Helpful Tips to Answer the 3 Most Difficult CRNA School Interview Questions

Whether you are preparing for a panel interview or an individual interview, you will face some of the same types of questions. While all the questions can seem challenging in the moment, in this article we are focusing on the 3 most common and often difficult CRNA school interview questions to answer. 

But before we dive all in, let’s look at some basic interviewing tips so you can successfully navigate your way through the CRNA school interview. Here are some suggestions for how to successfully navigate a medical school interview. 

Basic CRNA school interviewing tips 

  1. Practice the questions and answers in advance
  2. Set aside time to carefully practice common interview questions and formulate your answers to them. You can also ask a friend or family member to lend you a hand by pretending they are the admissions committee. The key is to practice just enough that you don’t sound like a robot and your responses sound genuine. 
  3. Choose your clothing wisely so you are comfortable and also not to distract from the interview. A nice neutral-tone suit is all you need for both men and women. Keep the accessories to a minimum and nothing too flashy. What you wear to your interview will make a lasting impression on your interviewer. 
  4. Be personable and show you truly are excited to be there for a possible spot in their CRNA program.  
  5. Maintain eye contact and smile often when appropriate. Honestly, this just shows you are paying attention and they are not boring you.   
  6. Try to relax and keep a positive attitude throughout the interaction.
  7. Begin and end your interview by shaking the interviewer’s hand and thanking them for their time.
  8. Follow up with a email or card just to say thanks for the opportunity and you look forward to hearing from them.  

3 most common and often difficult CRNA school interview questions 

Tell me about yourself. Even though it’s one of the most common interview questions, it tends to trip CRNA school candidates up. On the surface, it may seem like easy points, since you know yourself better than anyone. But in actuality, it’s a broad and open-ended question which makes it challenging to answer. Whenever I’m presented with this question, I almost panic because I’m not sure where to start in my life story.  

Luckily, you don’t have to struggle like I did answering this question for my CRNA school interview with the use of this easy and effective formula I found online. This formula involves speaking on these 3 areas of your life: 

  1. Present- Here you talk about who you are today, touch on the scope of your current role as an ICU nurse along with a recent accomplishment. 
  2. Past- Segway to your past by telling the interviewer how you got to your current position by way of any previous experience related to critical care nursing and/ or anesthesia. 
  3. Future- You want to end this question by stating what you’re looking to do next after working in critical care nursing, which is would be to gain acceptance into a CRNA program.  

Here is an example.

  • Present: I’m a critical care nurse in Med- Surg ICU at ____. During this time I have… 
  • Past: Prior to this I was a surgical tech at General Hospital, where I got to witness firsthand the nurse anesthetist role. 
  • Future: While I enjoy the work I do in the unit, I’m looking forward to a future career as a nurse anesthetist. 

Now keep in mind you don’t have to start with your present role, you could even start with your past experiences. The point is you want to touch on the past, present, and future gives the admissions committee what they need to properly evaluate you. 

Why Anesthesia?

Every year CRNA school applicants are rejected not due to academics but because they can’t answer this one question. Unfortunately, it all stems from lacking clarity on why you want to be a nurse anesthetist. 

 You would think this would be an easy question to answer. Especially if providing anesthesia care is something you really want to do. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this question make or break CRNA school applicants. 

In my opinion, it’s hard because you’re trying to think of something original or unique to say. You don’t want to spit out this cliché answer. Liking anesthesia and wanting to help people are not adequate reasons to explain why you chose anesthesia. So, you must dig deeper.   

How to answer: This question should be answered with complete confidence and genuineness. You must be clear on your “Why” when it comes to anesthesia. And the best way to do this is to make your “Why” statement not only clear, but simple, actionable, and focused. And most importantly, it should resonate within you. An example “Why” statement could be “To advocate and provide quality anesthesia care so they can get back to their baseline prior to surgery”.  

Why Should We Accept You?

This is a hard question, right? Your first instinct is probably to tell them you’re highly motivated and love anesthesia and will make a great Nurse Anesthetist.

Of course, you should love anesthesia and I’m sure all the other applicants do as well. Your answer should set you apart, not group you all together. So here you want to start thinking about what makes you different than the other CRNA school candidates in the next room. 

How to answer: This question here is all about selling yourself and the skillset you possess as a critical care nurse. Just like you in your personal statement, it’s about showing the committee by using a story. You must show them you are a leader because of xyz. That you’re passionate as illustrated by xyz. And your critical thinking skills have been formulated over the years of caring for open-heart patients. 

Bottom line 

Getting past the admissions committee is grueling, but it can be done. So, don’t let fear or discouragement get in the way of your dreams of being a CRNA. It just requires a little more preparation on your end to seal the deal once you get to the interview phase. 

Hopefully, this article has empowered you with the tips to walk into the interview with confidence just knowing you have the answers to these often difficult questions. The whole CRNA school application process can be grueling, but keep your eyes on the prize and remember to stay the course and become a CRNA.

P.S. Looking for a vault full of CRNA school interview questions, then Join CRNA Chase Academy so you can get accepted into a CRNA program ASAP!


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