Park Ridge, Ill. - Two years after convening a high-level summit meeting and appointing a task force to thoroughly explore interests and concerns surrounding doctoral preparation of nurse anesthetists, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) has announced its support of doctoral education for entry into nurse anesthesia practice by 2025.
Since its founding in 1931, the AANA has advanced quality education as the means to ensure that nurse anesthetists are the best-prepared, safest anesthesia providers possible.
"Healthcare is changing at an extraordinary rate, requiring Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) and other providers to keep pace by continually expanding their knowledge and skills," said Wanda Wilson, CRNA, PhD, MSN, president of the 36,000-member AANA. Echoing the rationale cited in the association’s position statement that was adopted by the AANA Board of Directors on June 2, 2007, Wilson added, "To best position CRNAs to meet this challenge and remain leaders in anesthesia care, the AANA strongly supports doctoral education that encompasses technological and pharmaceutical advances, informatics, evidence-based practice, systems approaches to quality improvement, and other subjects that will shape the future for anesthesia providers and their patients."
Nurse anesthesia educational requirements have evolved extensively over the last 75 years—from 1933 when the primary objective of developing standards for nurse anesthesia education was identified, to 1998 when the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) required that all nurse anesthesia educational programs award a master’s or higher-level degree.
Beginning in the mid 1980s, the AANA and the COA have continually assessed the need for and feasibility of practice-oriented doctoral degrees for nurse anesthetists. In June 2005, the AANA Board of Directors convened an invitational summit meeting to discuss interests and concerns surrounding doctoral preparation for nurse anesthetists. Following the summit, the Task Force on Doctoral Preparation of Nurse Anesthetists (DTF) was formed and charged with developing options relative to doctoral preparation of nurse anesthetists that the AANA Board could consider.
The DTF held numerous meetings, conducted surveys, and held open hearings at AANA national meetings. The DTF’s final report and options were presented to the AANA Board of Directors in April 2007, and in June 2007 the board unanimously adopted the position of supporting doctoral education for entry into nurse anesthesia practice by 2025.
The position was announced to the AANA membership by 2006-2007 AANA President Terry Wicks, CRNA, MHS, at the 2007 AANA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colo.