The track requires all applicants to have one full year of ICU experience upon application completion to be invited to interview with the Program Administrators.  Critical care experience must be obtained in a critical care area within the United States, its territories, or a U.S. military hospital outside of the United States. A critical care area is defined as one where, on a routine basis, the registered professional nurse manages one or more of the following: invasive hemodynamic monitors (such as pulmonary artery catheter, CVP, arterial blood pressure); cardiac assist devices; mechanical ventilation; and vasoactive drips. The critical care areas include intensive care units.  Those who have experience in other areas may be considered provided they can demonstrate competence with invasive monitoring, ventilators, and critical care pharmacology.

Surgical, Trauma, Neuro or Cardiac ICUs are preferred and Pediatric ICUs in a large Children’s Hospital are also acceptable. Only NICU experience in a level 4 will be considered.  ICU experience should demonstrate critical decision making and psychomotor skills, competency in patient assessment, and the ability to use and interpret advanced patient monitoring. Other experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Admissions Committee.

Satisfactory performance (50th percentile preferred) on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required for applicants who earned a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of less than  3.4 on a 4.0 scale in the BSN and any other undergraduate degree.  

The first 2 semesters are spent completing DNP core course requirements.  Clinical rotations begin in the Fall of the first year. When clinical rotations begin, students have didactic classes during the day when not in clinical and may have a Villanova DNP core course in the evening 1 day a week, if a student did not elect to take the available core courses, beforehand. This makes for a busy schedule. Some weeks students might have 2-3 anesthesia exams, papers, presentations, lectures, and other projects. Clinical rotations are 2 days per week in November with classes held the other 3 days.  By June of the second year, clinical rotations are 4 days per week and class is one day per week.  Students begin clinical rotations with basic cases, focusing on learning and implementing the basics of a proper room setup, anesthesia machine and equipment checks, and developing an anesthetic plan of care. The DNP project courses begin in the Spring of the second year and continue until the Summer of the third year, when students will focus on board preparation. Students eventually master the art of time management and find a balance for themselves between school, clinical, and personal life.

Financial aid, loans, scholarships (Sigma Theta Tau,) Nurse Anesthesia traineeships, and hospital subsidies are available to those that are eligible.

We STRONGLY discourage students from working after clinical rotations begin. However, some students work as an RN on a limited basis early in the track while DNP core classes are taken.  If students opt to take core courses ahead of time, then we expect they will be able to continue working until the clinical rotations begin in the Fall of the first year.

The deposit is nonrefundable. It is used to support the educational and administrative costs of the track.

Tuition and Fee

Other cost payable by student:

Payable to CCMC/Villanova Nurse Anesthesia Program:

     • $3,000 non-refundable seat deposit upon acceptance into the Nurse Anesthesia track.

*Payable to Villanova University:

     • $18,800 Technology Fee (paid over 6 semesters)

Miscellaneous Costs paid by Student:

     • AANA Membership: $200

     • SEE exams at $250/exam (minimum of two exams) $500

     • NCE fee (paid to NBCRNA upon registration for exam): $995

     • Textbooks:  approximately $1,000 (Students may purchase textbooks from the vendor of their choice)  


*Subject to change at the discretion of Villanova University administration

Clinical rotations begin in November of the first year. The first clinical rotation is scheduled for 7 months to provide consistency while students learn basic concepts. After the initial rotation, all other clinical rotations are scheduled between 1 to 6 months at a time. Students will gain exposure to different facilities, providers, patient populations, and anesthesia techniques. The variation in clinical sites and broad exposure to clinical experiences is frequently cited as a major strength of the program.

Most of our clinical sites are within an hour drive from CCMC. Clinical assignments are planned carefully for each student to limit commute times to less than an hour when possible. The clinical sites in the Harrisburg, Lancaster and Allentown areas are reserved for students geographically located in those areas.

No, we currently only accept applicants with a BSN degree to the Nurse Anesthesia track.

On average, we process 150-200 applications. Only the most qualified applicants who meet or exceed application criteria are invited to interview. We interview approximately 50 to 60 qualified applicants for 30 seats in the Cohort. The track is extremely competitive.

Yes. Our students are expected to attend one professional meeting each year. The state meetings are a great opportunity to network with other nurse anesthesia students and providers as well as meet with local recruiters and vendors. The nurse anesthesia track area also conducts various workshops for the students. Students are encouraged, but not required to attend the annual national AANA meeting. The national conference includes many recruiters from all over the country, a trade show, social functions, and an opportunity to network with other anesthesia students and providers.

Accepted applicants may take three courses (Nursing Research, Advanced Pharmacology, and Advanced Pathophysiology) prior to beginning the anesthesia track. Some DNP core courses are web-based. This allows students to work until clinical rotations begin in the Fall of the first year. Generally, taking classes before the track actually begins, eases the workload during the clinical portion of the program.

Yes. We have a high-fidelity patient simulator with anesthesia machines and state of the art anesthesia related equipment. The simulation lab is located on our Villanova campus in Driscoll Hall. Anesthesia students will have numerous opportunities to learn using the simulation lab throughout the track. Introductory modules have been designed to facilitate the integration of didactic material with basic clinical skills and prepare students to begin clinical rotations. Subsequent modules include advanced airway management, obstetric, regional, cardiac and pediatric anesthesia and crisis resource training.

No. Our students generally rotate between 5 to 8 different clinical sites and therefore, have a great exposure to many CRNAs, anesthesiologists, and anesthesia practices. These clinical sites often recruit students well before graduation. The majority of our students accept employment prior to graduation. However, employment opportunities are consistently available in local and national markets and students may opt to relocate upon graduation.


Interim Associate Dean of the Graduate Nursing Program
Lesley A. Perry, PhD, RN

Assistant Director, Graduate Program
Kelly Sheaffer


Program Director
Jodie Szlachta, PhD, CRNA

Associate Program Director
Matthew McCoy DNP, CRNA

Director of DNP Projects and Nurse Anesthesia Simulation
Carlene McLaughlin, PhD, CRNA, CHSE

Alice Jurski, EdD, APN-A, CRNA

Program Manager
Denise Lamb, SPHR, SCP