Prepare with purpose, answer with confidence, and let your passion for CRNA shine in every interview moment. Your journey begins with the right words. In this episode, our host Jenny Finnell is going to thoroughly discuss the most commonly asked CRNA school interview questions and how to best prepare for and answer them. Throughout the episode, she covers the power of preparation, navigating tough questions, showcasing clinical knowledge, articulating your value, and even asking meaningful questions to the interviewers. If you’re preparing for your CRNA school interview or aiming to improve your interview skills, this episode can help you shine during this crucial step towards your CRNA journey. Tune in and take your CRNA interview game to the next level! Remember, being well-prepared for your interview is a big stepping stone to your dream CRNA career.
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CRNA School Interview Questions
I am excited to do this topic with you because I know interviews are quickly approaching. We are going to go over real CRNA school interview questions. This was from a group panel mock interview that we did with several CRNA faculty. These are direct questions that students were asked by program faculty during this mock interview. I would love to review some of these questions with you and help provide you with some general feedback about how to answer them, as well as just some general interview tips. Let’s go ahead and get into this episode.
Let’s get into some CRNA school interview questions. October is a very busy month for interviews, which is right around the corner. I’m hoping this episode is timely for you in your CRNA interview prep. Congratulations, if you have an interview coming up, if you are anxiously awaiting your interview, I wish you luck in getting that golden ticket, and I hope that you are actively preparing. Do not wait until you get asked or invited to interview. Make sure you are preparing at the time you submit your application because you never know how much notice you are going to get.
I have had students tell me that they have days’ notice. While other schools may give you a month or two. You just sometimes don’t know. It’s always best to prepare that you will have an interview. The first tip for your CRNA School interview is to slow down to make sure that you are enunciating your words and making sure that you are understanding the question that is being asked.
I know there’s a lot of nerves that go into the interview process, so sometimes when you are under that pressure you maybe need to repeat what you think they are saying, so you make sure you understand the question at hand. It’s important to make sure that you are thoroughly answering the actual question versus going off on a tangent, because you may only have 20 minutes, and if you spend 5 minutes not answering their question, they are going to either move forward or not even ask you. It could overall hinder your ability to have a successful interview.
You can always take a drink of water. That’s a good way to take pauses. You can bring that with you. That’s a good way to take that extra brief moment. It can also help because when you get anxious, once you get dry mouth or that tickle in your throat like you have to cough. Having water is not a bad idea. You can also ask them again, to repeat the question, or you can repeat the question to make sure you understand what they are asking.
You do want to make sure that you are not necessarily doing this every single time. That can also slow down the interview. Use it when it’s appropriate. I wouldn’t use it as a default method of answering their questions. Use your judgment. If it’s a straightforward question and you got it, go ahead and answer it. If it’s a more complex question that may have multiple steps, it’s okay to answer one part at a time and make sure you are repeating the question so you make sure you are answering all the parts. Those can be challenging and that can happen. Sometimes it’s hard to answer those questions without repeating what the question is. Make sure that you are essentially answering the question.
Don’t go into more detail than you need to. It’s almost like less is more in this situation. I know sometimes it feels awkward to just shut it off and have that moment of silence, but it’s best to just stop versus continuing down a potential rabbit hole that could lead to questions that maybe you are not prepared for.
Remember that they have the gas pedal, but you have the steering wheel. They are going to feed you these questions at their pace, and you, again, are steering and directing how you answer the questions. Everything that comes out of your mouth is fair game for them to question you further. This is why preparation is key. You don’t want to take your interview down a path that you have not prepared for or are not ready to discuss in more detail.
A question that they may ask you is, “Tell me about a time you had to say no.” When asked, you can maybe have several different directions with this question. One thing I want to warn you that could be seen as a negative is saying things like, “I’m historically a people pleaser.” Even if you are, that’s okay but that has a negative association with it. That’s probably not the best thing to label yourself as, even if you have some traits around that.
It’s okay to say that historically you have had a hard time saying no to friends and family but, “I have always preached what helped me because I’m a people pleaser.” I wouldn’t say in an interview, but you could always say, “Historically in the past, I have had a hard time saying no when asked to fulfill certain tasks or roles within my life, whether that be friends, family, colleagues, or peers. What I have had to come to terms with is every time I say yes to someone, I’m equally saying no to something else. Sometimes those no’s could be to self-care or my family. That has helped me be able to say no more often and be able to prioritize what I say yes to.”
