VCU establishes Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree.
Virginia Commonwealth University now offers a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree, and is one of the first universities in the country to offer a practice doctorate focusing specifically on the discipline of nurse anesthesia.
The graduate nurse anesthesia program, in the VCU School of Allied Health Professions, is currently ranked No. 1 by U.S. News & World Report. Beginning fall 2007, students will have the ability to take the practice doctorate option at campuses in Richmond and at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va. “The practice doctorate keeps us well positioned on the cutting edge of graduate nurse anesthesia education,” said Michael D. Fallacaro, DNS, CRNA, professor and chair in the VCU Department of Nurse Anesthesia. “The health care system is increasingly complex and the new degree responds to the level of education and skills demanded of today’s nurse anesthetists to assure patients receive nothing less than the highest quality of care.”
The DNAP is designed for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists with master’s degrees who want to expand their knowledge in the areas of patient safety, evidence-based practice, education and leadership. The post-master’s DNAP is 33 semester hours, with a flexible curriculum structure that allows students to take courses on a full- or part-time basis through a combination of condensed on-campus sessions and Web-based instruction. The degree also is being offered as a combined master’s and doctorate degree.
“VCU was the first university in the country to offer a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia degree back in 1979, and it continues to be at the forefront of nurse anesthesia by offering the practice doctorate degree,” said Cecil Drain, Ph.D., dean of the School of Allied Health Professions and himself a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. The DNAP has been approved by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs and by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
The VCU Department of Nurse Anesthesia features the Center for Research in Human Simulation, a nationally recognized interactive series of laboratories that include state-of-the-art patient simulators and audiovisual equipment. Instructors create high-fidelity training scenarios where rare and critical events can be practiced in a safe environment. The center also has the ability to record training sessions for a detailed debriefing afterward with participants. These laboratories will be used extensively in the new DNAP curriculum where human factors known to have contributed to errors in the past can be illuminated, studied and attended to by future anesthesia providers.