Newman University announces its new Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice program

Jun 16, 2021

Newman University officials have announced its transition to a new Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) program.

Applications are being accepted for its DNAP program offered through its School of Nursing and Allied Health. The first cohort of students will begin coursework in May 2022.

The DNAP program is multifaceted and addresses health care needs and problems of the city, region, and nation through anesthesia education. It prepares qualified individuals to assume advanced practice nursing roles in the delivery of safe and evidence-based anesthesia care.

President Kathleen S. Jagger believes the new program sets Newman apart, “I think it’s exciting and I want to thank Dr. Cook for her leadership in this effort. The transition to the doctoral program required an exhaustive effort, but maintains the extraordinarily high standards of Newman programs in the health professions.”

“Newman is well positioned to continue making a positive impact on the health of families in Wichita, the region and beyond by producing skilled medical professionals who also embrace the human element of their care and the commitment to service that exemplifies Newman graduates.”

Director of the nurse anesthesia program Megan Cook, DNAP, MSNA, indicated that earning approval for the advanced degree was a major undertaking that required extensive work and countless hours to complete.

Program Approval Process

“The process was extremely challenging. The program had to obtain approval and accreditation from the Council on Accreditation for Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) to offer the DNAP degree.

Megan Cook DNAP Program Director
Megan Cook recognized as 2019 Newman University’s Teaching Faculty Excellence Award winner

“In addition, an application to the Kansas State Board of Nursing (KSBN) for the move to the DNAP degree was made, which the Board unanimously approved,” Cook said.

The final step in the process was for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to approve Newman to award doctoral degrees.

“I am thrilled to be at this point, to have the website designed and live, and to have applications open! I’m looking forward to admitting our first doctoral cohort in May of 2022,” Cook added.

When the DNAP program starts, the university will actually be instructing and supporting students in two separate graduate programs as the university will continue its Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia (MSNA) program until the last of its current MSNA students graduate in August 2023. The university is not accepting any new applications for its masters level program. All new applicants will be in the doctorate program as the COA requires students matriculating in a nurse anesthesia educational program on January 1, 2022 or thereafter be enrolled in an accredited doctoral degree program.

Ideal Candidates for DNAP

The program has been designed for the baccalaureate-prepared registered nurse (RN) who wishes to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). The program offers both didactic and clinical education to enable the student to acquire the knowledge, skills, and competence necessary to assume an advanced practice role.

Cook believes ideal candidates for the DNAP program are RNs who have at least one year of full-time employment in an ICU (intensive care unit).

“They should be driven and motivated to learn as much as they can about the patients they care for, and learn relationships between physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology.”

Newman has a reputation for preparing outstanding CRNA professionals by blending the science of anesthesia and the humanistic touch of a caring practitioner through an arduous yet supportive experience. 

Newman graduates: ‘own little Newman family here’

Jeffrey Bradford Casperson is finishing his final clinical rounds this summer, “We thought that our ICU backgrounds would prepare us for what we were going to go through in this program and it doesn’t come close. It’s not something that you can prepare for, but luckily we were able to fall into our own little Newman family here.”

Fellow 2021 graduate Michael Coppock echoes the family feel of the program.

“I don’t know if anything can quite prepare you for the amount of time you had to put in for clinical hours…it’s hard to explain until you go through it, but the support everybody gives you in the classroom definitely got us through along with Dr. Cook as well.”  

Newman nurse anesthesia students work in one of the university’s state-of-the-art labs

“It’s very exciting, and I continue to be so proud of the CRNAs that are educated here at Newman. I am proud to call each of my former students colleagues,” Cook said.

The majority of local CRNAs are Newman University nurse anesthesia program graduates. Newman alumni are serving in 30 states around the country.

The DNAP program, along with the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), announced last month, are the first doctoral degrees offered at the institution.

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