That’s a great way to answer that. Technically that is because you are a people pleaser. You don’t necessarily have to label yourself as that. You can just essentially explain how you have overcome the pressure of saying no, and how that makes you feel icky by realizing when you say yes to something, you are also saying no. It makes it easier to say no because you have to think about what else are you saying yes or no to in the process. I hope that helps. That’s an okay way to answer the question. You just want to make sure that you are not labeling yourself negatively and equally explaining how you have overcome that hurdle as well.
Think about the time you had to say no. For example, maybe that was in the ICU. I can think about plenty of times I have had to say no in the operating room setting. The most important part about saying no or even disagreeing with someone is just having your rationale. That is the most important aspect. Essentially, when you are telling this story of, “Tell me about a time you had to say no,” it’s important that you have a rationale that you used to openly communicate why you felt that way.
Maybe that’s advocating for the patient or because they didn’t have a full picture of what you understood. You helped explain that to give them the full picture so they could understand why you had to say no. This is the type of response you are looking for to make sure you are giving them some concrete rationale behind why you said no in that situation and what the result was because of it.
Another question is, “Tell me about the hardest skill set in the ICU that you have had to overcome.” Whether that’s time management, whether that is saying no, or maybe advocating for your patient and having that voice at the bedside. Whatever it is, find a skillset that you found difficult when you were new in the ICU, and especially a skillset that you now have mastered, and share why it was hard for you in the beginning and what you have done to overcome that, and how you have now mastered that skill.
They want to see your progress. They are looking for something that you found difficult that now you have been able to find a way to improve upon. Similarly, when you start CRNA school, there are going to be a lot of skill sets that you are going to find very difficult, but you can’t just try to master them. You have to master them. You have to be willing to work on your weaknesses. That is what they are looking for, how have you done this in the past in the ICU and potentially how can this relate to improving your ability to transition into the role of a nurse anesthesia resident? That is the type of answer they are looking for.
We have had people say things like precepting was hard in the beginning, but why was that, and how is it going now? The fact that you were frequently tripled with very critically sick patients and time management was very key. Not only time management but also prioritizing the patient’s needs. Explain how you have been able to conquer that challenge how that has made you a better clinician as an ICU nurse and how it will help you transition into the role of a nurse anesthesia resident.
Similarly in precepting. How has precepting, even though maybe it was difficult in the beginning because maybe you had to slow down a little bit? When you do precept, it can slow you down. I know that’s always been my thing. When I have a student, especially on a busy day, not only do I have to watch them, explain to them different steps and answer their questions, but I have to keep pace. I have to make sure the room still goes. It can become an extra challenge, but in a good way because it helps you not only effectively and efficiently precept, but it helps you equally have to stay on task.
It is more of a challenge, and that can be very hard, especially in the beginning. I will never forget that I was out of school for a week like a new grad. They gave me a student in my room and I’m like, “Already. Do you want me?” It felt like going from being a student to now all of a sudden I have a student. That was scary for me at first because it felt very overwhelming. I’m still trying to get my bearings and here it is I’m going to have to try to help them get their bearings.
For the most part, what you do is just do what you can. It’s all about open communication, especially if you are in a busy room. Typically, when I start my mornings and especially in a busy room, I let the student know ahead of time that it’s important that we keep the pace and this is why, and this is what to expect. I set the tone from the very beginning that it’s not that I want to be short with you or that I don’t want to thoroughly explain step by step if you need that, but there’s going to be a time and place that we can do that, that’s outside of the OR or in between cases. During the case, we are going to probably have to keep pace and I will try to let you do as much as you can, but if I have to jump in to make sure we are keeping pace, then I’m going to do that because we have to keep the room moving.
I am open and honest with that’s the way this day’s going to go. It has nothing to do with the way I feel about you or your ability, but I ultimately have a responsibility to maintain the pace of the room as the CRNA in the room. That’s how I handled those situations by just being open and communicating. When they are asking you questions like that, when you are precepting in the ICU that would be a good way of you explaining how you handled those types of situations. We can combat those challenging scenarios where you are precepting and you have a busy assignment.
