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Villanova Nursing Graduates First Class of DNP Nurse Anesthesia Students

21 students posing for photo in Driscoll Hall lobby

Twenty-one Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse Anesthesia (DNP-NA) alumni will be launching their careers soon in various health systems across eight states. These inaugural DNP-NA students have graduated this month from the post-baccalaureate program, jointly offered by the Villanova University Fitzpatrick College of Nursing and Prospect Medical Holdings–Crozer-Chester Medical Center, which combines a rich foundation of scientific and theoretical knowledge with extensive clinical experience in the practice of nurse anesthesia and professional leadership.

This first class of DNP-NA graduates had reason to celebrate on December 2 at a dinner in their honor.  They began the rigorous, 36-month program in January of 2019. When the COVID-19 pandemic ensued early in 2020, “the students were pulled from clinical rotations for about six to eight weeks in the spring and summer of 2020 as clinical sites scrambled to care for COVID patients, prevent transmission and all elective surgical cases were cancelled,” notes Program Director Jodie Szlachta, PhD, CRNA.  The students maintained focus.  The anesthesia coursework was accelerated and didactic content was delivered online.  Students began board exam preparation early and worked on their DNP project development.  They also found ways to aid caregivers and patients by providing vaccinations and sharing their clinical expertise by participating in the development of NovaVent.

The students successfully presented their scholarly work and DNP projects on July 21 of this year (see below for their topics). “We are incredibly proud of the fantastic job our first DNP cohort did academically and clinically, especially during a pandemic. They met or exceeded our expectations with the quality of their completed DNP projects and clinical cases logged,” explains Carlene McLaughlin, PhD, CRNA, CHSE, director of DNP Projects and Nurse Anesthesia Simulation.

These DNP-NA graduates are part of a long line of over 400 Villanova nurse anesthesia alumni, who are working across the country, innovating and advocating for the profession, patient safety and smart policy to advance nurse anesthesia practice. They are clinicians in health care systems and outpatient settings – both civilian and military, educators and academic leaders in nurse anesthesia education, researchers and leaders in professional organizations.

The Class of 2021 Nurse Anesthesia DNP Scholarly Projects

Abigail Wilson and Kathleen Ryan: Waste Stream Diversion in the Operating Room

Emily Hylton and Shayla Davis: Utility of Letters Sent Home with Patients after Difficult Airway Management

Stephanie Kreider and Gillian Lattanzi: Obstetric Difficult Airways and SRNA Preparedness

Ashley Reyes and Krista Fisher: Endotracheal Tube Cuff Pressures

Edward Weaver and Justin Anderson: Sugammadex: High Risk Patient Population Identification and Medication Utilization

Maryellen Favata and Elizabeth Attanasio: Standardization of Eye Protection During Robotic Procedures

Katlyn Schieler and Logan Sessions: The Effect of Distractions During Induction and Emergence in Operating Rooms on Anesthesia Providers

Michele Stefankiewicz and Bartosz Kawalec: The Use of Clinical Site-Specific Information and Simulation to Decrease Anxiety in Second-Year Student Registered Nurse Anesthetists

Kenneth Primeaux, Jr.: The Impact of a Multifaceted Approach to Translating Research Results into Clinical Practice

Lucas Halliday and Paul Koller: Anesthesia Research-to-Clinical-Practice Barriers: A Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting Guideline Analysis

Izabela Miller and Veronica Hincapie-Escobar: The Impact of Mindfulness in Reducing Burnout in the Student Registered Nurse Anesthetist