays
  • CV / Resume
  • Three professional recommendations (one must be from a current supervisor)
  • If English is not the first language, a score of at least 94 on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

All documents, transcripts, test results, and references will be submitted to and verified by NursingCas.

The documents below are part of the TCU DNAP graduate application. These two forms must be uploaded to NursingCas upon completion.

Anesthesia Shadowing Experience Form
Work History Verification Form

Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. All applications and required materials, including letters of recommendation and the application fee, must be received by May 15 for the class beginning the following January. Candidates will be notified of admission status by August 31.

Tuition and fees are packaged for the entire program and are not subject to increase. Charges are incrementally paid throughout the student’s enrollment.

Class of 2023

Spring 2021 $7,284.00
Summer 2021 $7,284.00
Fall 2021 $19,425.00
Spring 2022 $18,210.00
Summer 2022 $14,568.00
Fall 2022 $9,712.00
Spring 2023 $9,712.00
Summer 2023 $9,712.00
Fall 2023 $9,712.00
Total $105,619.00

The following approximate amounts are in addition to TCU’s tuition/fees and are subject to change without written notice:

University health insurance $1,082/semester
Textbooks Approximately $2,000
Vehicle registration $75
Housing at Primary Clinical Site Student responsibility
Custom molded earpiece $55
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Associate membership fee $200
National Certification Exam fee $950

Each student must be in good physical and mental health, free of communicable disease when involved in patient care, and have a medical questionnaire and health history form on file with the University and School of Nurse Anesthesia (SONA) prior to enrollment.

Each student must submit proof of the following to the University prior to enrollment at TCU:

  • Meningitis ACWY (Menactra® or Menveo®) administered within the past 5 years. (Students over the age of 22 are exempt from this requirement.)
  • Two doses of the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccination or proof of immunity to Measles and Mumps. (Students born before 1957 are exempt from this requirement.)

Each student must submit proof of the following to the School of Nurse Anesthesia (SONA):

  • MMR Series 1 & 2 or positive titer of each measles, mumps, rubella
  • Hep B Series 1-3 or positive Hep B titer
  • Varicella Series 1 or positive varicella titer
  • Tdap immunization within last 10 years
  • TB test current year
  • Seasonal flu immunization
    • While TCU is not requiring COVID vaccination, the overwhelming majority of the clinical sites are requiring proof of COVID vaccination (2 doses of Moderna/Pfizer or 1 dose of J&J). If students are assigned to a clinical facility that mandates the vaccine, he/she must provide proof of vaccination to the TCU SONA for credentialing purposes or the student must obtain an exemption from the facility. It is the student’s responsibility to seek and obtain the exemption.

For more information, see www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize/ or call the Texas Department of State Health Services, Immunization Division, 1.800.252. 9152.

Second year students anticipating an August start date for their clinical residency must have all immunizations, certifications, appropriate RN license and health insurance current and on file in the SONA office by May 1. Credentialing packets are then shared with the clinical sites.  All clinical students must maintain the currency of immunizations, certifications, RN license, and health insurance both with the SONA office and their clinical site. Failure to comply with these requirements will result in suspension.

 

Environmental Exposure

Providers in anesthesia are advised that several studies find an increase in congenital abnormalities in children of parents exposed to inhalation agents. Results of these studies are questionable. Students of childbearing age are advised to use caution and limit their exposure to inhalation agents.

Dorsch, J.A. & Dorsch, S.E. (2008). Understanding anesthesia equipment (5th ed.). Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.

 

Health Insurance

Students must carry health insurance throughout the program. Although TCU offers a major medical insurance plan for students to purchase, students are advised to evaluate several plans before selection. Proof of coverage is required. Students are not hospital employees and are not covered by Worker’s Compensation.

 

Nurse Anesthesia Drug and Alcohol Abuse Statement

The following policy is in accordance with the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs’ Statement on admissions inquiries regarding drug and alcohol use.

  • Applicants will be asked if they are currently using illegal drugs, abusing prescription drugs or engaging in intemperate alcohol use at the time of application. An affirmative answer is grounds for denial of admission.
  • After acceptance into the School of Nurse Anesthesia, but prior to enrollment, the student will be asked about prior illegal drug usage, abuse of prescription drugs and prior intemperate alcohol use. Past users will be monitored, including, but not limited to, drug testing. Failure to comply with this policy or failure of a drug screen will result in dismissal from the program. The University or clinical training facility pays for the drug testing.
  • All students are required to submit to random or scheduled drug testing at any point in their training based on the decision of the University or clinical training site. Failure to comply with this policy or failure of a drug screen will result in immediate dismissal from the program. The University or clinical training facility pays for the drug testing.
  • In the event of a failed drug screen, the University or clinical training site will provide information about rehabilitation. The University or the clinical training site will not incur any expense in this matter. In Texas, referrals are made to:

Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (T-PAPN)
7600 Burnet Road, Suite 440
Austin, Texas 78757-1292
1-800-288-5528

  • Following successful completion of a drug rehabilitation program, students may apply for reinstatement in the program. Readmission is not automatic; cases are individually considered.

