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UM-Flint Welcomes Doctorate of Anesthesia Program

Lauren Mixon

Lauren Mixon

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Adding to over thirty-five existing graduate programs, UM-Flint is introducing an entry-level Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) program to operate concurrently with the university’s existing DNAP completion program. The entry-level DNAP curriculum is based on the current Master of Science in Anesthesia Program. The program has been very successful for over 25 years with a 100 percent pass rate on the NBCRNA National Certification Exam and 100 percent employment within six months of graduation. The past four graduating cohorts (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017) completed the program with zero attrition.

To accommodate ever-changing standards in the field of healthcare, the Master of Science program is transitioning to a doctoral curriculum in Fall 2018. Dr. Shawn Fryzel, the anesthesia program director, explains why it is so important for the university to move to the advanced degree.

“The healthcare environment has undergone rapid changes in recent years and changes are expected to continue. Nurse anesthetists are now practicing in nontraditional settings such as physician offices, ambulatory care centers and pain management clinics. Technological and pharmaceutical advances are influencing the practice as is the increasing complexity and diversity within the patient population. While nurse anesthesia programs have for many years prepared safe and competent anesthesia providers who deliver cost-effective, quality anesthesia care, future anesthetists will need increased knowledge to be prepared to accept expanded roles in the evolving healthcare arena,” said Fryzel.

The new program is expected to be of great benefit to students as well as the community, as the new program will implement a wide variety of topics, including new material not previously covered in the Master’s program.

The new program will be as rigorous and science-based as the Master’s curriculum but more comprehensive. According to Fryzel, the program, “included minimal content in the areas of business, health policy, teaching and healthcare finance.”

The doctorate program will also incorporate a heightened level of research and an increase in clinical hours.

The doctoral-level program will require 36 months to complete rather than the 24 months currently required for the Master’s degree. The program will admit students and prepare them for careers in small 18-20 student cohorts.

The role of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is incredibly demanding and critically important to the healthcare field. UM-Flint clinical-track Anesthesia Program students obtain the necessary clinical experience at Hurley Medical Center and other clinical sites.

CRNAs are responsible for determining and administering anesthetic drugs to patients during surgical and obstetrical procedures. They remain with the patient for the duration of theprocedure, monitoring vital signs and medication levels to ensure patient comfort and safety.

The Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree curriculum exceeds requirements set by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs and “integrates intensive classroom instruction with practical clinical experience to provide valuable hands-on learning in real-world clinical settings,” according to the university’s program web page.

Students completing the program will be well-prepared to take on critically important responsibilities in healthcare, business, and education. With this new, advanced degree offering, “more graduates may seek positions in the areas of research, health policy, administration and academia. Additionally, with expanded knowledge of the business of anesthesia practice, more graduates are likely to choose to practice independently in rural areas, physician’s offices or other non-traditional practice settings, which will increase access to care for many citizens for whom healthcare options are currently limited,” says Fryzel.

Information regarding the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice can be found on the UM-Flint website under graduate programs.

This article has been edited by representatives of the Anesthesia Program. 

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UM-Flint Welcomes Doctorate of Anesthesia Program