Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia Department


From your first interview, every moment sets you up for success.

In our MSNA program, each student is assigned a faculty mentor who will work closely with them from the moment they are accepted and will continue to mentor them well beyond graduation. In addition to receiving ongoing support from faculty and senior peers, students will also be connected with a local Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) preceptor for mentoring in a clinical setting. Students also benefit from extensive hands-on experience, small class sizes, an anesthesia simulation lab, and an engaging learning environment. This combination provides students with the necessary skills to succeed in any operating room.

We believe in going beyond “prepared.” The required number of cases students need to graduate is 600, but our graduates routinely average over 900 cases. Our clinical sites have exceptional CRNAs and anesthesiologists who excel at practicing and teaching the art of anesthesia. At the end of the 12-month didactic phase (Phase I), students work with faculty to design a clinical schedule that is based around the student’s requests for location, experiences, personal needs, and program needs. Students will go to approximately four different clinical sites in a typical schedule, but exceptions may be made for students who want to travel more or less.

Phase II spans 15 calendar months, and during this phase students will complete online coursework and participate in monthly collaborations with their classmates and instructors. At the completion of the program, students are assured a well-rounded, complete clinical experience that will set the foundation for a successful career in nurse anesthesia.

  • Total cases: 956
  • Epidurals: 33
  • Spinals: 65
  • Regional blocks: 166
  • Arterial lines: 72
  • Central lines: 89

  • Alabama: Birmingham
  • Arizona: Phoenix, Sun City, Sun City West
  • California: Fresno, Madera
  • Colorado: Alamosa
  • Georgia: Columbia
  • Idaho: Blackfoot, Boise, Driggs, Montpelier, Pocatello, Soda Springs, Twin Falls
  • Illinois: Huntley
  • Kansas: Garden City
  • Missouri: Festus
  • Nevada: Elko
  • Texas: Austin, Dallas, El Paso
  • Utah: American Fork, Cottonwood, Delta, Draper, Fillmore, Heber, Nephi, Ogden, Orem, Payson, Timpanogos, SLC, Vernal
  • Washington: Moses Lake
  • Wyoming: Afton, Cheyenne, Evanston

Courses and Plan of Study

Pharmacology I

Credits: 3.00

Basic principles of pharmacology, covering mechanisms of drug uptake, action, and removal from the body as it relates to cardiovascular, nervous and endocrine systems. Students will also be exposed to several drug categories, including opioids, local anesthetics and neuromuscular blockers.

Anatomy

Credits: 3.00

A general review of gross anatomy with particular emphasis on the respiratory and cardiovascular system, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.

Chemistry/Physics

Credits: 3.00

A study of the laws of chemistry and physics relating to anesthesia. Emphasis is placed on the gas laws, vaporization, pressures and flow, and chemical properties of anesthetic agents and drugs. In addition, application of these laws will be applied to anesthesia equipment, such as the anesthesia machine and breathing circuits.

Professional Aspects Anesthesia I

Credits: 3.00

A presentation of topics related to the practice of anesthesia, including the history of nurse anesthesia, the professional organization, legal aspects, credentialing, substance abuse, medical malpractice and anesthesia billing.

Principles of Anesthesia I

Credits: 3.00

This course is designed to present the student with an overview of introductory principles related to nurse anesthesia. Emphasis will be placed on the anesthesia machine, positioning, monitoring, documentation, the pre-anesthesia and post-anesthesia evaluation, fluid/electrolyte balance and blood transfusion therapy, pediatrics and regional anesthesia.

Physiology I

Credits: 5.00

Comprehensive study of the anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology of the nervous, muscle, endocrine and cardiovascular systems.

Physiology II

Credits: 5.00

Comprehensive study of the anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of the respiratory, neurology and renal systems.

Pharmacology II

Credits: 4.00

This course will provide the student nurse anesthetist with detailed information regarding the pharmacological agents that are applicable to clinical anesthesia practice. Students will apply the knowledge from basic principles of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics to anesthesia. Emphasis will be placed on the following drug classifications: inhalation anesthetics, IV inductions agents, respiratory agents, antiemetics, antihistamines, cardiovascular agents, anticoagulants, neuropsychiatric agents and chemotherapeutic agents.

Research Methods Seminar

Credits: 3.00

This course focuses on preparing students to critically analyze and develop research. Emphasis is placed on reading and interpreting published research in terms of applicability to the health care professional. Discussion groups, class presentations and lectures will use research articles to clarify and expand on key research concepts.

