2010 - 2011 Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia (MSNA)

Program Goals | Admission | Progression in the Program | Probation and Dismissal | Graduation | Program Requirements | Plan of Study | Course Descriptions

Dean, Sheryl Steadman
Program Director, James Stimpson
Assistant Director, Christopher Torman


The mission of the Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia (MSNA) program at Westminster College is to provide an academic environment, which allows nurse anesthesia students to master the intellectual and technical skills required to become competent in the safe administration of anesthesia. The program accomplishes this by admitting a select group of experienced, graduate level nurses and then providing them with the highest level of didactic, anesthesia simulation and clinical site experiences. Our nurse anesthesia graduates develop life-long critical thinking skills and the professionalism needed to become compassionate, patient-centered anesthesia providers in solo practice or within anesthesia care teams.

We are committed to upholding the standards set forth by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) and the Council on Accreditation (COA) to produce skilled nurse anesthetists who are qualified to sit for the National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) Examination.

By this educational endeavor, it is the mission of the MSNA program at Westminster College to contribute to filling the urban and rural community needs for anesthesia providers.

Program Goals

A graduate of the MSNA program will be prepared to:

  1. Demonstrate delivery of safe anesthetic with vigilant protection of patient and prevention of complications.
  2. Deliver individualized perianesthetic care throughout anesthetic continuum to patients of all ages and physical conditions.
  3. Possess skill and knowledge necessary to function as a resource person for airway and ventilator management of patients in a variety of settings.
  4. Demonstrate critical thinking during decision making and apply sound principles and evidence-based research to practice.
  5. Demonstrate mastery of anesthesia concepts and skills by passing the NBCRNA certification examination in accordance with CCNA policies and procedures.
  6. Possess verbal, nonverbal, and written communication skills needed to effectively communicate with all individuals influencing patient care.
  7. Demonstrate professional attributes necessary to accept responsibility and accountability of a new anesthesia practice.
  8. Become politically active in the advancement of nurse anesthesia.

Admission to the MSNA Program

See the Admission to the College section for admission requirements.

Progression in the MSNA Program

The student must:

  1. Maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
  2. Receive a grade of 82% or higher in all courses.
  3. Maintain current RN license in good standing.
  4. Complete the program within three and a half years of admission date.
  5. Complete all masters project proposal and defense work by the appropriate deadline date assigned by course faculty.
  6. Maintain no history of arrest and a negative drug screen. Report any change of criminal background history change or malfeasance.
  7. Stay in good standing at clinical sites.

Classroom Probation and Dismissal Policy

At the time a student demonstrates unsatisfactory achievement in a nurse anesthesia (MSNA) course, the faculty will confer with the student. A written academic warning does not constitute dismissal; however, it does require a change in behavior in order to maintain progression within the nurse anesthesia (MSNA) program. The written warning will outline what the student must do to meet the course requirements and change necessary behavior. Students will not be on probation more than 2 times during the program or they will be dismissed.

Criteria for Probation

A student may be considered on probation when he/she has:

  1. Failed to meet objectives within a specified course as outlined in the course syllabus. Examples of this include excessive tardiness/late arrival to class or consistent late submission of written work; failure to notify the faculty of lateness; or an inability to master the technical skills necessary to the profession of nurse anesthesia. It is the philosophy of the faculty of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences that the student is responsible for his/her own actions, and must function within the philosophy and objectives of the nurse anesthesia program, as well as the specified course. It is the responsibility of the faculty to document failure to meet objectives and rationale for placing a student on probation.
  2. Failed to master course content, as demonstrated by low test scores and/or inability to incorporate knowledge into nurse anesthesia practice activities. It is the responsibility of the faculty to evaluate a student's progression within a course relative to academic achievement. This is generally done midway through and at the end of the course. If at the mid-course evaluation the student is found to be deficient in course content knowledge, the faculty and student should identify a means to enable the student to gain such knowledge; however, it is the student's responsibility to identify his/her own learning needs and pursue a course of action which will allow him/her to gain such knowledge and maintain progression in the nurse anesthesia program.

The faculty member and student may determine the amount of time that is necessary for a change in behavioral patterns. The time should not exceed the length of the current semester.

It is expected that both the student and faculty will identify methods to correct the behavior, but it is the responsibility of the student to maintain the accepted behavior. Failure to correct and /or maintain the behavioral change may result in dismissal form the program. The faculty will notify the Graduate Faculty Concerns Committee of students who are on probation.

