Nurse Anesthesia Admission Essays

Wallena Gould´s first nursing position was an operating room nurse, where her responsibilities included scrub and circulating duties

It was Ben Wright, CRNA, chief nurse anesthetist at Underwood Hospital, and Dolores Murphy, chief nurse anesthetist at Presbyterian Medical Center, who inspired her to pursue the field of nurse anesthesia.

This was the first time she was introduced to the nurse anesthesia profession, and also where she found, at two hospitals, that both chief nurse anesthetists were African American. For her it was profound. Immediately, she left the operating room to build up my nursing skills on a telemetry floor, then to move on to Trauma.

As a student nurse anesthetist at La Salle University, she was in a curriculum that was shared by the four nurse anesthesia programs in the Philadelphia area, and where the lack of minority faculty in these programs was immediately observed. She decided to address this in a poster project.

In their nurse anesthesia program, a poster project was assigned to each student. Wellena took pictures in my class of the minority student nurse anesthetists simulating spinal placement, ventilating a patient, and assessing a patient.  Objectives were defined, and the AANA’s demographic statistics of the minority nurse anesthetists in the profession were graphically depicted on the poster. The poster was entitled, Diversity in Nurse Anesthesia. A stellar grade was earned as a result, but something was wrong…and again Wellena decided to address it.

She started a local mentorship program for incoming minority student nurse anesthetists to meet with her classmates for lunch and to review the anesthesia machine. This mentorship program expanded the year after when Wellena began working as a CRNA. It was Art Zwerling, CRNA, MSN, DNP, DAAPM, with whom she shared her vision to increase diversity in the profession, and he simply said, "Think outside the box and do what no one else is doing."

It was Bob Shearer, CRNA, MSN, who encouraged Wellena to expand the mentorship program outside the Philadelphia area while she was still a nurse anesthesia student at Montgomeray Hospital School of Nurse Anesthesia.

That year, the gathering was held at Crozer Chester Medical Center with incoming minority students from La Salle University, the University of Pennsylvania, St. Joseph University, the University of Maryland, Villanova University and Drexel University. 

Bette Wildgust, program director of Villanova University, made the arrangements to have the meeting at Crozer Chester Medical Center. Wellena would not have had the opportunity to have this event if she had not been involved. New graduates from these programs were on the panel to speak to the new students and a few ICU nurses interested in studying on a nurse anesthesia program.

One of Wellena’s mentors and a true visionary leader who had a profound effect on her to advance diversity in the nurse anesthesia profession is Jeffrey Beutler, CRNA, MS, former AANA executive director.

All of this started as a poster project! Wellena is now enjoying her career as a CRNA. Do you support Wallena’s cause? If so, how can we support you in your career through our services? We´d sure like to!

Online Application

All materials listed below must be uploaded to our online application (unless specifically stated otherwise) following our guidelines.

Bachelor’s Degree

  • Bachelor’s degree in Nursing or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and an associate’s degree in nursing.

  • Degree awarded by a regionally accredited college or university.

  • Columbia Nursing does not have a minimum GPA requirement, all factors of an application are considered equally.


  • All transcripts from colleges, universities, or post-secondary schools attended or in which credit was received must be uploaded to your online application.
  • Do not mail in any paper transcripts at the time of application. Official transcripts are only required if accepted.
  • Clear and legible unofficial or student copies of transcripts must be uploaded to your application.
  • If you have attended school outside the United States, you must upload a course-by-course transcript evaluation condicted by a NACES-accredited organization by the application deadline.


  • Columbia Nursing does not have a minimum GRE score requirement. All factors of an application are considered equally – applicants are neither accepted nor denied solely based on test scores.

  • Applicants may retake the GRE. The Office of Admissions will select the highest from each section to give you the most competitive score.

  • Scores must be sent to school code 2142.

  • The exam must be taken by the deadline although it is highly recommended that the exam be completed one month prior to the deadline.

  • Exemption for applicants that have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.25 or higher.  This must be the GPA from the school that conferred the undergraduate degree(B.A., B.F.A., B.S., etc).

  • Exemption for graduate/advanced degree holders: Applicants with a conferred graduate or professional advanced degree (certificates do not qualify) at the time of the application deadline are exempt from the GRE requirement. Currently enrolled graduate/professional students (without a degree) must submit GRE scores to complete their application.


