H3A Onboard: Skills to Succeed in CRNA School

At Wake Forest School of Medicine, our Continuing Education Programs provide opportunities to position incoming and current nurse anesthesia students for ongoing success.

Programs for Incoming Students

H3A: Heads, Hearts and Hands

H3A (Heads, Hearts and Hands) is a developmental program with an overall goal of developing excellent clinicians. The two tracks of the program—Explore and On-board—cater to different stages of the career trajectory, but they are both guided by the three critical "Hs" of success:

  • Head: technical knowledge
  • Heart: self-awareness of one's personality strengths and weaknesses
  • Hands: competence with manual skills

The H3A program was made possible with the assistance of the Piedmont Triad Partnership through a Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

On-board: Development in Nurse Anesthesia (SRNA)

On-board is designed for the individual who has already been accepted into a nurse anesthesia program. This course serves as an introduction to a successful path as a student. In H3A, future nurse anesthesia students learn critical student success factors in both academic and clinical skills.

This seminar is based on our nationwide survey of nurse anesthesia students, which helped determine the most important learning areas for new students. Years of faculty experience in observing successful students also informed the content. Participants learn basic anesthesia knowledge, receive an introduction to the study of nurse anesthesia and are provided sound advice to put them on a pathway to success in their upcoming anesthesia program.

Topics addressed in the two-day On-board seminar include:

  • Academic skills for success
  • Anesthesia pharmacology
  • Hands-on experiences with advanced skills such as:
    • Cricothyrotomy
    • Laryngoscopy
    • Spinal and epidural injections and other anesthetic techniques
  • High-fidelity simulation experience
  • Learning style assessment and its application to successful academic skills
  • Neurologic system anatomy and assessment
  • Physics of compressed gases, oxygen and inhaled anesthetics. Including a live demonstration of gas laws and physical properties of gases
  • Pulmonary physiology and management of mechanical ventilation
  • H3A On-board also includes a role-model luncheon with accomplished certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) and program faculty, as well as an informal lunch session discussion with current students.
  • Ultrasound Skills Workshop taught in conjunction with PA faculty members

H3A ONBOARD Virtual Series: August 2-6, 2021 (for nurses admitted to a CRNA program, priority registration for WFSOM)

Register now

Incoming Wake Forest SRNAs

The On-board seminar is highly recommended for those who have been granted admission to the Wake Forest Nurse Anesthesia Program. By completing On-board, you’ll gain meaningful exposure to the challenges of being a student nurse anesthetist, and have the opportunity to network with fellow SRNAs. You’ll also be armed with an understanding of your own additional learning needs, so you can prepare before you begin the program.

Comments from past H3A participants

  • "This course exceeded my expectations by far!"
  • "I would definitely recommend this course to my peers! It was very well-thought-out and executed.
  • "It very much exceeded my expectations."
  • "Overall great way to start off school."
  • "The course was excellent. It really helped me realize what I need to do to be better prepared for school."
  • "The interactive lectures allowed me to learn so much! The cadaver lab was exceptional."
  • "It made the next two years seem less scary!"

Programs for Current Students

Surviving the Bubble

Our incoming student orientation, Surviving the Bubble, is unique to the Wake Forest Nurse Anesthesia Program. Jennifer Ferguson (class of 2008) developed this program based on her own extensive experience with team-building activities as a long-time camp nurse. Recognizing that students feel isolation much like being stuck in a bubble, Ferguson created this program to introduce students to the concepts of teamwork, interpersonal communication, problem-solving, goal setting and time management, specifically as they relate to navigating a nurse anesthesia program.

The program is held at Bailey Park in the Innovation Quarter of Downtown Winston-Salem. During the one-day program, new students participate in various physical activities and group discussions and learn to accomplish tasks that require efficient teamwork.

Online Connections

Our social orientation programs provide students with resources before large transitions. In the spring before their program starts, students are invited to join a discussion board and to use a chat room to get to know their new classmates.

Senior Buddy Program

Each year, our incoming students are paired with a rising senior student nurse anesthetist for guidance as they begin their CRNA journey. Current students plan activities and informal outings, such as a welcome cook-out.

CRNA Mentorship

As part of our CRNA Mentorship Program, students are paired with a faculty CRNA mentor prior to starting clinical. These contacts are meant to provide students with a resource for getting answers to career questions and guiding them on their clinical journey.