Students who are interested in working in the field of nurse anesthesia may want to consider pursuing a doctoral level degree in the field. One option is the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) program, which prepares students to work as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) at the highest level. Below, we will learn about these programs in greater detail by exploring education programs as well as career opportunities for individuals who pursue this degree.
Information About DNAP Programs
One of the biggest differences among DNAP programs is whether they are designed for students who have already completed a master's program in nurse anesthesia or whether they begin the program as registered nurses with only a bachelor's degree. This difference will be reflected in the overall length of the DNAP program, as students who have already completed a master's degree could complete the program in as little as one year, whereas those who only have a bachelor's degree will likely have to spend three years studying. The DNAP programs are a combination of coursework and hands-on clinical experience. Below we will look at some courses that are commonly found in these programs.
It is common for DNAP programs to require that students complete a course in healthcare policy. In this class, students will learn about various issues that affect policy in healthcare and how policy affects the practice of nurse anesthesia. Some topics that may be discussed include how policy is created in healthcare, how it is implemented, the process of policy reform, and the relationship between all of the different actors in the healthcare policy arena.
A course in medical statistics is another common requirement of DNAP programs. Students will learn about traditional concepts in statistics, including topics like regression, variance, and the chi-square test. In addition, students will learn about how statistics can be used and applied in the medical field in order to better understand and discuss healthcare and disease.
Leadership in Healthcare
Students in DNAP programs will also likely take a course that focuses on leadership in healthcare. Topics that may be discussed in this class include different styles and principles of leadership, systems thinking, and organizational management. In addition, students will learn about nurse anesthetists as leaders and the role that they play in the clinical setting.
Another course that is commonly required in DNAP programs is one that focuses on the topic of patient safety. In this class, students will learn about the concept of patient safety as it applies to the field of nurse anesthesia specifically. Topics that may be discussed include human error, crisis response, quality improvement, and quality assurance. In addition, the course may cover the concept of safety from a philosophical perspective.
Students also are typically required to take courses to learn about evidence-based practice. In this type of class, emphasis is placed on the relationship between conceptual or theoretical knowledge, empirical knowledge and actual experience. The focus is often on an integrative approach to research, statistical methods, and critical analysis.
Admission Requirements for DNAP Programs
Admission standards for DNAP programs differ depending on whether the program is designed for students holding a bachelor's or master's degree. In general, in order to qualify for admission into one of these programs, students must possess their registered nurse (RN) license and have completed at least a bachelor's degree in nursing. In order to qualify for a CRNA to DNAP program, students must have already completed a master's degree and achieved the CRNA certification. In addition, students must have an active membership with the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and be licensed as Advanced Practiced Nurses. When submitting an application, students should send a personal statement, official transcripts of all work after high school, and references.
Career Possibilities After Completing a DNAP Program
Students who complete a DNAP program are prepared to work as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse anesthetists earned a median annual salary of $165,120 as of 2017. This field is expected to grow by 16% between the years 2016 and 2026. Students who are interested in other job opportunities may be able to transition into different fields, like healthcare administration or teaching.
In summary, DNAP programs are designed to prepare CRNAs to work as nurse anesthetists at the doctorate level. Students are required to complete both clinical experience and coursework.