The essay section is comprised of two essays. The topics are listed on the online application, but please adhere to the following format:

  • Essay 1: 2 pages / double spaced / 12pt font / 1" margins
  • Essay 2: 1 page / double spaced / 12pt font / 1" margins
  • To ensure proper formatting, please be sure to save your documents as PDFs prior to uploading to the online application.

Video Essay (REQUIRED-NEW)

You will submit a video essay (in addition to the other essays). The video essay will be comprised of one question, and you will have 2 minutes to answer the question. This video essay is an opportunity to supplement your application and to display your enthusiasm and passion for the program. In the video essay, you will address the following prompt: Please tell us about a time that you have overcome an obstacle in your life, how you dealt with it, and what you learned from the experience. 

Please note that to record your video, you will need a directly-attached webcam, and you will need to use a browser that supports Flash; you will not be able to upload a pre-recorded answer.  The video essay will be recorded live within the application.

Timed Writing (REQUIRED-NEW)

You will submit a timed writing sample.  In this process, you will be given a random topic through the application.  Upon viewing your random question, you will have 2 minutes to think about your response and then the system will allow you 10 minutes to provide an answer.  This question will be evaluated on the content and structure of your response. 

Three Letters of Recommendation

  • Your references should be able to attest to your skill level in mastering coursework and/or practical experience.

  • We recommend that at least one reference come from your current employer or academic advisor.

  • At least two references should be written by individuals with whom you have worked (or taken a course) in the past 6 months.

  • Please note: The Office of Admissions requires all application materials be submitted online, including recommendations. Recommenders have the ability to upload a word or PDF reference letter through the application system.

    • The following information is required from the recommender: name, email, telephone, organization, position title, and relationship to applicant.

    • Use your recommender's institutional or corporate email address. Submissions from personal email addresses (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo) may be subject to additional review.

Resume/Curriculum Vitae

  • There is no page limit to your resume or CV (assuming the professional experience listed is relevant to your application and nursing goals).

  • To ensure proper formatting, please be sure to save your document as a PDF prior to uploading to the online application.


  • Must be taken at an accredited college or university (online and community colleges are acceptable).

  • A letter grade of B is required for all prerequisites.

  • Prerequisites do not have to be completed by the deadline. Rather, all required courses are to be completed by the start of the program. With the exception of statistics, which must have been completed no later than 5 years prior to the start of the term for which you are applying, there is no expiration date for any of the other pre-requisites:

    • Statistics (completed within the past 5 years)

    • Health/Physical Assessment

    • Chemistry

    • Organic Chemistry

  • Note for accepted applicants with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and an associate’s degree in nursing: A required 5-credit community health course can either be taken as a prerequisite (prior to starting the program) or taken at Columbia Nursing as a student (during the program).


  • Current New York State nursing license or eligibility


  • A minimum one-year of ICU experience (SICU, MICU, PICU, CVICU, CCU, Burn ICU, Trauma ICU, and Neuro ICU) is required for the Nurse Anesthesia program.

  • Certification as Critical-Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) is highly recommended for the Nurse Anesthesia Program.


  • Nurse Anesthesia applicants will be contacted for an on-campus or Skype interview during the application review process. Interviews for the 2018 program will be held November 2-3, 2017.

Application Fee

  • $75 nonrefundable fee paid through the online application system (after application submission).

  • For fee waivers, please complete the Fee Waiver Request Form and submit it to the Office of Admissions at least 2 weeks prior to the deadline. Fee waivers are granted to veterans, students in the military, students in the Peace Corps, Columbia School of Nursing alumni, and students who can demonstrate financial hardship. Documentation of eligibility is required for all fee waiver requests.

International Students

  • Please note that international students are no longer eligible for the MS program. International students are welcome to apply to the MDE or PhD programs.

*All materials should be received by the published deadlines unless otherwise stated. We guarantee to grant a decision to all applicants with a completed application by their deadline. Incomplete applications by the deadline will be reviewed at our discretion. No refunds will be granted for incomplete applications. Please review all requirements for entry carefully.

0 thoughts on “Nurse Anesthesia Admission Essays

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *