Greetings from Nurse Anesthesia
From Dr. James Sperle Nurse Anesthesia Program Director
Like many others throughout the country, our region continues to adapt to life after COVID. The pandemic exacerbated and highlighted the growing demand and need for specialized healthcare professionals in our state and region, such as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists.
Being a large rural state, North Dakota inherently faces challenges in delivering anesthesia services to its residents and visitors. The shortage of CRNAs in our state highlights the role of our program in meeting the healthcare needs of the people of ND.
Last fall’s 2022 newsletter discussed the program’s efforts to mitigate the shortage of CRNAs in our state and region by increasing enrollment. This past August, seventeen Nurse Anesthesia students walked across the Chester Fritz’s stage to receive their Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. The class of 2023 represents the largest graduating class to date. We congratulate these graduates on their hard work and dedication throughout the program. We are proud to now call them “colleagues.” The Class of 2023 averaged 974 cases and more than 2600 clinical hours (The accreditation requirement is 600 cases and 2000 hours, respectively). These numbers are up from the previous year and represent the program’s focus and commitment to graduating competent and skilled anesthesia providers.
The Nurse Anesthesia Program (NAP) has established a robust Assessment and Evaluation Plan to guide our program’s decision-making. We continue to take feedback and information from alums, employers, clinical partners, faculty members, and most importantly, our students. This feedback shapes and changes our curriculum to improve student outcomes and experience. We continue to explore opportunities to make our program better each year.
The nurse anesthesia program has also emphasized a full scope of practice. This includes expanded Point of Care Ultrasound experiences in collaboration with UND’s Medical School students and faculty and continued emphasis on regional anesthesia and invasive line placement. These experiences are taught in the classroom and simulation lab and integrated into the clinical setting. In addition, the program continues to incorporate high-risk- low-frequency scenarios such as LAST or MH into our simulation experiences.
We cannot thank our clinical partners enough for sharing their time and expertise with our students. Your impact on our students may not be evident day to day, but please know that your influence is measured and felt by students throughout the program and well beyond their graduation. Once again, thank you to the clinical preceptors, clinical coordinators, and partners who mentor and teach our students!
Here are a few photos from our program in the past year!