Frequently Asked Questions About the Anesthesia for Nurses (AFN) Program

About the Program

AFN students only share clinical rotations with physician anesthesiology residents at the MUSC clinical sites and at the Charleston Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The AFN program has a diversified portfolio of clinical sites that allows students opportunities that may not be available at MUSC.

Yes! In addition to a very comprehensive didactic training that includes a human cadaver lab and a state-of-the-art simulation classroom, AFN students gain hands-on neuraxial and peripheral regional anesthesia experiences at a variety of clinical sites. Students learn and perform regional anesthesia and analgesia. Examples of blocks that are personally performed include neuraxial, brachial plexus, lower extremity, and truncal blocks.

Candidates for the degree of Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice must achieve the following requirements and be recommended by the faculty.

  • Complete all academic requirements as described in the AFN Administrative and Student Manual (provided on the AFN website)
  • Attend two nurse anesthesia professional meetings. This includes state, national, or a combination of both
  • Complete a scholarly project and disseminate the results
  • Obtain a passing score, as determined by the program, on the Self Evaluation Examination administered by the National Board for Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).
  • Perform a minimum of clinical cases and clinical skills as determined by the program. These minimums may be above the minimums required by the NBCRNA.

The program admits 32 students per year. This number varies depending on the quality of the applicant pool. Only students who demonstrate high scholastic achievement, a strong clinical background, and the commitment to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) are admitted.

Each year the additional non-tuition and fees costs of the program (lab coats, drug screens, malpractice insurance, etc.) are reviewed by the senior class president. The class president reviews the prior year cost and makes changes based on actual experience of the class. The additional costs are published in the AFN Administrative and Student Manual which is updated each spring.

Yes, financial aid services are available. Information can be found at

Information about pass rates and program outcome data can be found on our Accreditation & Outcomes page.

Since 2010, 100% of graduates have found employment within 6 months of graduation.

Applying to the Program

The program receives 180-200 applicants each year. Approximately 60 candidates are invited for in-person interviews.

No. Admission into the program is very competitive. All applications are reviewed and evaluated for critical care experience, GPA and GRE, leadership experiences, references, essays, and other life experiences. The Admissions subcommittee invites the most qualified candidates of each application cohort to an in-person interview.

All interviews are conducted in person at the MUSC College of Health Professions. The interview day will include a description of the program, a tour of the campus, and an interview during which the applicant will meet with several students, faculty members, and the program administrator. The interview process will take 2-3 hours.

To be eligible, a candidate must have at least 1 year as a registered nurse in a critical care unit that includes, at a minimum, invasive hemodynamic monitoring, ventilator management and vasoactive infusions. Acceptable intensive care units include surgical, medical, cardiovascular, pediatric, and neonatal critical care. Emergency Room and Post Anesthesia Recovery Units are not considered acceptable. The candidate must hold a bachelor's of science in nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited university as well as active certification in ACLS, BLS, and PALS.

Admitted students have an average GPA of 3.5, 24 months of critical care nursing experience, and have completed all prerequisite course work. Most admitted students have served as clinical preceptors, charge nurses, unit committee chairs, or have other demonstrated engagement in the nursing profession.

Yes, the program has an expiration date of 10 years (preferably 5 years) for prerequisite courses.

Yes, if you retake a course, the highest grade is used to meet the prerequisite. To meet the prerequisite, the course needs to have a grade of C or higher. To calculate your cumulative GPA, MUSC will use all grades earned for any coursework.