The next question that they could potentially ask you is, “What would your preceptor say about you now?” This causes you to have some self-reflection. What would they say about you now? Meaning, what would they think about you in the beginning versus now? That’s what it’s asking you to do if they had to say what you are most improved on or that type of thing, that’s what they are looking for what would they say about you now? It means they have seen you develop over a period of 2, 3, or 6 months, and what would they say about you now that they know you well?
This is looking for you to self-reflect on your growth throughout that time as a new ICU nurse and where things left off when you were ending your precepting time. A type of question that is asking you to self-reflect. Make sure that your answer is purposeful and that you are not just going to ramble. Make sure you have a clear and concise idea in mind of what you accomplished during that precepting time and what your mentor or your preceptor complimented you on or told you you did a great job on or even gave you critical feedback on that later down the road you have showed vast improvement on. Think about those things and that would be good things to keep it straight to the point concrete.
Make sure that when you are giving your responses you are answering the question and then stopping so that you are not continuing to go on and on and ramble. Give specific examples. The more specific, the better. This is why it’s nice ahead of your interview to jot down actual concrete examples of real-life practices that have happened to you because it’s hard to think about those things on the spot. You want to have concrete examples to give them to paint a clear picture so they can think the way you are thinking and put themselves in the situation that you were in mentally.
Think about what you would want if someone were telling you a story. It is just telling a story, you want to make sure you have very specific examples. Otherwise, it’s hard to visualize what they are telling you. An answer that was given was that they are now more moldable than when they were first started. This could be an example of how I was able to be more flexible in a clinical scenario where I’d never had this type of patient before, but because I had X, Y, and Z experiences, I was able to adapt to this new situation very quickly and take a new admit while my preceptor was very busy tending to her other very sick patient.
Whatever the story is, think of concrete examples of this is what happened. This is why I know I’m more moldable or more flexible now than I was in the beginning. I felt more confident taking X type of patient when prior to that, I probably would have felt uncomfortable or would have needed more help to manage this type of patient.
The next question is, “Tell me about a time on the unit that you had to think fast and what you did about it.” This is a two-part question. They are asking for a time when you had to make a very quick split-second decision, and then how you handled yourself during that split-second decision. You will be doing this all the time as an anesthesia provider. A lot of what we do is making very quick judgment calls in the OR and trying to troubleshoot what’s the cause, and then taking quick action to make sure whatever could potentially be occurring doesn’t progress and become more severe.
Another example I can give you that happened was during a colonoscopy. My patient was vagal. They were already slow in the fifties when they started. They were a healthy teenage athlete. When they dropped in the 40s, especially the low 40s, I immediately knew I was going to have to take some action. I quickly told the surgeon that they were insufflating the bowel and that the patient was vagaling down. By the time I had given Robinul, I just started with 0.1. They were already in the 30, so I gave them, and then they dropped to the 20.
It progressed very quickly. Had I not seen that trend or had my back turned to the patient, maybe I wouldn’t have noticed it as quickly. The fact that I was paying attention, knowing that they were insufflating, knowing they were going around that curve in the bowel, that’s usually when the vagal response occurs. I was watching that and seeing the downward trend and saying, “I’ve got to take action now because patients can go asystolic from that. I have seen that happen too, and it can happen very quickly.” That’s an example in the operating room.
Think about things in the ICU setting where you have had to make quick judgment calls and do some active communication or advocacy for your patients that needed a very quick resolution. I know you can think of several, so just jot them down and take notes on them. This person gives an example of calling out for help for a patient who was desatting and then actively taking action to remediate the situation, meaning giving them oxygen and sitting their head off the bed. It ended up happening, the patient aspirated and did a thorough assessment to figure out what caused this acute desaturation and went from there. That was a scenario they played out in this question. Think of your example and just make sure it’s precise and to the point.
What they liked about that response too is you are not afraid to ask for help. Similarly, like in the OR, my patient had gone asystolic, you better believe that I would have had the attending at the bedside. When you stop insufflation and things like that, I have never had someone stay asystolic. Drugs won’t work, meaning if you are giving atropine and they are completely asystolic, they are going to need chest compressions to circulate that atropine.
