TRANSITION OF THE MASTER OF SCIENCE PROGRAM TO A PRACTICE-ORIENTED DOCTORAL DEGREE PROGRAM
The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) requires that all students matriculating into a nurse anesthesia educational program on Jan. 1, 2022, or thereafter be enrolled in a program approved by the COA to award a practice doctoral degree. The last cohort of Master’s students started the program in May 2021, and will complete the program in August 2023.
This is a program offered by Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Graduate School of Health and Human Services. The qualified Registered Nurse is admitted to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and is directed toward the goal of earning a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia. Saint Mary’s University believes in building and developing on the baccalaureate base with emphasis on a strong scientific and technical background. Graduates will be prepared to practice in a wide variety of settings and in diverse methods of administering a safe anesthetic. The graduate is eligible to write the certification examination as offered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). Successful completion of the examination entitles the graduate to be known as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.
- Demonstrate the ability to provide safe and competent care throughout the perianesthetic continuum.
- Demonstrate critical thinking skills.
- Communicate effectively.
- Demonstrate professional behavior.
- Continue to learn throughout their careers.
Program Outcome Objectives
Patient safety is demonstrated by the ability of the graduate to:
- Be vigilant in the delivery of patient care and refrain from any activity that could interfere with vigilance.
- Protect patients from iatrogenic complications.
- Participate in the positioning of patients to prevent injury.
- Conduct a comprehensive and appropriate equipment check.
- Utilize standard precautions and appropriate infection control measures.
Individualized perianesthetic management is demonstrated by the ability of the graduate to:
- Provide care throughout the perianesthetic continuum.
- Use a variety of current anesthesia techniques, agents, adjunctive drugs, and equipment while providing anesthesia.
- Administer general anesthesia to patients of all ages and physical conditions for a variety of surgical and medically related procedures.
- Provide anesthesia services to all patients, including trauma and emergency cases.
- Administer and manage a variety of regional anesthetics.
- Function as a resource person for airway and ventilatory management of patients.
- Possess current advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) recognition.
- Possess current pediatric advanced life support (PALS) recognition.
- Perform a comprehensive history and physical assessment.
Critical thinking is demonstrated by the graduate’s ability to:
- Apply knowledge to practice in decision making and problem solving.
- Provide nurse anesthesia care based on sound principles and research evidence.
- Perform a preanesthetic assessment and formulate an anesthesia care plan for patients to whom they are assigned to administer anesthesia.
- Identify and take appropriate action when confronted with anesthetic equipment-related malfunctions.
- Interpret and utilize data obtained from noninvasive and invasive monitoring modalities.
- Calculate, initiate, and manage fluid and blood component therapy.
- Recognize and appropriately respond to anesthetic complications that occur during the perianesthetic period.
- Pass the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists’ (CCNA) certification examination in accordance with CCNA policies and procedures.
Communication skills are demonstrated by the graduate’s ability to:
- Effectively communicate with individuals influencing patient care.
- Utilize appropriate verbal, nonverbal, and written communication in the delivery of perianesthetic care.
- Communicate effectively through case records, written reports, written correspondences, and professional papers.
- Interact competently with diverse populations.
Professional responsibility is demonstrated by the graduate’s ability to:
- Demonstrate ethical behavior when interacting with patients, affiliated healthcare associations, and members of the medical community.
- Participate in activities that improve anesthesia care.
- Function within appropriate legal requirements as a registered professional nurse, accepting responsibility and accountability for his or her practice.
- Interact on a professional level with integrity.
- Teach others.
- Participate in continuing education activities to acquire new knowledge and improve his or her practice.
- Demonstrate knowledge of wellness and chemical dependency in the anesthesia profession through completion of content in wellness and chemical dependency.
Program Structure and Delivery
Students earn a minimum of 64 semester credits in a 28-month (seven semester) program by combining clinical and academic experiences. Courses in the program are delivered primarily face-to-face.
The Master of Science program in Nurse Anesthesia originated in response to the request of leaders in the healthcare field for graduate level education in the field of Nurse Anesthesia. With this need in mind, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota developed this program.
With a focus on meeting the needs of adult learners, the program’s goal is to provide a positive and supportive learning environment, preparing the professional nurse in the art and science of anesthesia and meeting the societal need for safe and competent anesthesia care.
The program provides the student with a curriculum that includes formal and informal instruction in scientific principles, clinical practice and professional growth opportunities. Core values upheld by all members of this community include academic excellence, professionalism and personal integrity, responsibility and compassion. A shared sense of responsibility exists between the faculty and the student to reach the goal of becoming a Nurse Anesthetist.
The Nurse Anesthesia Program enjoys full accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. The Council is recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
The program is 64 credits.
