This year marks the 10th anniversary of the College of Nursing’s Nurse Anesthesia Program, a concentration in the master of science program. This week, Jan. 20-26, is National Nurse Anesthetists Week.
ECU’s program admits 12 students each January and the first class graduated in May 2005. The 28-month, full-time program of study requires that students attend classes on campus. The program is a model for interdisciplinary education that includes faculty from the College of Nursing, as well as the ECU Department of Chemistry, and Brody School of Medicine’s departments of anatomy, physiology and pharmacology. The clinical education occurs mainly in Greenville at Vidant Medical Center.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) students have bachelor’s degrees in nursing, are licensed as registered nurses and have at least one year of acute-care experience. Students take a core set of courses along with special anesthesia courses. They graduate with a master’s degree in nursing and are then eligible to sit for the National Certification Exam. Since inception of the program in 2003, ECU has had a 95% graduation rate and a 92% first-time NCE pass rate (100% overall pass rate). All 12 in the class of 2012 graduated and passed the NCE on first testing. Many graduates choose to stay and work as certified registered nurse anesthetists in eastern North Carolina, according to Maura McAuliffe, CRNA, PhD, FAAN, professor of nursing and director of the program.
According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, a CRNA takes care of a patient’s anesthesia needs before, during and after surgery or the delivery of a baby. CRNAs provide services in conjunction with other health care professionals, such as surgeons, dentists, podiatrists and anesthesiologists, and practice in a variety of settings including hospitals, surgicenters, and physician’s offices.
For more information on ECU’s program, visit http://www.pirateanesthesia.org.