Usually, removing the stimulation helps break that vagal but you have to think about that too. If you are giving drugs and your heart is not pumping, what are the drugs going to do besides sit in your vein? Make sure you are calling reinforcements because now you could be potentially running the code and need all hands on deck.
Thinking about like what would be next. Calling for help and making sure that you are getting reinforcements to provide the extra support you may hopefully not need, but calling them ahead of time is always key. It could not be there in an instant. They may take a minute or two to get there. A minute or two during a code situation feels like a very long time. Even a minute feels like a long time during a code. Usually, it doesn’t take that long. If you are in that dire strait, you usually have 10 people in your room in 15 seconds, but you just never know.
As a CRNA, sometimes I was off an EP lab, which was way down past the operating room. If you were walking briskly, it would probably take you a solid two minutes to get there. That doesn’t seem like a long time, but when you are in a bad situation by yourself, 2 to 3 minutes is a very long time. It was always one of those things where you had to make sure you were calling out very early and anticipating needing the extra set of hands, even if they showed up and you were like, “False alarm.”
It was better to have them show up and have it be a false alarm than have them be delayed getting to a very critical situation. Now you are in there managing it by yourself when things could have gone way smoother, had you had an extra set of skilled hands. Those types of things can make or break the situation. It’s always better to be proactive in that approach and express that, whatever situation you can think of that you have experienced in the ICU, make sure you are expressing that and sharing that story.
Another question that they could ask you is, “Tell me about a favorite drip in the unit and why.” The students answering this question picked Levo because they were typically watching things like cardiac index and cardiac output, they didn’t go into too much detail on how Levo worked. They just said it was a good drug to help the cardiac output, and that’s why they picked it and ended it there. The feedback was they would, “You are right. It does help the cardiac output,” but they want to know why. How does the mechanism of Levo help the cardiac output?
They are looking for what receptors it affects and beta more than alpha or alpha more than beta dose-dependent. They want more details. What dose would you start them on versus how would you titrate it? They wanted those types of very detailed responses to see that you have a true understanding of how the drug functions as the mechanism of action and how you would be dosing and using the drug. That was the recommendation from there.
That was one of those things where it was caught off the spot. I’m sure this person probably knew, but maybe they were afraid to go into too much detail because they were afraid they would mess it up. This is where preparation can help you. If you know in your mind that if they ask you about a drug, you are going to pick Levophed, then you can confidently prepare yourself to answer that question in detail.
When they do ask you that question, you can feel comfortable going into more detail without shying away from it. I have a feeling this student just shied away from it because they got nervous. I have a feeling they probably knew, but they were afraid if they messed it up, it would be worse. It’s important to pick a drug, 1 or 2 drugs that you want to know by the back of your hand. You should know more than two drugs, but I’m just saying pick a couple of drugs that, remember you are driving the steering wheel, you are driving the direction of the interview. Pick a couple of drugs that you know like the back of your hand and very well. Most times they let you steer.A student usually shies away because they get nervous. But they probably need to be afraid. If they messed it up, they would be worse. Click To Tweet
If they just randomly pick Milrinone, for example, and that was not in your wheelhouse, then you do the best you can and make sure that you just tell them what you do know versus just saying, “I don’t know.” Tell them what you do know about Milrinone and then end it there versus just saying, “White flag. I didn’t prepare for that,” thing.
Know that they focus a lot on CLS drugs and then typical drugs that you would typically use as drips in the ICU. They do tend to steer to those types of drugs versus random drugs. However, I have heard students being asked about heparin or insulin. They are common drugs, but people don’t think about them because they are not cardiovascular drugs. Knowing that any drip that you use in the ICU could be fair gain, including things like heparin and insulin.
“Why should we choose you?” That’s a very common question. Some people don’t have anything great to say and that’s deflating the balloon. You do good for this whole interview and the balloon is growing. They ask you, “Why should you choose you?” You don’t have anything to say. It’s like, you just pop the balloon. It’s a letdown.
Make sure you have something thoughtful to say about yourself. This is when it’s okay to brag and you have to be comfortable doing that. I thought this was great. The student who answered this question went into the fact of who they are as a person. The fact that they were a hard worker and that they knew they were going to be representing their program. They would make sure that they held to that representation during their time in clinical, which they love to hear because that is very true. When you are in clinical and you are going to X program, if you are not showing up to clinical prepared, if you are giving them attitude and having problems, it gives the program a bad rap. They have to deal with the ramifications of that.
