DNP Nurse Anesthesia Program

anesthesia student in simulation lab


The School of Nursing offers a BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program in Nurse Anesthesia. The 36-month program requires a minimum of 86 course credits, including core courses and anesthesia specialty courses. The program integrates research, physiology, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and anesthesia principles and prepares students for the national certification examination. Complete course descriptions can be found in the current WCU Graduate Catalog. The application deadline for the May 2018 class is September 15, 2017.

Highly qualified applicants may be reviewed and offered early acceptance prior to the application deadline. Classes are typically filled following the application deadline. Pending seat availability, highly qualified applicants may be reviewed and offered admission beyond the application deadline.

Clinical innovations include:

Please visit our Admissions page for complete details on admissions requirements. General requirements include:

  • Bachelor's degree in nursing
  • Current, unrestricted RN license
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA on last 60 undergraduate hours
  • Minimum one year full-time critical care experience
  • Successful completion of statistics, general chemistry and research
  • Competitive GRE score

The mission of the Nurse Anesthesia Program is congruent with the mission of the School of Nursing and Western Carolina University.

The Nurse Anesthesia Program mission is to create an academic center of teaching and learning excellence for the advancement of nurse anesthesia practice.  The program seeks to promote clinical scholarship and life-long learning and aims to support skilled and ethical service to our communities.  Through nurse anesthesia research, education, and practice, students and faculty will seek to enhance the quality of life for people of all cultures, economic levels and geographic locations.

Our purpose is to prepare outstanding nurse anesthetists by fostering an educational environment where scholarly thinking, dialogue, creativity and ideas flourish. The Western Carolina University Nurse Anesthesia Program will be concerned about excellence and high quality education in the development of nurse anesthesia leaders in practice, education, and research.

Reasons to Choose WCU’s Nurse Anesthesia Program

  • Small class size (14-16 students per class) and low student-to-faculty ratio ensure individualized attention.
  • Diverse clinical experience (spinals, epidurals) with no competition from other anesthesia learners
  • Total anesthetic cases average in excess of 900; unique learning experiences at two clinical sites where CRNAs are sole anesthesia providers; experience with ultrasound guidance in placement of nerve blocks (interscalene, supraclavicular, popliteal), and internal jugular vein cannulation
  • State of the art high fidelity simulation lab with METI Human Patient Simulators; 
    use of various mannequins to enhance clinical skills (fiberoptic intubation, jet ventilation, LMAs)
  • Program Faculty with extensive scholarship (authored chapters in the textbook Nurse Anesthesia and Pharmacology for Nurse Anesthesiology, editor of textbook and handbook on electrocardiography; national, state, and regional lectures to CRNAs and anesthesiologists, extensive professional involvement at national and state level [On-site Reviewer for the Council on Accreditation {COA} of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, National Board on Certification and Recertification of  Nurse Anesthetists {NBCRNA}, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists {AANA} Journal Reviewer, AANA Committees]; visiting professor at other universities)
  • All full-time faculty* are doctorally prepared (one faculty is completing doctoral studies), appointments as full professor, associate and assistant professors, each faculty member maintains clinical practice
  • 100% pass rate for national certification exam since inception of program
  • WCU anesthesia students named champions in the 2008, 2010 and 2011 North Carolina Association of Nurse Anesthetists (NCANA) annual college bowl
  • Established publication record for students mentored by faculty with graduate projects and research
  • Open door policy with program faculty-very supportive
  • Competitive tuition costs
  • Students actively supported to participate in professional organizations, international service, and scholarship
  • Asheville has outstanding outdoor activities (mountains, Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, kayaking, hiking), spectacular fall foliage, and a mild climate year round.

MSN in Nurse Anesthesia 2016 Student Data

2016 Class Profile

Female: 46%
Male: 54%
Average Pre-admission Overall GPA: 3.60

Attrition Rate

Most recent graduating class (May 2016): 13.3%
Overall attrition (2009-2016): 14.7%

Board Pass Rate

Most recent graduating class (May 2016): First-time test takers: 100%
National average (2016): 84.5%

Overall pass rate (2009 - 2016): First-time test takers: 93.9% 
Overall pass rate (2009 - 2016): 100%

Employment Rate

Most recent graduating class (May 2016), employed within six months of graduation: 100% 
Overall employment rate within six months of graduation (2009 - 2016): 100%

Nurse Anesthesia Faculty and Staff

Faculty / Staff Member Title
Shawn Collins, DNP, PhD, CRNA Director, Nurse Anesthesia Program; Associate Professor
Ian Hewer, MSN, MA, CRNA Assistant Director, Nurse Anesthesia Program; Assistant Professor
James Holleman, MD Assistant Professor
Mark Kossick, DNSc, CRNA  Anesthesia Simulation Education Coordinator, Full Professor
Cheryl Johnson, DNP, CRNA  Assistant Professor 
Lauren Stepp Administrative Support Associate 
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