Newman University nurse anesthesia program receives 10-year accreditation, new site approval from national agency

Jun 23, 2011

Newman University officials were recently notified that the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) has granted the university’s Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia program continued accreditation for 10 years, the maximum accreditation period the council awards. The accreditation is effective May 23, 2011.

The COA also awarded the continued accreditation with no progress report required, indicating that the Newman program has no deficiencies or problem areas that require follow-up.

In the letter to Newman officials announcing the continued accreditation, the COA noted that, “very few programs are granted accreditation with no progress report required. Even fewer programs have achieved the maximum accreditation of ten years. Therefore, the directors of the COA are particularly pleased to offer their congratulations to everyone at the program who has demonstrated their commitment to meeting the requirements for continued accreditation.”

“I join the COA in offering my congratulations to everyone in the Nurse Anesthesia program for this impressive achievement,” said Newman President Noreen M. Carrocci, Ph.D. “To achieve a 10-year accreditation with no progress report required speaks volumes about the quality of the faculty and staff who make this program so successful. Every year, the program has many more applicants than there are spaces available, and this accreditation award clearly tells the reason why.”

“The successful accreditation visit reflected lots of hard work on the part of program administration, didactic faculty, clinical faculty and our great students,” said Nurse Anesthesia Program Director and Assistant Professor of Nurse Anesthesia Sharon Niemann, CRNA, MHS. “All of our hard work goes in to making a successful program in addition to a successful accreditation visit. We’re very proud and pleased with this affirmation from the COA.”

The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs accredits all nurse anesthesia programs in the United States at the certificate, master’s and doctoral degree levels. It is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Commission on Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting authority for nurse anesthesia programs. The COA conducts a stringent review process to ensure the effectiveness of nurse anesthesia clinical and didactic education, and to document that each program is in compliance with the Standards for Accreditation of the COA. Among other requirements, COA standards require that each nurse anesthesia program employ Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) with graduate degrees in the roles of program director and assistant program director, and be able to demonstrate that the program provides an extensive, educationally sound curriculum combining both academic theory and clinical practice.

New clinical sites
In a separate action, the COA approved the Newman Nurse Anesthesia program’s proposed alliances with new health care systems, to provide additional sites for students to practice the clinical skills required for the degree. The new sites are in Hillcrest Medical Center in Tulsa, Okla., St. Catherine’s Hospital in Garden City, Kan., and Freeman Health Systems in Joplin, Mo.

Niemann noted that the increased availability of good clinical sites, where students receive hands-on experience in the administration of anesthesia, is important.

“Adding to the number of students in our existing clinical sites could reduce and dilute the experience students get, so it’s crucial that we have more well-qualified sites,” Niemann said. “It allows us to provide a strong and varied clinical education for our students. In recent years we’ve increased the number of students in our program from 16 to 18 and now to 22 thanks to the acquisition of qualified clinical sites, in addition to our strong existing clinical sites.”

About Newman University health care education programs
In addition to the Master of Science degree program in Nurse Anesthesia, the Newman School of Nursing and Allied Health offers Bachelor of Science degree programs in Nursing, Sonography and Healthcare Science, and Associate of Science degree programs in Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Care and Occupational Therapy Assistant. The programs teach students the clinical skills required for health care professions, and provide an ethical framework to help graduates meet the needs of diverse populations in today’s complex healthcare environment.

Newman’s nursing and allied health education programs are consistently recognized for their high quality. Last year, the undergraduate nursing program was granted a full 10-year accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The CCNE accreditation was granted with no recommendations, which refer to areas that require attention or follow-up for a nursing education program to receive unconditional accreditation. The nursing program also received a full 10-year re-approval by the Kansas State Board of Nursing last year. The Kansas board also awarded re-approval with no recommendations.

For more information about the Newman Nurse Anesthesia program, call 316-942-4291, ext. 2286, or visit