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Accrediting agency approves Union’s CRNA program

JACKSON, Tenn.Oct. 17, 2005 – The official nurse anesthetist accrediting agency has given full approval to Union University’s Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist program, clearing the way for students to begin study in January.

The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) has given verbal approval of the program, according to Tim Smith, dean of Union’s School of Nursing. He said written approval would come shortly.

Smith also added that Union’s CRNA program will be the first such program among the 176 universities in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Twenty-six applicants have already been approved for the program, which will become the fifth CRNA program in the state of Tennessee. Smith said Union’s program, however, would be unique for the integration of Christian values into the instruction.

“Our difference is that we have a program for the purpose of teaching the Christian worldview in the profession of nurse anesthesia,” Smith said. “That’s what we’re going to be about.”

Union’s CRNA program will work with 13 regional hospitals. West Tennessee Healthcare has pledged $3 million to Union -- $500,000 for construction of White Hall and $2.5 million for the CRNA program, personnel and space needs.

“The establishment and launch of the CRNA program at Union University is one of the most exciting endeavors in the history of this university,” Union President David S. Dockery said. “Union has been blessed by great friends in the healthcare community since the establishment of the nursing program at Union 40 years ago, chief among these friends being West Tennessee Healthcare.”

Union University Provost Carla Sanderson said the approval is evidence of Union’s commitment to excellence in accreditation.

“This accreditation for Union’s new CRNA program comes as a result of two things – an amazing new team of bright, forward-thinking faculty, including our dean, and a 40-year-old School of Nursing filled with faculty who advance the nursing profession through their outstanding teaching and service,” Sanderson said.

The 31-month program will result in a Master of Science degree in nursing. Students will spend the first eight months in the classroom, followed by nearly two years in a clinical setting, where they will perform 1,200 procedures.

The first CRNA class at Union will graduate in August 2008.

“Union has had great nursing faculty and leadership, and wonderful nursing students -- all who have paved the way for this moment in the life of the institution,” Dockery said. “I am thankful for the generous support of the healthcare community and the leadership of Tim Smith and the nursing school faculty who have brought us to this point.”

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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