August 22, 2003

School of Nursing Announces Partnership with Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia

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Left to right, Anita Gupta, Jean Dobson, Tracey Wilkinson, Tamara Buckles, Cynthia Wilson and Julia Shaklee are six of the eight medical students that recently participated in the Amos Christie Pediatric Society Summer Scholarship program. Anne Rayner

School of Nursing Announces Partnership with Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia

The School of Nursing has signed an agreement with Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia (MTSA) to offer graduates of Vanderbilt’s Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP) Program an early interview and potential acceptance in MTSA’s highly competitive Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) program.

An early interview will occur before MTSA’s general admission process begins in January each year, giving VUSN graduates a head start in the admissions and acceptance process. Students will earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Vanderbilt in the Acute Care specialty, and a Master of Science with a focus in Anesthesia from MTSA.

Linda Norman, DSN, Senior Associate Dean for Academics at VUSN, says that while the agreement does not guarantee a VUSN student’s acceptance to MTSA, it does show that MTSA has high level of confidence in graduates of Vanderbilt’s nursing program. “Many of the VUSN students are interested in having a dual preparation as Acute Care Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Anesthetists” said Norman.

Nurse anesthetists manage care of patients immediately before, during, and after surgery by either giving anesthesia to patients or waking them up from anesthesia. “Nurse anesthetists usually work in concert with the anesthesiologist,” Norman said. “But they will manage cases on their own for patients who are well or have uncomplicated problems requiring anesthesia,” she added.

That autonomy of practice is appealing to many nurse practitioners, and the job can also be very lucrative, making for a large number of applicants vying for spots at MTSA each year.

“MTSA selects for admission only those students who meet rigorous admissions standards, and we are pleased to have this relationship with VUSN. We have accepted many students who have completed the MSN at VUSN, and we have been very satisfied that their education has prepared them to enter MTSA,” said Mary Elizabeth DeVasher, MEd, MS, Dean of MTSA.

Colleen Conway-Welch, PhD, Dean of VUSN, says she has always been aware of the quality of nurse anesthesia education offered at MTSA and is also pleased to be collaborating with the school.

“VUSN and MTSA are establishing a one-of-a-kind relationship. It is a cost-effective and cost-efficient way to enhance the educational offerings of both schools without duplicating efforts between the two schools, and will result in increased access for patients needing quality anesthesia care,” Conway-Welch said.

Dean DeVasher says MTSA’s goal is to educate CRNA’s who can practice with anesthesiologists in a large metropolitan area, or also be the sole provider of anesthesia in rural, underserved areas. “There is an acute shortage of nurse anesthetists,” said DeVasher.

VUSN’s contractual agreement with MTSA will also benefit students in VUSN’s bridge program, who can enter the Master’s program at Vanderbilt with no prior nursing experience, and will also be eligible for early consideration at MTSA.

The bridge students who successfully complete Vanderbilt’s Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program can pursue early consideration at MTSA after completing a year of critical care nursing experience.

MTSA runs a 28 month program. Currently, VUSN is the only school with a contractual agreement for an early interview with MTSA.