Westminster College to Offer Utah's First Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia Program
August 3, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY – In Utah, 70% of the state’s hospitals rely on the services of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA). In rural Utah hospitals that number increases to 89% and in 59% of the rural hospitals, CRNAs are the only source of anesthesia for patients. Until now, there has not been a single institution of higher education in Utah which offered academic preparation for nurses who wished to become CRNAs and those Utahns have had to travel out-of-state for this degree.
In response to this need, Westminster College announced today that it will offer Utah’s first Masters of Science in Nurse Anesthesia (MSNA) program and following final accreditation this November by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, Westminster plans to graduate 15 new CRNAs each year.
In addition to being the first of its kind in Utah, Westminster’s MSNA program will be the only program in the intermountain region and the fifth in the western United States. There are currently only 95 accredited CRNA programs in the country.
Westminster has hired the President-Elect for the Utah Association of Nurse Anesthetists James Stimpson to become the new Director of the Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia Program. Stimpson was most recently the Chief Nurse Anesthetist at Ogden Regional Medical Center in Ogden, Utah and also has his own practice which he founded in 2004. He has experience in many different sub-specialties, including obstetrical and pediatric anesthesia, neurosurgery and cardiothoracic surgery.
Stimpson has worked as a Certified Nurse Anesthetist for many years and was also a member of the adjunct faculty at Weber State University. Stimpson has a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho. He has a Masters of Anesthesiology Education from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. He spent several years working as a Registered Nurse with the US Air Force Reserves, and later worked as an ICU nurse in Idaho Falls.
Westminster Dean of Nursing, Dr. Jean Dyer remarked, “Westminster has a long tradition of providing nursing professionals to serve our community and with the addition of this nurse anesthetist program we will be able to expand the way we support patients, doctors and the entire medical community in Utah and throughout the region.”
Dr. Dyer identified the need for a nurse anesthesia program shortly after arriving at the college in 2004. In her previous role as Director of Nursing at the University of New England, she had worked closely with administrators of the CRNA program there for 11 years. To develop the new program at Westminster College, Dr. Dyer worked for nearly two years to develop a curriculum, identify clinical sites and to initiate the accreditation process.
The Master of Science in Nursing Anesthesia program is a 30 month program that includes interactive classroom, human simulator, gross anatomy experiences and service learning field work. The first 10 months of classroom experiences will be offered on Westminster’s campus. The following 20 months will require students to rotate through a combination of urban and rural clinical facilities. Graduates of the Masters of Science in Nurse Anesthesia program are eligible to take the National Certifying Examination, passage of which enables the Certified Registered Anesthetist to practice in all 50 states.
For more information on nurse anesthetists, visit the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists website at www.aana.com.
Background Information on Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists:
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs):
- Provide 65% of the anesthetics delivered in the United States
- Practice in every setting in which anesthesia is provided: traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms; critical access hospitals; ambulatory surgical centers; the offices of dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and pain management specialists; and the U.S. Military among others
- 70% of Utah hospitals rely on the services of CRNAs
- In Utah’s rural hospitals, 89% have CRNAs and 59% of rural hospitals rely exclusively on CRNAs
- Provide obstetrical anesthesia at 82% of Utah hospitals, and 92% of rural Utah hospitals
- Are the sole obstetrical anesthesia providers at 71% of rural Utah hospitals
- Are the sole providers of anesthesia in more than two-thirds of all rural hospitals nationally, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.
There are 95 accredited CRNA programs in the United States:
- There are no other CRNA programs in Utah
- 35% of these programs are located in the South
- 30% are located in the East
- 25% are located in the Midwest
- 5% are located in the Plains/Mountain states
- 5% are located in the West