UAMS receives accreditation for Nurse Anesthesia Program


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News Release) – The University of Arkansas for Medical Science (UAMS) College of Nursing has been accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs to educate nurse anesthetists.

“Creating a nurse anesthesia program fits within UAMS’s larger strategic goals of embracing innovative programs and new approaches to train tomorrow’s health care workforce and improve health care for all Arkansans,” said UAMS Chancellor Cam Patterson, M.D., MBA.

A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) administers and monitors anesthesia as patients undergo surgical procedures. They can work in a variety of health care environments, such as traditional hospital operating rooms, standalone surgical centers and dental surgery practices.

“This is a field in fast-growing demand both nationally and internationally,” said Patricia Cowan, Ph.D., RN, dean of the UAMS College of Nursing. “By including it in our course offerings we are making sure our students are well prepared for what the health care workforce will demand in the coming years.”

The nurse anesthesia program is a specialty in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) program. It is the only accredited doctoral-level nurse anesthesia program based in Arkansas. Enrollment begins Nov. 12 for classes, which will begin in fall 2020.

The program is led by Michelle Gonzalez, Ph.D., CRNA, who joined UAMS in January from the University of Maryland School of Nursing, where she served as an assistant professor and simulation coordinator and performed clinical practice as a certified registered nurse anesthetist at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Mark Dunavan, D.N.P., CRNA, is the assistant nurse anesthesia program director. Dunavan, a native Arkansan, joined UAMS in early September from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, where he was an assistant professor and simulation coordinator. He had a clinical practice with Medical Anesthesia Group and the Methodist Healthcare System in Tennessee.

“Our goal in this program is to prepare students to provide high-quality, safe and effective patient-centered anesthesia care for every patient in our care, whether they are outside of, or in the operating room, where nurse anesthetists will spend the majority of their professional lives,” said Gonzalez. “In doing so, this will allow graduates to be able to quickly and accurately prepare and administer medications, while monitoring and anticipating patient needs, providing optimal comfort and care while undergoing anesthesia.”

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report named UAMS Medical Center the state’s Best Hospital; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide; and named six areas as high performing — cancer, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, hip replacement, knee replacement and lung cancer surgery.UAMS has 2,727 students, 870 medical residents and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on FacebookTwitterYouTube or Instagram.

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