In March 2020, The University of Tulsa’s new nurse anesthesia (NA) program achieved an important milestone: accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). The COA is nationally recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as an accrediting agency for the accreditation of institutions and programs of nurse anesthesia.
TU’s NA program is the only one in Oklahoma. Directed by Dr. Lisa Riedel, the program’s first students will begin classes in August this year.
The NA program is the latest addition to the School of Nursing’s graduate offerings, which include three other doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs:
- Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AG-ACNP)
- Family nurse practitioner (FNP)
- Post-master’s to DNP completion
Development and launch of the NA program is an example of the School of Nursing’s recent forward momentum aimed at meeting the health care needs of people in Oklahoma and across the country. In January, for example, the school welcomed a new director, Dr. Bill Buron. In 2019, the AG-ACNP and FNP programs celebrated the graduation of their first cohorts, all of whom also successfully passed their certification exams and are employed in their field.
“I am very pleased that our new NA program has been accredited by the COA,” Buron remarked. “Across the country, there is high demand for well-prepared nurses at all levels. From our bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program right through our expanding suite of graduate nursing opportunities, the School of Nursing strives to ensure our students receive high-quality, fully integrated preparation for successful careers.”
Jenny Schmitt, the immediate past president of the Oklahoma Association of Nurse Anesthetists and its current government relations chair, added: “For years in Oklahoma, health care deserts have continued to spread across our state due to a shortage of providers. Having an accredited NA program in our state is vital to the mission of providing high-quality health care statewide and reversing the years of damage to rural and underserved areas. With a consistent supply of highly trained certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) from TU to join the workforce, Oklahoma’s future is brighter than ever. CRNAs provide critical anesthesia services so that citizens all across our great state can have access to surgery and obstetrical care. The future of health care is here, thanks to TU’s investment in an accredited NA program.”
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