Hearing the students be aware of that shows a lot of emotional intelligence and self-awareness that not only are they taking ownership of themselves, but they also are taking ownership of how they are portraying the program. I thought that was a great way to answer that. The program faculty’s eyes lit up. They are like, “I love this. This was great.” To hear them not just take self-ownership, but realize that they are representing their school. That was a great way to answer that.
Why should we choose you? It could be other reasons too. I have had students say things like, “I’d be a good asset to your cohort because X, Y, and Z.” You have PICU experience and you feel like you would add a lot of knowledge base to the cohort. Maybe you used to be a tutor for the Student Nurses’ Association or whatever it is. Whatever leadership role you have played in the past you can highlight that at this point and stress how you feel like you would be a good asset in their program, that you would be doing these types of things for other peers in your cohort.
Keep in mind too, they are picking you for their cohort. They are picking you for you, but they want to know how are you going to be special. How are you going to be different? Why should we pick you over someone else? As I have spoken to before, they might have 30 people they want, and they can only take 15. That doesn’t mean those fifteen other people are not qualified or not great candidates, but they ultimately are picking a cohort. Why should out of those fifteen if everything’s equal to equal and they want you all, but they just can’t take you all, why should they pick you? Think about that and write those reasons down and have a good example to give them as far as why that is.
“Why our program?” Good things to say are things like the mission statement and how your values correlate with their values and their mission. Clinical sites could be another good one. Be careful with saying location. They have stressed this. Location, yes, if it’s in your backyard, convenient. They want to hear something more in-depth than that.
If you think about why is location so important other than the fact that it’s convenient and you don’t have to go very far or spend extra money to travel, it’s probably more about you having your support system there, whether that be your significant other, your family, whatever it may be. Give them that reason versus just saying location.
They understand that support is important and they know you need support. A better rationale than just saying location period is because the meaning behind the location is support. Just go into the support aspect of it instead. Make sure you have an order to your whys, you don’t just randomly list your whys, and you have a rationale as to why this is the most important next 3rd and 4th.
These are my reasons. I have a rationale as to why this is the most important thing to follow. It just shows more thought than just picking random reasons. My biggest recommendation is to pick things that are meaningful to the program versus more… I should say they are not shallow. That’s not what by that. It sounds bad saying that because we are all human. We want cost-effectiveness, we want location and things of that nature.
Make sure you have a little bit more in-depth reasons as to why you are picking the school versus just the cost and location. It doesn’t feel good to hear, “I’m only picking you because you are cheap, and because you are in my backyard.” Think about it from their perspective on what’s meaty why you are picking us versus more of like a surface level why?Make sure you have a little bit more in-depth reasons as to why you're picking the school versus just costs and location. Click To Tweet
The next question could be, “Do you know what CRNA does?” Sometimes this question, I have heard them say some radical things where candidates say things like, “I know what CRNA does,” or get defensive about it. It’s not meant to offend you. It’s a humble question to ask you, “Can you tell me what CRNA does? We can confirm that you have done your research on why you are sitting here versus you looked up on Google and they make a lot of money and now you want to do it, sign me up.” They want to know you understand what you are getting yourselves into because they know that school is rigorous and hard.
Money only takes you so far at the end of the day. What drives results in your life is always passion. You typically try to make money in your life, but if it’s making money that you are not passionate about and how to get there, you are more than likely going to fizzle out. Passions are what drive results. They want to see the passion, which means you understand what you are getting yourself into and the role of a CRNA and they want to hear you explain what that is.
“What questions do you have for me?” This is another CRNA school interview question that is commonly asked, and if you don’t have anything to say, it’s like popping that balloon. Make sure you have some questions. Not questions that are directly from their website. Sometimes these schools will give you an open house walkthrough of their program prior to the interview. That can be hard because they tend to answer a lot of questions that you may have on your list.
Think about things that are a little bit outside the box that are not typical. Some that were mentioned during this session, which I thought were great, were you asked the faculty, “Tell me what your favorite part about your program is.” Maybe they mention this in their walkthrough. Another question that said, “What is your favorite part about being a CRNA?” That’s a great question. That’s probably not something they would have told you during the walkthrough open house. It just shows curiosity, insightfulness, and excitement for the profession.
