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An In-Depth Look at One School’s CRNA Program

The first organized program to educate nurse anesthetists was offered in 1909.  There are currently about 112 programs offering a certified registered nurse anesthetist degree in the United States.  It takes a minimum of seven years of education and experience to become a CRNA.  The average student nurse anesthetist completes almost 2,500 clinical hours and administers about 850 anesthetics.  Each year more than 2,000 student nurse anesthetists graduate and go on to pass their certification examination. CRNAs must be recertified every two years, and this includes meeting practice requirements and obtaining a minimum of 40 continuing education credits.

We will cover Boston College’s nurse anesthesia program in this article.  Included will be their entrance requirements and what the program entails.

Boston College William F. Connell School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the 27 month, full-time nurse anesthesia program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs.  This full-time, 62-credit curriculum provides students with core and specialty theory courses and a structured practicum and residency.  The program is a collaborative effort between the Connell School of Nursing and Anaesthesia Associates of Massachusetts (AAM); the largest provider of anesthesia services in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Students wishing to apply to the program must be a registered nurse who already possesses a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a minimum of one year of critical care experience. Acceptable critical care experience includes ICU, SICU, CCU, MICU, PICU, or NICU and high acuity surgical ICU experience in a tertiary medical center is strongly preferred. The GRE exam scores and letters of reference must be received by the deadline.  All qualified applicants will have an interview as well.

The nurse anesthesia program at Boston College is a front-loaded curriculum.  A student will begin the program in January of each year and the spring and summer semesters consist of 15 credits of didactic coursework. Each semester is a blend of core courses required of all master of science nursing students and specialty courses for the nurse anesthesia program.  The semester in the fall begins the clinical practicum for the program and from then on students are in the operating room four days a week with one day at the college.  Some of the core courses include: pharmocotherapeutics in advanced nursing practice, conceptual basis for advanced nursing practice, pathophysiology, advanced health assessment, nursing research theory, advanced nursing practice within complex health care systems, and ethical reasoning and issues in advanced nursing practice.  Specialty courses related to the CRNA program include: physiologic variables for nurse anesthesia practice I – respiratory, basic principles of nurse anesthesia practice, pharmacology of anesthetic and accessory drugs, physiologic variables for nurse anesthesia practice II – cardiovascular, physiologic variables for nurse anesthesia practice III – endocrine, neuro and renal, and advanced principles of nurse anesthesia practice.  Upon completing the graduate degree program in nurse anesthesia, the student will be able to perform a wide variety of anesthetic duties including but not limited to:  preanesthetic assessment,  developing and implementing an anesthesia care plan, evaluating and adapting the care plan based on patient response and other considerations, post-operative evaluation and care, maintain legal and ethical standards of practice, and maintain both advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) and pediatric advanced life support (PALS) certification.

While this is information from one program there are over 100 programs you can research. For a list of accredited CRNA programs you can follow the link below; this is from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) website in association with the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia (COA):

http://www.aana.com/aanaaffiliates/accreditation/Pages/Accredited-Programs.aspx

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