The University of Louisville launches nurse anesthesia program

August 25, 2023

UofL School of Nursing brings certified registered nurse anesthetist program to Louisville

Kamilia Stone

“UofL prepares us clinically, so I know that UofL’s NA program will be of high quality. When I saw the CVs of our NA professors and their vast knowledge and experience, I was in awe and knew that’s where I wanted to be.”
Kamilia Stone, Nurse Anesthesia Program Cohort Resident

The first cohort of University of Louisville’s Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesia (CRNA) Program begins its 36-month journey on August 21.

The School of Nursing is offering the nurse anesthesia track as part of its Doctor of Nursing Practice program in partnership with UofL Health. The program is committed to fostering expertise in the art and science of anesthesia, excellence in leadership and a commitment to the future of the nurse anesthesia profession. 

It is estimated that 30,200 new APRNs in master’s and doctoral programs will be required each year through 2031 to meet the rising demand for care.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) represent the majority of anesthesia providers in rural counties throughout the United States, and UofL’s School of Nursing is stepping up to offer a CRNA program to fill health care needs throughout Kentucky communities.

“Our faculty bring a wealth of clinical experience and scholarly activity, both of which will greatly benefit our students,” said School of Nursing Interim Dean Mary DeLetter. “Our program is highly focused on quality to assure that our students have excellent classroom, simulation and clinical experiences, and most importantly, are practice-ready upon graduation.”

The 36-month program will prepare a sixteen-member cohort of nurses to provide safe, competent and ethical anesthesia and anesthesia-related care. It will encompass a fully integrated curriculum model with simulation experiences in the first year along with didactic coursework that will prepare students to begin clinical engagement as soon as their third semester in the program. Completion of the specialty curriculum prepares students to take the National Certification Examination (NCE) offered by the National Boards of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).

Students in UofL’s NA program are all bachelor’s-prepared RNs with an average of four years of critical care experience. They will engage in a minimum of 2,880 hours of extensive training in some of Louisville’s top ranked hospitals as well as clinical rotations in rural Kentucky communities including Owensboro, Corbin, Hazard and Lake Cumberland.

“Our community is currently facing a shortage of anesthesia providers and through the hard work and dedication of School of Nursing faculty and staff, along with our partner UofL Health and its anesthesia community, I am thrilled that this long-awaited program has come to fruition,” said Cheryl Parker, director of the Nurse Anesthesia program. “I look forward to mentoring this incredible and highly accomplished group of critical care nurses that will positively impact our profession and community.” 

Thirty-seven-year-old Kamilia Stone is one of the experienced nurses enrolled in the program. A native of Kyrgyzstan, Stone emigrated to the United States at age 19 to seek a medical career – a daunting journey with a roller coaster of new obstacles, including fleeing a revolution in her home country, learning English, and finding legal employment, not to mention supporting herself in a country where she knew no one. Thankfully, Stone, who graduated from UofL’s School of Nursing and holds Bachelor of Science degrees in both biology and nursing, says she loves continually challenging herself, one of several reasons she applied to the Nurse Anesthetist program.   

“I love change because it pushes me to do something out of my comfort zone. When you do something different and new you always learn from it.” Stone said. “UofL prepares us clinically, so I know that UofL’s NA program will be of high-quality. When I saw the CVs of our NA professors and their vast knowledge and experience, I was in awe and knew that’s where I wanted to be.’”

Parker says Stone is a great representative of the type of nurse to enroll in UofL’s program.

“Stone is a refugee who came to our country with a dream for a better future, overcoming adversity and committing to excellence in nursing. Her effort and spirit reflect the strength and commitment of our community, our city, the Bluegrass state and our university,” Parker said.

Stone, who most recently worked at University Hospital on the Neuro-ICU, says she was drawn to the one-on-one kind of patient care experience that being a nurse anesthetist will provide, something she found inspiring during her time in a COVID ICU in 2019.

“During the pandemic, when I cared for someone, I was with them for several hours. It sparked something in me and I thought, ‘This is what I call dedicated high-quality care’,” said Stone. Once she had the opportunity to shadow a CRNA, she was sold.

“I love this, and I know this new challenge is going to be the right fit for me because when I have a patient, I’m so detail oriented I want everything to be done just right,” she said. “I want to provide quality of care that is like a fine jewel.

For more information about the program, visit the program’s website.

About UofL School of Nursing

The School of Nursingis a community in which faculty, staff, and students collaborate to promote excellence in the profession of nursing. As a citizen of the larger community, the School of Nursing emphasizes addressing the complex health needs of diverse and dynamic populations through nursing education, research, scholarship, and service. The School of Nursing's core values are compassion, curiosity, engagement, integrity, respect, innovation, and accountability.

About UofL Health

UofL Health is a fully integrated regional academic health system with six hospitals, four medical centers, Brown Cancer Center, Eye Institute, nearly 200 physician practice locations and more than 800 providers. With more than 12,000 team members – physicians, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists and other highly-skilled health care professionals, UofL Health is focused on one mission: to transform the health of communities we serve through compassionate, innovative, patient-centered care.

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