JACKSON, Tenn. – Aug. 29, 2013– The School of Nursing’s nurse anesthesia track at Union University recently received accreditation for the entry level Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice track.
The program, one of only 15 in the U.S. and Costa Rica, received its accreditation Aug. 2 from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. The accreditation process took about a year to complete.
Molly Wright, professor of nursing and chair of Union’s nurse anesthesia track, said COA’s job is to ensure each nurse anesthesia program offers resources such as appropriate clinical sites and challenging curriculum while upholding accreditation standards.
“You can’t start a program unless it’s accredited with COA,” Wright said. “They’re trying to prevent someone from starting an anesthesia school that doesn’t have appropriate resources needed to produce a strong nurse anesthesia graduate.”
One of the requirements for a BSN-DNP program is that nurse anesthesia faculty members have doctoral degrees, Wright said. In the past four years, three of Union’s four nurse anesthesia professors have earned their DNP, while the fourth faculty member is in the process of earning her doctoral degree.
Union received its accreditation for its master’s degree in nurse anesthesia in 2012. To receive the BSN-DNP accreditation, the School of Nursing had to show how it met the newly developed COA doctoral standards.
“COA supports the recommendation by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing that nurses enter graduate programs with a BSN and graduate with a DNP,” Wright said. “This education process is recommended to be in place by 2025. So we just got a head start on that.”
Current students in the Master of Science in Nursing track will continue in their curriculum and graduate in 2014 and 2015. The first class of BSN-DNP students will graduate in 2016.
By Beth Byrd