Research Practicum I

Credits:3.00

This course consists of independent study and the preparation and presentation of a capstone project.

Anesthesia Seminar I

Credits: 1.00

This course will expose the student to various topics such as the difficult airway and cultural differences that may impact the delivery of anesthesia care. Students will also have the opportunity to hone clinical and critical thinking skills by managing clinical case scenarios in the simulator laboratory.

Anesthesia Seminar II

Credits: 1.00

This course will expose the student to various topics such as the difficult airway and cultural differences that may impact the delivery of anesthesia care. Students will also have the opportunity to hone clinical and critical thinking skills by managing clinical case scenarios in the simulator laboratory.

Anesthesia Seminar III

Credits: 1.00

This course will expose the student to various topics such as the difficult airway and cultural differences that may impact the delivery of anesthesia care. Students will also have the opportunity to hone clinical and critical thinking skills by managing clinical case scenarios in the simulator laboratory.

Simulator Lab

Credits: 2.00

Hands on interaction in a simulated operating room environment with operating room table, intubatable mannequin, fully functioning anesthesia machine (old and new models), and a fully stocked anesthesia cart. This course is designed to take the student through the chronological steps of giving an anesthetic. Students will manage series of simulated adverse events in a variety of patient care settings. Simulated events will primarily focus on topics relevant to the practice of nurse anesthesia. Simulated events will include: Uncomplicated neonatal, pediatric, adult, and geriatric cases. Complicated cases will also be simulated in the simulation environment and will include (but not limited to) management of a difficult airway, management of an adverse respiratory event, management of a significant hemodynamic situation, skills in crisis resource management, management of infrequently occurring adverse events and equipment malfunctions.

Principles of Anesthesia II

Credits: 3.00

This course continues the presentation of the advances principles of anesthesia. In this block of instruction, the following topics will be covered: respiratory, hepatorenal, vascular, cardiac, vascular, neuroanesthesia and anesthesia for endocrine pathophysiology.

Principles of Anesthesia III

Credits: 3.00

This course continues the presentation of the advanced principles of nurse anesthesia. In this block of instruction, the following topics will be discussed in detail: regional anesthesia, obstetrics, pediatrics, and anesthesia for ear, nose and throat surgery.

Principles of Anesthesia IV

Credits: 3.00

This course continues the presentation of the advanced principles of nurse anesthesia. In this block of instruction, the following topics will be discussed in detail: organ transplantation, ambulatory and outpatient surgery as well as anesthesia in remote locations, geriatrics/conscious sedation, trauma/burns, and anesthesia for musculoskeletal diseases.

Phase I: Didactic Courses

12 months

Year 1, Term 1, Fall

August–December

  • MSNA 500: Physiology I (5 credits) Cellular, membrane & tissue mechanism. Physiology/pathophysiology of Muscle & Endocrine Systems
  • MSNA 510: Chemistry/Physics (3 credits) Chemistry/Physics related to Anesthesia
  • MSNA 520: Pharmacology I (4 credits) Basic principles of pharmacology; uptake, distribution, elimination
  • MSNA 530: Gross Anatomy (3 credits) Gross anatomy review with emphasis on CNS, cardiorespiratory, hepatorenal system
Year 1, Term 2, Spring

January–May

  • MSNA 501: Physiology II (5 credits) Physiology/pathophysiology of Respiratory, Cardiovascular, Nervous Systems
  • MSNA 521: Pharmacology II (3 credits) Pharmacology related systems & anesthesia
  • MSNA 540: Anesthesia Principles I (3 credits) History, Careplans, Positioning, IVF, Safety, Airway, Lines, Intro. To Regional Blocks, Machine
  • MSNA 570: Research Methods (2 credits) Research process
  • MSNA 660: Advanced Health Assessment (1 credit) Development of advanced communication, assessment, and diagnostic reasoning skills.
Year 1, Term 3, Summer

May–August

  • MSNA 550: Anesthesia Principles II (5 credits) OB, Pediatrics, Cardiac, Neuro, Ortho, ENT, CNS, Musculoskeletal, Adv. Respiratory
  • MSNA 560: Simulator Lab (2 credits) Interactive Human Simulation exercise
Phase II: Classes During Clinical Rotations

