Nursing Anesthesia grads achieve 100 percent pass rate on national exams

Nurse Anesthesia faculty: Jamie Sperle, Kevin Buettner, and Amber Johnson. Photo by Tyler Ingham.

The Nurse Anesthesia Class of 2018 (December 2018 graduates) achieved a 100 percent first time pass rate on the NBCRNA National Certification Examination.

This is the second year in a row that the department has achieved the milestone.

UND’s Nurse Anesthesia program is the only one in the state, and it prepares registered nurses to be Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), who administer all methods of anesthesia to all types of patients, including labor epidurals, monitored anesthesia care, and surgical anesthesia. CRNAs work collaboratively with physician anesthesiologists or independently as sole anesthesia providers.

The program, which began in 1986, admitted its first cohort in 1987, celebrated its 30th anniversary last year. It prepares registered nurses to become nurse anesthetists, with a special focus to serve small rural hospitals.

Students who enroll in the 28-month program spend the first 11 months on campus, and the rest of the time at hospitals and other clinical agencies, logging at least 2,000 hours of clinical experience.

The program is competitive: about 60 to 70 registered nurses apply each year for 12 seats, with a total of 24 students in the 28-month program. The small class sizes ensure individual attention. Since 2000, the graduation rate is 98.5 percent, and nearly all students have a job before they graduate. While most practice in North Dakota and Minnesota, graduates of the program can be found across the United States.