Criminal background checks are required for insurance coverage and facility credentialing prior to entering the clinical residency. Students with concerns or questions should contact the director before beginning the program. Prior conviction(s) may result in denial of admission to the clinical residency.

Q1: When is your deadline for applications?
A: Interviews for the class enrolling each January are held the last week of July and/or the first week of August.  The deadline for applications and all supporting materials is May 15th.  Complete the application with all supporting documentation and pay the associated fees in NursingCAS prior to the May 15th deadline.

Q2: Who do I contact for questions regarding my application process?
A: Please contact the following for application process questions: crna@tcu.edu

Q3: What types of critical care experience are accepted?  Which are preferred?

A:  Critical care experience must be obtained in a critical care area managing patients with a critical illness* within the United States, its territories, or a U.S. military hospital outside of the United States. During this experience, the registered professional nurse has developed critical decision making and psychomotor skills, competency in patient assessment, and the ability to use and interpret advanced monitoring techniques. A critical care area is defined as one where, on a routine basis, the registered professional nurse manages one or more of the following: invasive hemodynamic monitors (such as pulmonary artery catheter, CVP, arterial), cardiac assist devices, mechanical ventilation, and vasoactive infusions. Examples of critical care units may include but are not limited to surgical intensive care units (SICU), cardiovascular intensive care units (CVICU), coronary intensive care units (CICU), medical intensive care units (MICU), pediatric intensive care units (PICU), and neonatal intensive care units (NICU). This definition is in line with the Council on Accreditation for Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.

  1. *TCU School of Nurse Anesthesia accepts the definition of “critical illness” as defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): “a condition that acutely impairs one or more vital organ systems such that there is a high probability of imminent or life-threatening deterioration in the patient’s condition (e.g., central nervous system failure; circulatory failure; shock; renal, hepatic, metabolic, and/or respiratory failure).”

B:  Anesthesia practice most closely mirrors the types of skills and knowledge used as an ICU nurse. Preferable critical care background upon application includes: SICU, CVICU, MICU, general ICU, neurosurgical/neurological ICU, coronary ICU, trauma ICU, and PICU.  RNs entering the program with these clinical backgrounds show the highest correlation with a first-time pass on the national certification examination (NCE) upon graduation from nurse anesthesia educational programs. This data is published on an annual basis by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).

  1. Applicants with NICU experience only will be considered as long as other criteria meet or exceed the application criteria.

Q4:  Will my application still be considered if my background is not in one of the areas mentioned above for “preferable critical care background“?                                                                         

A:  Those who have experience in other areas may be considered provided they can demonstrate competence with managing unstable patients, invasive monitoring, ventilators, and critical care pharmacology.  Therefore, consideration will be given to those with PACU, flight nursing, emergency department, step-down unit, or heart catheterization lab experience as long as the applicant meets the practice hour requirement as defined below (875 hours caring for critically ill patients in a setting such as:  SICU, CVICU, MICU, general ICU, neuro ICU, trauma ICU, coronary ICU, or PICU) in the year preceding application.

  1.  Practice hour requirement for consideration of admission to TCU School of Nurse Anesthesia:  In alignment with the American Association of Critical Care Nurses’ (AACN’s) criteria to sit for the CCRN exam, applicants must meet the practice hour requirement caring for critically ill patients in one of the aforementioned settings for “preferable critical care background” in the previous year prior to application to the TCU School of Nurse Anesthesia.  The practice hour requirement is: at least 875 hours accrued in the year preceding the application.
  2.  Applicants who fall within this category outside of “preferable critical care background” will be required to submit a letter of recommendation from a supervisor that attests to the applicant’s competence in the following:  managing unstable patients, utilization of invasive monitoring, knowledge and skill in the use of ventilators, and knowledge and use of critical care pharmacology.

Q5:  I have been working in an ICU that is equitable with the above definition of “preferable critical care background“, but I have an opportunity to step away from the ICU to be a member of the rapid response team at my hospital.  Is this acceptable and will I still be considered for admission to TCU School of Nurse Anesthesia?     

A:  We highly recommend applicants be employed in an ICU at the time of application AND interview.  If an applicant remains in their respective ICU, while being a member of a rapid response team, that would be acceptable.  Applicants who have rapid response team experience ONLY (without previous ICU experience) will not meet the criteria for admission.

