Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2003-07-10

The graduate-level nurse anesthesia program at Samford University's Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing has received accreditation from the Council on Accreditation (COA) of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs. School officials also recently learned that the program has received a $310,495 Title VIII federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to assist with program development.

The accreditation news comes less than 10 months after the first steps were taken to seek the designation. Normally, universities starting a nurse anesthesia program are advised to allow a minimum of 18 months to achieve accreditation, according to Dr. Michael A. Fiedler, chair of Samford's Department of Nurse Anesthesia.

"Our ability to achieve accreditation so quickly was due to the firm administrative and academic foundation present within the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing, the cooperation of the Council on Accreditation, and the efforts of School of Nursing faculty and administrators," said Dr. Fiedler, who joined the faculty last year to oversee start-up of the new program.

The Title VIII grant, the first advanced nursing training grant ever awarded to the Samford nursing school, will assist with faculty salaries, curriculum development, program consultants and capital equipment such as computers and instructional photography and video equipment.

"The financial support provided by the grant will significantly enhance the development and implementation phases of the anesthesia program," said Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing dean Dr. Nena Sanders.

Students completing the nurse anesthesia program will receive a Master of Science in Nursing degree and fulfill educational requirements to take the Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) examination.

Members of the first class will begin coursework in August. Following a year of classroom work in core nursing, basic science and clinical anesthesia courses, students will receive hands-on clinical education in the Birmingham area. The first class will graduate in December of 2005.

Graduates of the new program will help meet a national CRNA shortage, which is especially severe in the southeast, notes Dr. Sanders. The newly-accredited Samford program is one of about 90 in the U.S. and two in Alabama.

Requirements for admission include a bachelor's degree in nursing.