Nurse Anesthesia Program Established

Nurse Anesthesia Program Established

Connell School to launch master of science degree program in January

By Kathleen Sullivan
Staff Writer

The Connell School of Nursing has established a new graduate program in nurse anesthesia, making it only the second institution of higher education in Massachusetts to offer such a degree.

Connell School of Nursing Dean Barbara Hazard Munro: "We have established this program because there is a societal need and it is important for us to do."
Having received clearance from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, the school is accepting applicants until Nov. 15 and will formally begin the 27-month, full-time master of science degree program in January.

The program is a partnership between CSON and Anaesthesia Associates of Massachusetts, the largest provider of anesthesia services in the state.
Nurse anesthetists are not a new concept, according to CSON Dean Barbara Hazard Munro. Nurses have been administering anesthesia since the 1800s, she said, and nurse anesthetists provide approximately two-thirds of anesthesia care in US hospitals.

Recent changes in medical regulations now require that nurse anesthetists have a master's degree, however, and a shortage of qualified nurses looms, says Munro.

"There are estimates that we need to graduate 1,500 to 1,800 nurse anesthetists a year in this country to meet demand. We are only producing about a thousand," said Munro. "We have established this program because there is a societal need and it is important for us to do."

The shortage of nurse anesthetists is especially profound in Massachusetts, according to Nurse Anesthetist Program Director Susan Emery, chief nurse anesthetist at Anaesthesia Associates. The state's high cost of living and low reimbursement rate makes recruiting difficult, she said.

CSON's new program will provide students with all the core courses for the master's degree along with 12 courses in the specialty of nurse anesthesia. Clinical placements for the program will be at Boston Medical Center, Faulkner Hospital, Mount Auburn Hospital, New England Baptist Hospital, Saints Memorial Medical Center and Deaconess Glover Hospital, among others. Graduates of the program will be prepared to take the national certification examination.

"The accreditation team was greatly impressed with the partnership between the Connell School and Anaesthesia Associates," said Munro. "They were impressed by the clinical sites and experience in clinical supervision that Anaesthesia Associates have and by the well-established master's program in our school."

More information on the nurse anesthesia program is available through the CSON Web site, at


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