Q6:  I have been working in an ICU that is equitable with the above definition of “preferable critical care background“, but I have an opportunity to step away from my current ICU to be a travel nurse.  Is this acceptable and will I still be considered for admission to TCU School of Nurse Anesthesia?   

A:  We highly recommend applicants be employed in an ICU at the time of application AND interview.  If an applicant chooses to be a travel nurse prior to application, that is still acceptable as long as the travel nursing assignments remain in an ICU as defined above in Q4.

Q7:  I have been a charge nurse, shift charge nurse, and/or other administrative role in an ICU.  Will I still be considered for admission to TCU School of Nurse Anesthesia?

In line with the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN):  “Nurses serving as manager, educator (in-service or academic), APRN or preceptor may apply hours spent supervising nursing students or nurses at the bedside.  Nurses in these roles must be actively involved in direct patient care; for example, demonstrating how to measure pulmonary artery pressures or supervising a new employee or student nurse performing a procedure” (taken from AACN, CCRN Handbook).

  1. Therefore, applicants in these roles will be considered as long as the applicant has been actively involved in direct patient care as described above.

Q8: How much time should I allow for GRE scores to reach NursingCAS?
A: Allow at least 30-45 days prior to the May 15th deadline for NursingCAS to receive the official GRE scores.

Q9: Do program-required materials need to be submitted all at once?
A: No.  Documents can be uploaded to the appropriate fields in NursingCAS at any time prior to submission of your application. Once all materials are uploaded, pay the application fee and submit prior to the May 15th deadline.  After you have paid the application fee and submitted, you will no longer be able to upload or make changes to any of the TCU required documents.

Q10: Is TCU’s School of Nurse Anesthesia authorized to deliver distance learning to me if I reside outside of Texas?
A: Because TCU offers distance/online education, including clinical experiences, TCU must comply with applicable Texas laws regarding distance education, including rules and regulations of the Texas Board of Nursing, and TCU may also have to comply with the laws of the state where a distance/online student resides or engages in a clinical experience, including that state’s board of nursing rules and regulations.  While state higher education requirements and boards of nursing rules and regulations vary greatly, TCU is pursuing program approval by boards of nursing in most states.  As of January 2021, TCU graduate nursing and nurse anesthesia programs are not authorized to participate in any distance education, including clinical placements, in the following states:  Maryland, New York, and Tennessee.  The states of North Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin have requirements for programs to deliver distance education in their states.  Contact the School of Nurse Anesthesia if you reside in one of these states and intend to apply for the nurse anesthesia program.  Please refer to the State Authorization and Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) here:  SARA; and please contact the program director for questions:  r.ward@tcu.edu

Q11: If I complete TCU’s graduate nursing program, will I be eligible to practice as a Nurse Anesthetist outside of Texas?
A: TCU’s DNAP program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation. Graduating from this program meets the educational requirements to take the National Certifying Examination (NCE) administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). To practice as a Nurse Anesthetist also requires additional professional licensure or other recognition by the state board of nursing where   you intend to practice. In some states, for example, you must be licensed as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. As of January   1, 2019, graduating from the program and passing the NCE meet the educational requirements for the additional licensure or recognition necessary to practice as a Nurse Anesthetist in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. State licensure requirements to practice as a Nurse Anesthetist may change and states may have conditions for licensure or recognition in addition to the educational requirements described above. If you would like additional information about TCU’s program and/or the educational requirements for professional licensure to practice as a Nurse Anesthetist in another state, please contact the program director at: r.ward@tcu.edu. Before beginning the program, prospective students should consult the appropriate licensing agency in the state where they intend to practice to request information and additional guidance to ensure the TCU nurse anesthesia program will satisfy all of the requirements to practice as a Nurse Anesthetist

Q12: What degree plan does the TCU School of Nurse Anesthesia (SOA) offer?
A: The SOA offers the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP). The DNAP is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. Graduates are eligible to sit for the National Certifying Examination administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). Prospective students should contact individual state boards of nursing (BON) regarding requirements to practice as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in their respective state. The DNAP degree is for post baccalaureate registered nurses. This program is an innovative, solutions focused program designed to prepare nurse anesthesia students to lead efforts in solving complex health care issues and developing new health care opportunities, specifically in the context of nurse anesthesia practice. The program builds on TCU’s mission: “Learning to Change the World” and will charge DNAP students with “Making a Difference in Health Care”. This solution focused program incorporates the essentials established by the American Academy of Colleges of Nurses (AACN) and the standards for specialty education in nurse anesthesia established by the COA. The DNAP for post baccalaureate registered nurses provides the terminal academic preparation for nurse anesthesia practice with advanced, specialized knowledge and skills to meet the health needs of diverse populations. The purpose of this track is to prepare nurse anesthetists who are equipped to assume clinical leadership positions in a variety of health care, business, government, and educational organizations.

