In response to the chronic nationwide shortage of nurse
anesthetists, Samford University's Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing will begin
offering a nurse anesthesia program through its Master of Science in Nursing
degree during the summer of 2003.
Students completing the nurse anesthesia program will earn the Master of Science
in Nursing degree and fulfill educational requirements to take the national
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) examination.
Dr. Michael A. Fiedler will serve as chair of the Department of Nurse Anesthesia
in the Nursing School. Dr. Fiedler has practiced as a CRNA at hospitals in Memphis,
Tenn., Richmond, Va., and Houston, Texas, and is an experienced professor of
He holds a B.S. degree from Indiana Wesleyan University, M.S. from Baylor
College of Medicine Graduate School and Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee
Health Science Center.
The new program will help address the national CRNA shortage that is projected
to increase significantly over the next decade. The shortage is more severe
in the Southeast and Southwest, causing some hospitals to close trauma services
and to cut back on surgery schedules.
"The large number of healthcare institutions in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee,
Florida and Mississippi creates an increased demand for nurse anesthetists as
compared to other regions in the United States," said nursing Dean Nena
"Although we have not reached this degree of shortage in Alabama, a number
of hospitals have delayed or canceled elective surgical cases due to the shortage
of anesthetists," she said.
A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study underscored the need, calling
for a 40 percent increase in CRNAs by 2010. Almost half (43 percent) of nurse
anesthetist managers reported their departments had openings of from one to
CRNAs provide care to patients before, during and immediately after surgical,
obstetrical and trauma stabilization procedures. CRNAs are the sole anesthesia
providers in approximately two-thirds of the nation's rural hospitals and about
half of all hospitals. Overall, CRNAs administer approximately 65 percent of
the 26 million anesthetics given to patients each year in the United States,
often (though not always) working in groups with or under the supervision of
"As a private university, Samford can offer a premiere, pace-setting
program in nurse anesthesia," said Dr. Fiedler. "We intend to do that
and more, offering an enriched curriculum that surpasses accreditation standards."
Nurse anesthetist programs must be accredited by the Council on Accreditation
of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs. Samford is working to develop its curriculum
and establish clinical affiliations to submit accreditation materials by the
winter of 2002-03.
"The Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing has a strong program that will
serve as the foundation for the addition of a CRNA program," said Dean
Sanders. "We have in place the core courses and curriculum foundation to
meet the accreditations standards required by the accrediting body, and CRNA
faculty are available to serve as faculty for the program."
Samford also is close to clinical practice sites for preceptorships and training
of CRNAs, Sanders noted. She added that the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing
has received a steady stream of inquiries about starting such a program during
recent months from people looking into Moffett's Master of Science in Nursing
"With these factors in place, this seems to be an ideal time for Samford
to begin offering a program that would help alleviate the shortage of CRNAs
in our area," she said.
In addition to the CRNA program, the nursing school offers through its Master
of Science in Nursing program advanced specialization tracks in family nurse
practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse educator, nurse manager and nurse
executive (MSN/MBA), along with specialization in missions and parish nursing.
At the baccalaureate level, Moffett offers the Bachelor of Science in Nursing
degree and additional options in a Registered Nurse Mobility track for BSN completion
and an accelerated Second Degree BSN program for those with a baccalaureate
degree in another field.