As a current student, I feel comfortable saying I would choose this program over any other in the state. Having spoken with friends in east coast programs and graduates from Minnesota schools, Saint Mary’s University has a reputation for its outstanding clinical experiences. I see some negative reviews on this site about this school; however, the reviews on this site tend to be negative in general. I do have some criticisms which will be addressed below:
Clinical experiences; hands down, we have the best clinical portion compared to other state schools. Though this means driving out of town for a couple months at a time and staying in school provided housing, we get the most CRNA only practice experience and the most regional anesthesia and interventional pain management.
Instruction; although there were some transitional bumps when name omitted stepped down as the A&P instructor to teach position omitted full time, the replacement instructor is a physician scientist and researcher from the University of Minnesota and Vanderbilt.
Accommodation; we have had several instances of classmates with medical and family emergencies who have received special accommodation so that they may continue without having to withdrawal.
Restructuring; the program is currently preparing for DNP integration and has had a few changes in staff and classes. I’m sure things will be fine once the dust settles but I know the class behind us feels they’ve been jerked around a bit.
Didactic education; I’m not much of a lecture person anyway but I have had some classmates feel as if their educational needs weren’t addressed in adequate depth during lecture. Again, I never felt as though this was an issue. Attrition rate; SMU is kind of known for losing a student or four before the final year of the program (addressed further in other). For our class this was for poor academic performance or
poor clinical performance. This is fair. The program director and clinical staff do their best to help struggling students, almost too much. To me, it seems like some students that were cut should have been a semester before and time, energy, and tuition were spent flogging a dead horse.
-Yes, because we are front loaded most of the credits, and therefore cost, are incurred at the beginning of the program. This is a big problem if you did okay with the books but can’t function with a laryngoscope in hand as you just paid a majority of the tuition and now have to seek an alternate career.
-Why might SMU lose 2-4 students/year? The program is also known for giving students who are much older or those who had lower GPAs a chance. It seems these students are the ones who are at increased risk of dismissal. While it seems the program shouldn’t be so generous in admitting these students in the first place, I have worked with CRNAs who were these students and they are grateful for their opportunity and education through SMU. However, this may change in the future:
-Recent NBCRNA scores: The last class to graduate did not do so hot on boards. In speaking with members of that class they are mostly shocked about this. Considering the increased difficulty of next year’s exam, I hope this isn’t the case for our class and I truthfully don’t believe we’ll have a problem. Part of the reason for a relatively poor pass rate may have to do with the above. Our program director has gone into full support mode and made many resources available to us to preparation for boards including several mock exams. I believe we’ll do okay nationally but at the end of the day believe it comes down to the individual.
Hope this is helpful.