Military Nurse Anesthetist Program

Army CRNA programs are designed to prepare nurse anesthetists for work in a time of war, natural disasters, civil disorder and on humanitarian missions. Army nurse anesthetist programs are offered by only a handful of schools and are graduate-level programs. Registered nurses and those who have a bachelor's degree in a related medical field may consider completing a military CRNA program to advance in their careers and explore a variety of positions. If you've considered serving as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist in a military setting, take some time to learn what army nurse anesthetist programs entail and what types of jobs you would be qualified to apply for when you've completed a military CRNA program.

Joining Army CRNA Programs

You will need to meet educational requirements and several other requirements to serve as Civilian Reservist or an Active Duty CRNA. The general CRNA requirements for any army CRNA programs include:

  • Having a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Having a minimum GRE score of at least 1000 (depending on the school)
  • Successfully completing advanced courses such as statistics, biochemistry or organic chemistry (depending on the school)
  • Meeting additional requirements for civilian reservists or active duty CRNAs

The additional requirements for civilian reservists or active duty CRNAs vary only slightly by school and states. For example, in the state of Texas, civilian reservists must have at least one year of critical care experience and must meet all of the requirements for accession onto active duty as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Active duty applicants must have two years "time on station" by date of their Permanent Change of Station and have at least one year of experience in an acute care setting. In some cases, the individual will also need to have at least one year of acute care work experience.

Completing a Military CRNA Program

Completing a military CRNA program can be challenging but also very rewarding. Students take specialized courses in delivering anesthesia under pressure and learn how to work in different medical environments. Nurse anesthetists hired by the U.S. Army must follow specific protocol and guidelines, and be prepared to travel at the last minute. You'll find that some army nurse anesthetist programs are broken into two phases. The first phase consists of basic practices, statistics, information systems and simulations.

The second phase typically involves hands-on training through clinicals and practicum training. Some army CRNA programs also train students through simulations. Students learn how to work in teams, in outdoor settings, and provide services to patients who are in critical care units. They learn how to make important decisions under times of great stress and use their skills to save soldiers' lives.

Candidates who complete a military CRNA program are on active duty the moment they report for training and they are typically compensated with a full salary and benefits according to their rank. Active duty does involve a full-time commitment so the nurses will not be able to work at another job once they have been enlisted.