Both of those are good options, but it doesn’t mean whatever you have on your list is wrong. Make sure you have several, because sometimes they could be answering these questions during the pre-interview portion and it would look silly if you asked the question that they answered. This is also why it’s good if you have that type of interview coming up where you are going to be having a walkthrough open house, and they will let you know. Bring a little binder or notepad with you so you make sure that you are taking notes during that intro session that they have for you to make sure you are remembering.
If you are just listening, which is great to listen, you might forget some things and you might not realize they have answered questions that are on your list to ask the program, at the end of the interview. Also, keep in mind, keep it brief. You don’t want to have a laundry list of questions, 1 to 2 max. They don’t have fifteen minutes to answer a bunch of questions. Make sure you are keeping that list concise. Having several questions to pick from is always good to have a bank, but make sure you have the top two that you want to ask. The other ones are more just like a backup in case your other questions are not what you end up wanting to ask because maybe they answered them.
Equally so, if you had all your questions answered because sometimes they put a nurse into your residence to help orient you during that walkthrough. Part of their job or their role during that day is to help answer your questions. Maybe you got some questions answered by them. You could equally let the faculty know that these were the questions you had, but you were able to talk to them and say you know their name. They informed you that this was the answer and that you were grateful for that. To see if there’s anything else the faculty could add to that answer.
That’s equally okay because maybe you had a burning question, but you got it answered by one of their residents. That just shows that you took the initiative to ask it, which is a good thing. You could ask them to see if they have anything to add to it. It’s not doomsday if your questions were all taken. I want to reiterate that too, that you can still spin it into a positive that you were taking an active approach and trying to find out your answers to your questions.
This is a tip. Be careful about saying “um.” There are other things you could say other than “um,” that’s probably the most common thing because it’s more of a filler. I’m guilty of it. If you guys go back to some of the episodes, it’s so cringy. I still do it on occasion because it just comes out. My husband pointed it out because he was tuning in to the episodes and he does a lot of our emails for CSPA, and he was like, “You need to get your ‘ums’ in check. That’s bad.” It was insightful that I was not even aware I was doing it. Now, I’m more cognizant when I do it, but it’s to take some self-awareness to do that. A lot of practice and a lot of trial and error to try to alleviate that.
Try to figure out whether you are using filler words and try to practice being aware of it. The only way we combat that is to be aware that you are using filler words. A lot of times it comes from not being able to finish your thought or being in thought. When you are in thought, you automatically say the word because you are thinking. Know that silence is equally okay versus using a filler word.Try to figure out whether you're using filler words and practice being aware of it. The only way to really combat that is to actually be aware. Click To Tweet
Another question that you could be asked is, “Are you applying to other programs?” This question makes students nervous because they are like, “What do I say? Do I admit that I’m applying to several other schools?” You don’t have to say who or what school you are applying to, that’s not necessarily any of their business, but they are curious if you are applying to other schools. You don’t want to lie and say, “No, I’m not,” if you are. You don’t have to say, “I’m applying to this university.” You could just say, “Yes, I’m applying to three other schools and my considerations are based on the following factors.”
Have a list similar to why you were picking that program. Have a list of like, “I have three other schools and this is my considering factors on why I chose these schools. You are my number one choice because of this.” Whether or not they are your number one, I think it would be bad to say, “You are my number three. This school is my number one and here is why.” You should lean into the fact that you are trying to get into CRNA School and whether or not it is your number one or not, you should reassure them that you are interested in attending their program. They did also mention that if you are not interested in their program just not waste their time.
Also, keep in mind you are taking this interview spot from someone else. If you genuinely have no intention of accepting a seat in that program, maybe interviewing with them is not the right thing to do. I have mentioned getting in some practice rounds before your number one school, but I don’t think it’s necessary to interview at a school that you would have no intent of attending whatsoever. You should just make sure that if you have a number 1, 2, and 3, you are interviewing at your number 3 school first, so it gets a practice round. Your number one school, save it for last. Equally, be okay with accepting your number 3 school and having a reason why they would be a choice for you as your number 1.
