UofL Health collaboration brings first certified registered nurse anesthetist program to Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) represent the majority of anesthesia providers in rural counties throughout the United States, and the University of Louisville’s School of Nursing is stepping up to offer a CRNA program to fill health care needs throughout Kentucky communities.

In collaboration with UofL Health, the School of Nursing is expanding its Doctor of Nursing Practice program offerings to include a nurse anesthesia track.

“The nurse anesthesia program will be the first in Louisville and will ensure a workforce of providers is available to safely administer anesthetics in the commonwealth,” said Sonya Hardin, dean of the School of Nursing.

The 36-month DNP program prepares nurses to provide safe, competent and ethical anesthesia and anesthesia-related care. It will encompass a fully integrated curriculum model with simulation experiences in the first year along with didactic coursework that will prepare students to begin clinical engagement as soon as their third semester in the program.

“This is an investment in our nursing team to enhance skills and offer new opportunities. It’s also another investment for our community,” said Shari Kretzschmer, UofL Health senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer. “As UofL Health grows to meet our community needs, we know there is an increased need for more anesthesia practitioners.”

Graduates will be prepared to take the national certification examination offered by the National Boards of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists.

“The UofL Nurse Anesthesia DNP program will blend high quality simulation, strong academic curriculum, and over 2,800 hours of extensive clinical training in some of Louisville’s top ranked hospitals. We are committed to fostering expertise in the art and science of anesthesia and excellence in leadership to ensure the future of our profession,” said Cheryl Parker, director of the Nurse Anesthesia Program.

CRNAs have topped Gallup’s Honesty and Ethics list for multiple years and are among the top ten in the 2021 and 2022 U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Health Care Jobs” report.

Those interested in the program must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, an unencumbered registered nursing license, CCRN certification, completed the GRE exam and a minimum of two-years, full-time experience in adult ICU, NICU or PICU.

The School of Nursing has received approval from the Kentucky Board of Nursing, is currently seeking accreditation from the Council of Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs, and expects to receive accreditation prior to enrolling students. The school will begin accepting applications on October 15 and the first cohort is expected to start in August 2023.

For more information about the program, visit the program’s website.