Master's Nurse Anesthesia History

The Villanova University College of Nursing’s Nurse Anesthesia concentration began in 1997 with the admittance of the first class of students. The program was housed at Lankenau Hospital and was known as the Lankenau Hospital School of Anesthesia. The school of anesthesia had been in existence since 1964, first as an 18-month diploma program, then as a 24-month diploma program and in 1986 affiliated with St. Joseph’s University to offer a Master of Science degree on an optional basis, which by 1992 became mandatory.

Master's Nurse Anesthesia History

In 1996, the program director, Bette Wildgust CRNA MS MSN began to seek an academic affiliation with a college of nursing. Villanova accepted the offer and the nurse anesthesia concentration began. In the summer of 2000, it became obvious that a new clinical base would be required and explorations began with Crozer Chester Hospital. An agreement between Villanova and Crozer Chester was signed in January 2002 solidifying the arrangement between the two institutions. The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs was notified of the major programmatic change in May 2002 and approval was granted in June 2002 to begin the transfer of the ownership of the Lankenau Hospital School of Anesthesia from Lankenau Hospital to a joint sponsorship between Villanova University and Crozer Chester Hospital. The program is now known as Villanova University/Crozer-Chester Medical Center Nurse Anesthesia Program. The first class was admitted in August 2002.

Villanova University/Crozer-Chester Medical Center Nurse Anesthesia professional program has access to all facilities at Crozer-Chester Medical Center and its affiliating institutions. There are many clinical sites where the students can gain experience. The full-time adjunct faculty consists of board-certified anesthesiologists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, doctorally prepared nurses and guest lecturers.

The 27-month program consists of a didactic and clinical experience that exceeds the minimum requirement set forth by the Council on Accreditation. Upon completion of the professional curriculum, the student is eligible to sit for the National Certification Exam administered by the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists.

The first semester in the program is mostly didactic, with the goal of preparing the student for integration into the clinical area. During the next 12 months, the student receives the majority of the basic theoretical framework necessary for anesthesia practice. This didactic education is geared towards developing a nurse anesthetist equipped with the knowledge and skills of an advanced practice nurse necessary to practice nurse anesthesia. Clinical experience is obtained at clinical sites located in Philadelphia and its suburbs, central Pennsylvania, New Jersey and in Delaware. Assignments to the various sites are made in consultation with the program director, clinical site coordinator and the student. Students who live in the Lehigh Valley or Hershey area will rotate to Hershey Medical and Lehigh Valley hospitals. Lancaster General has been added as a site available to students from that area also. Senior students may elect to rotate through several community hospitals, again in consultation with the program director, clinical site coordinator and the student.

Students administer, under supervision, all types of general anesthesia. Clinical instruction is given on a one instructor-one student ratio until the staff feels that the student can be left alone to gain self-confidence. During this time, an instructor is immediately available for consultation.

A necessary factor for the totally-prepared nurse anesthetist is exposure to the anesthesia care of the critically-ill, trauma victim patients, and resuscitation of patients; therefore, students are scheduled to spend time in “on call” service to ensure adequate exposure to the pathophysiology of emergency anesthesia care.

Master's Nurse Anesthesia History