It is not the intent of the faculty to be punitive in giving a student an academic warning of probationary status, but to alert him/her to behaviors which may compromise the student's practice of professional nurse anesthesia and to help the student to achieve his/her goals and reach his/her potential as a professional.

Clinical Probation and Dismissal Policy

A student may receive a clinical/classroom warning of probationary status at any time during a clinical experience if the faculty/preceptor determines that the student's performance is unsatisfactory. Performance will be evaluated according to evaluation tools (Refer to Clinical Site Handbook for copies of MSNA Term Clinical Evaluation Tools). The written warning will outline what the student must do to meet the identified clinical requirements. Students who have been placed on probation will be formally evaluated at the end of the probationary period. Students must be removed from probation to progress in the MSNA program. However, any probationary status will be documented in the student record. Students will not be on probation more than 2 times during the program or they will be dismissed.

A student may be dismissed from the MSNA program for any of the following reasons:

  1. Failed attempts at redirection as mentioned in classroom and clinical probation policies.
  2. Violations of the academic honesty policy.
  3. Violation of the American Nurses Association "Code for Nurses" guidelines for ethical practice or the National Student Nurses' Association "Code of Academic and Clinical Conduct."
  4. Failure to maintain a grade of 82% or higher in each MSNA class.
  5. A documented pattern of unprofessional behavior in the classroom or clinical setting.
  6. Failure to maintain an average clinical score greater than 2.5 on daily and term evaluations.
  7. Unsafe practice or unsatisfactory performance in the clinical area.
  8. Evidence of criminal arrest that impedes clinical site placement.

Appeals for Readmission

The student has the right to appeal this action. Please see the Program Director for the procedure.

Graduation Requirements

Candidates for graduation should apply to the Registrar's Office approximately two regular semesters prior to planned completion of graduation requirements. Applications for December graduation are due in September and applications for May and August graduation are due in October. Please see the Academic Calendar for more specific dates. Candidates are notified of remaining degree requirements within four weeks after applying for graduation.

To be eligible for a master's degree, students must satisfy the following conditions:

  1. Meet all credit hour and other course requirements.
  2. Maintain an overall grade point average of 3.0 or above.
  3. Be enrolled at Westminster College during the semester in which they wish to graduate.
  4. Maintain good academic standing and not be on probation.
  5. Earn a grade of 82% or higher in all graduate courses.
  6. Maintain an average clinical score greater than 2.5 on daily and term evaluations.

Note: Only graduate-level coursework may be applied toward degree requirements.

The final responsibility for being informed about, and adhering to, graduation requirements rests with the individual. Continued communication with the faculty advisor is recommended.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 64 credit hours is required for graduation. Clinical cases must include all minimum numbers as directed by the Council on Accreditation. Please see the Program Director for specifics.

Requirement Description
Credit Hours
I. Required Courses 64
. MSNA 500 Physiology I
MSNA 501 Physiology II
MSNA 510 Chemistry/Physics
MSNA 520 Pharmacology I
MSNA 521 Pharmacology II
MSNA 530 Gross Anatomy
MSNA 540 Professional Aspects
MSNA 550 Anesthesia Principles I
MSNA 551 Anesthesia Principles II
MSNA 552 Anesthesia Principles III
MSNA 553 Anesthesia Principles IV
MSNA 554 Anesthesia Principles V
MSNA 560 Simulator Lab
MSNA 570 Research Methods
MSNA 571 Research Practicum
MSNA 580 Anesthesia Seminar I
MSNA 581 Anesthesia Seminar II
MSNA 582 Anesthesia Seminar III
MSNA 601 Clinical Practicum I
MSNA 602 Clinical Practicum II
MSNA 603 Clinical Practicum III
MSNA 604 Clinical Practicum IV

MSNA Program Plan of Study

The MSNA program is designed as a full-time curriculum consisting of 7 semesters.

Fall Semester Spring Semester Summer Semester
Year 1
(Terms 1-3)
MSNA 500 (5)
MSNA 510 (3)
MSNA 520 (3)
MSNA 530 (3)
MSNA 501 (5)
MSNA 521 (4)
MSNA 570 (3)
MSNA 540 (3)
MSNA 550 (5)
MSNA 560 (2)

Year 2
(Terms 4-6)
MSNA 551 (2)
MSNA 580 (1)
MSNA 601 (4)
MSNA 552 (2)
MSNA 581 (1)
MSNA 602 (4)
MSNA 553 (2)
MSNA 582 (1)
MSNA 603 (4)
Year 3
(Term 7)
MSNA 554 (1)
MSNA 571 (3)
MSNA 604 (3)
. .