(July 11, 2013) – The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Nursing now is the first and only public university in the state approved to offer a nine-semester program from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degree to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) in Nurse Anesthesia. UTHealth will admit its first B.S.N. to D.N.P. students in summer 2014.
Approval for the degree program was received last month from the Council on Accreditation (COA) of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. Previously, the B.S.N. to D.N.P. curriculum won final state approval from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) at its Jan. 24 meeting in Austin.
The current pathway, B.S.N. to the Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) to D.N.P. for Nurse Anesthesia, totals 122 credits and 12 semesters (47 months). However, the new B.S.N. to D.N.P. will be 112 credits and nine semesters (36 months).
“We will continue to offer the M.S.N. in Nurse Anesthesia, but we will also offer for the first time the B.S.N. to D.N.P. curriculum for Nurse Anesthesia to meet the demands of the healthcare environment both today and in the future,” said Kristen Starnes-Ott, Ph.D., CRNA, program director of Nurse Anesthesia and associate professor of clinical nursing. “This is an exciting time in nurse anesthesia education.”
UTHealth School of Nursing believes that the direct B.S.N.-to-D.N.P. route will be attractive to nurse anesthesia students because it will be only one semester longer and about $3,000 more in cost, versus going B.S.N. to M.S.N and later opting for the post-master’s D.N.P., which would be an additional five semesters and $15,000 more.
“Many rural hospitals in Texas cannot recruit anesthesiologists and are thus 100 percent dependent on Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) to serve their patients,” said UTHealth School of Nursing Dean Patricia L. Starck, D.S.N., R.N. “As the only state-supported institution in Texas to produce CRNAs and with 35 percent of graduates practicing in rural and underserved areas, our school already is an important source of anesthesia providers for the State of Texas. In anticipation of expanded healthcare insurance coverage in 2014, we cannot afford to have a decreased workforce supply and we must move now to meet emerging, higher accreditation standards.”
The new B.S.N. to D.N.P. in Nurse Anesthesia addresses the Institute of Medicine (IOM), “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” recommendation to promote seamless academic progression for higher levels of academic achievement.
“Not only will the new offering continue to provide the exceptional clinical education that UTHealth is known for as part of the world’s largest medical center; the B.S.N. to D.N.P. nurse anesthesia student will also learn about how health policy impacts healthcare delivery, strategic systems planning, healthcare finance and organizational leadership, to name a few,” said Starnes-Ott. “As one of six schools on the UTHealth campus in Houston, the opportunities for our students are limitless.”
Oct. 1, 2013 is the application deadline for the first class of B.S.N. to D.N.P. students at UTHealth School of Nursing. For more information or to apply, visit: https://go.uth.edu/bsndnp.
– David R. Bates, Communications Director