Nobody wants to hear that they are not top of your list if you are sitting there in the interview seat. You don’t have to say, “You are my number one choice.” You could just omit it. You could just say, “This is my consideration. These schools are on my list, and then I have X schools and this is why those are on my list.” You can just leave it at that. You don’t have to order them of any kind or anything like that.
Another question would be, in preparation for CRNA School, “Tell me about one of your favorite classes.” This is looking at your undergrad time, in your preparation up until you started or your interviewing for a CRNA program, “Tell me what your favorite class has been and why.” I was asked this question, I love pharmacology and pathophysiology. Those are both my number 1 and 2 courses. If I had to pick a favorite, I’d pick pathophysiology because I like the fact that they are all interconnected. I like the fact that pathophysiology is like a puzzle that you have to solve when you have multiple comorbidities that are playing together. Trying to figure out the cause and effect of what’s happening and then how you treat that. That would have been what I would have shared.
Pick something that you can speak passionately about and why. They are trying to dig to see what your true interests are and why that would be. Someone who did answer this said that they loved biology because they loved the hands-on aspect of it. They had a great professor who taught it, which is a great answer. Biology is probably not as relatable to anesthesia as pharmacology or pathophysiology, but the fact that they loved hands-on, is a good sign because you will be very hands-on in CRNA school. You can relate it to that, and speak to it from there as well. Just have something in mind to speak to as far as what your favorite subjects are and why, and how that relates to your future in anesthesia.
Another tip is to not ask for feedback during the interview. We had someone ask this, which I’m glad they had a chance to ask because this is not an appropriate use of their time. I know you want to know. Hopefully there will be an opportunity for you to get feedback later. Better yet, you will get into school and you won’t need to ask for feedback unless you want to know.
I know this is a pain point for a lot of students because they have interviewed before and they don’t get in, they don’t get any feedback, or at least it’s not good feedback. It’s just like, it was a competitive cycle, try again. “That doesn’t help me. I need specific, specific things I can do to better my application.” I get you want to know, but at the same time, during the interview itself is not the most appropriate time for you to be asking for specific feedback on how you did in the interview. That was a statement that I wanted to make sure I shared.
We are winding this down. The last question that I have for you guys to keep in mind as far as CRNA school interview questions go is, “Tell me what you think the most difficult part of CRNA School would be and why.” This just shows that you are taking some initiative and thinking through what’s ahead of you, making sure that you have thought this out and how you plan to handle that. If that’s time management or study techniques, what have you actively done to practice or brush up on those things?
If it’s the pressure and the stress of performing, how are you going to handle that? If that is going to be the most difficult thing that you are going to experience at CRNA School that may be concerning because you are going under a lot of pressure under stress. Is that going to make you crack? Think about what would be the most difficult thing and what you are actively doing or have already actively done or plan on doing to alleviate that potential difficulty or hurdle that you are going to be facing. They are just looking for a proactive approach to this. They are looking for you to have thoroughly thought, “I do think this is going to be hard, but this is what I plan to do about it.” That type of response.
One more thing I want to throw out there that they commonly do ask you sometimes is, “What have you done to prepare financially or to not work over the next three years?” Stuff like that. They want to make sure that you have thoroughly thought out how you plan on paying for CRNA school and that you are going to have to have a budget and maybe have to cut back on things. Have a thoughtful, concise to the point response. Remember, not rambling, but a concise and to-the-point response on how you have planned to manage your finances during CRNA school.
Maybe you have a spouse that works and you can get on his medical insurance and he’s going to be able to support the majority of the bills, and you have also cut out cable. You are not going out to eat anymore. You have cut back on your Starbucks. You plan on packing lunch. You have your car paid off and you have paid off all your credit cards. What have you actively done to make your time in CRNA school financially more successful? It has some action items that you have actively done.
That sums up this episode. I hope you guys enjoyed it, and I hope it helps you in your upcoming CRNA interviews. I’m rooting for you. Make sure you let me know. I want to hear from you. I love celebrating with you. One of the funnest things that I get to do is celebrate success with you. Remember that if you get a no, no doesn’t mean never. There’s always going to be a next time. Keep your chin up. You are working hard. I’m proud of you. Thank you so much for tuning in. I will see you in the next episode. Bye-bye.
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