15 months

Clinical Rotations begin September Year 2 and go through December Year 3

Year 2, Term 4, Fall

August–December

  • MSNA 551: Anesthesia Principles III (2 credits) Trauma, Burns, Adv. CV, Transplant, Issues in Anesthesia Past & Present.
  • MSNA 580: Anesthesia Seminar I (1 credit) Research articles, Case-Studies.
  • MSNA 601: Clinical Practicum I (4 credits) Clinical cases in nurse anesthesia.
Year 2, Term 5, Spring

January–May

  • MSNA 552: Anesthesia Principles IV (2 credits) High Risk OB, Data Interpretation, Anesthesia and Cancer, Office Anesthesia, Outside the OR.
  • MSNA 581: Anesthesia Seminar II (1 credit) Research articles, case studies, simulation exercises.
  • MSNA 602: Clinical Practicum II (4 credits) Clinical cases in nurse anesthesia.
Year 2, Term 6, Summer

May–August

  • MSNA 553: Professional Aspects I (2 credits) Legal Issues, Substance Abuse, Business, Reimbursement, CV, Ethics, QI, The AANA, Professional Standards which influence anesthesia practice
  • MSNA 582: Anesthesia Seminar III (1 credit) Research articles, case studies, simulation exercises
  • MSNA 603: Clinical Practicum III (4 credits) Clinical cases in nurse anesthesia
Year 3, Term 7, Fall

August–December

  • MSNA 571: Research Practicum (3 credits) Completion/presentation of research projects
  • MSNA 554: Professional Aspects II (1 credits) Professional issues in nurse anesthesia-MSNA 604: Clinical Practicum IV (3 credits) Clinical cases in nurse anesthesia.
Program Total

64

Progression in the Program

Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia students must:

  • Receive a grade of 82% or higher in all MSNA courses.
  • Maintain a current, unencumbered RN license.
  • Complete the program within 3.5 years of your initial admission date.
  • Complete a master's level project by the deadline assigned by course faculty.
  • Maintain a background check free of arrest and/or criminal incidents. You must report any criminal arrests and/or criminal incidents within 24 hours to the program director.
  • Maintain a negative drug screen. You must report any change or prescribed use of mind-altering substances, including narcotics, within 24 hours to the program director.
  • Remain in good standing at clinical sites.

Accreditation

The MSNA program has received full accreditation from the Council on Accreditation (COA). The MSNA program underwent an accreditation visit by the COA in October 2011 and received the following letter from the Council on Accreditation:

"The directors of the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) are pleased to inform the Westminster College School of Nursing and Health Sciences Master's of Science in Nurse Anesthesia, Salt Lake City, UT, that continued accreditation has been granted. This decision recognizes the program for providing a graduate level curriculum leading to the award of a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia degree. A certificate designating this accreditation that is effective May 23, 2012 will be mailed under separate cover. Given this action of the COA, the program will be scheduled for its next consideration of continued accreditation in Spring 2022.

Finally, the COA would like the program to know that very few programs are granted accreditation with no progress report required. Even fewer programs have achieved the maximum accreditation of ten years. Therefore, the directors of the COA are particularly pleased to offer their congratulations to everyone at the program who has demonstrated their commitment to meeting the requirements for continued accreditation."

The Westminster MSNA (CRNA) program has set a tentative date of May, 2021, to transition to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). This transition will not affect students in the MSNA program during the transition period. The cohort beginning classes in May of 2021, will be admitted into a 36-month long program, culminating in a DNP degree.

The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) can be contacted by the following means:

222 S. Prospect Avenue
Park Ridge, Ill. 60068-4001
Main Number: 847.655.1160
Fax: 847.692.7137

The Westminster MSNA program is beginning the process of applying for accreditation to transition from a master's program (master of science in nurse anesthesia) to a doctorate program (doctorate of nursing practice). Tentative starting date for the first cohort of DNP students is May, 2021. The DNP program will be nine semesters over three years and will be approximately 90 credits.

MSNA Program Attrition Rates

20182017201620152014
0% (17/17 graduated)0% (19/19 graduated)0% (18/18 graduated)6% (17/18 graduated)0% (18/18 graduated)

MSNA Program Pass Rates (National Certification Exam—NCE)

Attempts20182017201620152014
1st88% (15/17)90% (17/19) 77.8% (14/18)94% (17/18)89% (16/18)
2nd100% (2/2)50% (1/2)83.3% (1/4)100% (1/1)100% (2/2)