New Nursing Anesthesia Doctoral Degree

The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies and Truman Medical Center School of Nurse Anesthesia launched a new doctoral degree program.

Graduates will receive a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from UMKC. The new program is 36 months and accepts about 15 students per year.

“The School of Nursing and Health Studies is thrilled about this new collaborative degree program,” said Ann Cary, dean of the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies. “The new degree will elevate the quantity and quality of health care for patients, examine translational research and provide our community with high-quality DNP nurse anesthesia professionals in the 21st century.”

The first students, class of 2016, recently started the new program. They will maintain dual enrollment in the UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies and the Truman Medical Centers School of Nurse Anesthesia during 73 credit hours of nurse anesthesia education and more than 1,600 clinical anesthesia hours averaging 900 anesthetics in the operating room, labor and delivery unit, gastroenterology lab and cardiology. The Truman Medical Center School of Nurse Anesthesia also operates a high-fidelity simulation lab which students use throughout the entire curriculum. Students also attend specialty clinical anesthesia rotations at seven other hospitals throughout Missouri.

The new program took more than two years to coordinate. The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs (COA) approved the degree program in July.

“It has been an extremely large undertaking requiring a tremendous amount of hard work by all involved but especially our program faculty who have developed the new curriculum and will now implement it as we move into the future,” said Mark Lipari, Educational Program Director of the Truman Medical Center School of Nurse Anesthesia. “We could not be more excited for our program, our students and all of our communities of interest who will benefit directly both now and in the future with the DNP degree.”

In the future, nurse anesthesia practice will continue to become more complex, and accreditation for nurse anesthetist programs will require all to offer the degree at the doctoral level by 2022. There will be a greater emphasis on quality, effectiveness, cost, use of scientific literature and evidence-based practice. The UMKC School of Nursing and Health Studies DNP replaces a master’s degree in biology, a collaboration with the UMKC School of Biological Sciences since 1978. For currently practicing nurse anesthetists with a master’s degree, the post master’s DNP degree can provide the DNP credential for their practice.

Currently in the U.S., more than 40,000 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists administer 36 million anesthetics to patients each year. Demand for services is significant and continues to grow. Rural communities and other underserved areas in Missouri and Kansas could likely face significant provider shortages if the nurse anesthesia program did not graduate this professional workforce.

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