Q13: Which bachelor’s degrees do you accept in addition to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing?
A:  A bachelor’s degree in a natural science may be accepted. Examples are chemistry, biology, microbiology, etc. If you have another degree, your past academic background is individually considered for admission to the School. Items considered include a strong science background and good performance history

Q14: Are there any prerequisite courses that I must take prior to admission?
A: Undergraduate prerequisite courses that are required for admission to the School of Nurse Anesthesia include:  Anatomy and Physiology I (or its equivalent), Anatomy and Physiology II (or its equivalent), Microbiology, and either Chemistry, Biochemistry, or Organic Chemistry (at least one course in a Chemistry is required for admission).  These science courses are within the curriculum of most undergraduate bachelor’s degrees.  If any of these science courses have not been taken in the curriculum of an applicant’s undergraduate degree, the course(s) must be taken prior to consideration for admission.

There is no requirement for additional courses beyond the prerequisites; however, the nurse anesthesia curriculum is heavily science-based.  Therefore it is recommended that applicants take an additional undergraduate or graduate-level science-based course at a regionally accredited university or college within 5 years of starting the program.

Q15: I will not have my bachelor’s degree before the deadline. Can I still be accepted for an interview?
A: If you are a registered nurse with the appropriate critical care experience and in the last semester of your BSN program, it is possible to be granted an interview and be provisionally accepted on completion of the degree.

Q16: Should I retake any courses?
A: We closely review grades in all science-based and mathematics courses. If an applicant has less than a grade of B in any science or mathematics course in their undergraduate bachelor’s program, it is highly recommended that the applicant retake a course that is comparable to the undergraduate course in which less than a B was received. Alternatively, the applicant can choose to take a graduate level course in a comparable  area. Retaken courses carry greater weight than courses taken in early college years that may have resulted in lower grades. It is recommended that courses be taken at a regionally accredited university or college.

Q17: Is there a substitution for the CCRN?
A: The CCRN is a requirement and cannot be substituted by CEN, RN-C, etc. CCRN content scores (cardiovascular, pulmonary, etc.), should be submitted for verification of CCRN certification.

Q18: I’ve only been in the ICU three months, am I eligible for an interview?
A: No, you must have obtained the CCRN certification prior to being granted an interview and that certification requires a minimum of 1,750 hours of critical care experience to become eligible. The admissions committee highly recommends 2 years of critical care experience.

Q19: Can I work the first two semesters?
A: Yes, you are expected to continue to work in your critical care unit. The online classes are designed for RNs who work.

Q20: What is the minimum score required for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)?
A: The minimum scores for the GRE are quantitative reasoning 150, verbal reasoning 150, and analytic writing 3.5.  The GRE is one of many criteria that we use to evaluate eligibility for admission into the Nurse Anesthesia program. The personal interview, grades, recommendations, and experience are all evaluated individually. GREs must be taken within the last 5 years for all applicants. The analytical writing test of the GRE is required.

Q21: How do I spend time with a CRNA observing cases?
A: It is highly recommended that you contact a CRNA in your facility regarding observation. Some facilities are reticent to allow outside individuals to observe due to HIPAA regulations; however, it is typically easier to observe in the facility where you are an employee than another facility.

Q22: How many students are accepted each year?
A: The number accepted each year depends upon the number of qualified applicants interviewed and the number of clinical opportunities available. This number varies from year to year. Typically, 65-75 students are accepted each year.

Q23: I was not accepted and wish to reapply. What is the process?
A: Visit the NursingCAS sign in page.  Click on ‘reapplying to NursingCAS?’ for more information.

Q24: How are clinical sites assigned?
A: At the time of interview you will be asked to rank your preference for clinical sites. We attempt to place students in primary clinical facilities according to their ranking.

Q25: What is the difference between a primary clinical and an enrichment clinical site?
A: The primary clinical site is where the majority of your anesthetic cases are obtained and where you will spend a large portion of your 16-month clinical residency. Most clinical sites do not have all types of cases required for program completion; therefore, students may need to rotate to other clinical sites for specialty cases (OB, Pediatrics, etc.). Time at those sites varies from 4 to 8 weeks in length.

Q26: What can I expect once I start classes on-campus?
A: Once you start the face-to-face part of the program, classes are typically taught Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with laboratory and simulation experiences Tuesdays or Thursdays. Face-to-face classes in the School of Nurse Anesthesia are frequently team-taught by full-time nurse anesthesia faculty. Laboratory experiences include small-group immersion in the human patient simulation lab and group activities in a human cadaver lab.

Q27: Where do I get answers to my questions?
A: Please email your questions to crna@tcu.edu.