First Year: Semester I (Summer)
First Year: Semester II (Fall)
First Year: Semester III (Spring)
Second Year: Semester IV (Summer)
Second Year: Semester V (Fall)
Second Year: Semester VI (Spring)
Third Year: Semester VII (Summer)
The faculty members for this program have earned doctorate or master’s degrees. Faculty are selected for their combination of educational and professional experience and expertise.
Applicants seeking admission to this program must meet the admission requirements for Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs and for the Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia Program. In addition to University admission requirements, applicants must have:
- Completed an appropriate baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. Degrees must be completed and final transcripts must be submitted by the June 1 deadline. Appropriate degrees include the areas of nursing, biophysical, biological or behavioral sciences.
- Overall GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale or higher.
- A calculated Science and Math GPA of 3.0 or higher (this is explained and determined as a part of the application process).
- Current unencumbered licensure as a Professional Registered Nurse in the State of Minnesota, or eligible for reciprocity.
- A minimum of one year of experience as a Registered Nurse in a critical care setting at the time of application. Critical care employment must be ongoing until 90 days before you start the program. Critical care as defined by this program includes cardiac ICU, neuro ICU, neonatal ICU, and pediatric ICU. The cardiac cath lab, PACU, long term acute care, and emergency room care do not meet the program definition of critical care. Flight nursing will be considered on a case by case basis.
- A completed application submitted by the application deadline.
All students are required to have a physical examination prior to starting the program. A completed Health Status Form must be submitted prior to matriculation. Documented immunity is required for rubella, rubeola, varicella, Hepatitis B, and mumps. Vaccinations will be required in non-immune students. Proof of receiving the Tdap vaccine (protection against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) that extends to the date of the student’s graduation from the program is required.
Additional annual health-related documents are required later in the program including proof of a negative 2-StepTB TST test, QuantiFERON®-TB Gold-in-Tube test (QFT-GIT), or a T-SPOT® TB (or completion of the Positive TB Test Protocol) and proof of annual vaccination against influenza. Students that are positive for TB must follow the Nurse Anesthesia Student Protocol. This includes proof of a negative chest x-ray within the last year must be submitted to the Clinical Director for all students who have positive TB tests. In addition, the student must have an annual exam with their primary care provider indicating that there has been no change in their lung health.
Documented proof of COVID vaccine(s) is required by most hospitals/ same-day surgery centers. Students must comply with the facility policy and, in most cases, be fully vaccinated. Students must be aware that the school cannot guarantee clinical experiences (e.g. pediatrics, cardiac, major medical anesthesiology) in the event that a student decides to not be vaccinated. This could result in a delay of program completion, or, the inability to complete the program.
These requirements meet or exceed the Standards and Guidelines set by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.
Persons applying to the nurse anesthesia program must submit:
- A completed on-line application. The process can be found on the Saint Mary’s Online Application System. The application process MUST be completed by the admissions office deadline.
- Official transcripts, issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, from the school that conferred your degree in nursing, your Bachelor’s degree (if granted by a different institution), and the required chemistry prerequisite. Any transcript that you believe will enhance your application (i.e., additional science/math courses) will be accepted and included with you application.
- A transcript for a college-level chemistry course completed with a letter grade of “B” or better in the last five years. The course should have some element of inorganic, organic, and/ or biochemistry. All prerequisite courses must be taken at an accredited college/ university. Classes may be taken at an accredited two-year college. In progress coursework will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and may affect application ranking.
- A completed Personal Statement. The personal statement should be 1-2 pages and include the following:
- Brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience
- Statement indicating the applicant’s career goals and your reasons for seeking admission to the program
- Description of the areas you consider to be your strengths, and areas in which you wish to develop greater strengths and abilities
- Any personal information the applicant wishes to share
Once completed, this document must be loaded into the electronic application as directed by the application deadline. Please refrain from using personal identifiers in the narrative as well as in the title of the document, page numbers, etc. as the essays are blinded to readers to ensure process fairness.
- A current résumé or curriculum vitae listing educational background and work experience.
- Reference verification as requested by the program.
- A completed Math and Science GPA form. Once completed, this document must be loaded into the electronic application.
All application materials are to be submitted through the Saint Mary’s Online Application System.
Submission of all applicable college and nursing school transcripts must be sent directly to the Minneapolis Campus:
Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
2500 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404-4403
All application materials must be received by the program beforethe deadline for candidates to be considered. The program reviews applications once a year and accepts qualified applicants into the next available class.
Since the class size is limited, candidates who meet the minimum admission requirement may not be selected. The admissions committee will select the most qualified applicants based on the following criteria:
- The completed application and supporting material.
- Previous academic performance.
- Demonstrated success as a professional Registered Nurse in a critical care area.
- The ability to perform all anticipated tasks relevant to the practice of Nurse Anesthesia.
TRANSFER INTO THE PROGRAM
Transfer into the Nurse Anesthesia Program is handled on an individual basis. Credit for previous anesthesia education is not guaranteed.