Home » Bellarmine University offering doctorate in Nurse Anesthesia

Bellarmine University offering doctorate in Nurse Anesthesia

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Building on the strength of its esteemed graduate healthcare programs, Bellarmine University is adding a Nurse Anesthesia track to its Doctor of Nursing Practice degree offerings (DNP-NA) that will prepare nurses for high-paying jobs and a higher level of autonomy in a growing career field.

The new DNP-NA program is supported with funding from a five-year, $2.4 million partnership with Norton Healthcare—the largest funded partnership in the university’s history—announced earlier this year.

“At Bellarmine, we are nationally recognized for providing top-tier talent across high-demand fields, including healthcare, through innovative employer partnerships,” said President Susan M. Donovan. “This new track in our Doctor of Nursing Practice program will give nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing a path toward a rewarding career and will provide our region with much-needed healthcare professionals.”

Nurse anesthetists practice in virtually every healthcare setting, including surgical suites, labor and delivery units, endoscopy, lithotripsy and interventional areas. They can practice without a physician’s supervision, making them valuable addition to the provider team in various healthcare settings.

“Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists graduating today can essentially select the work environment best-suited to their skills and interests,” said Dr. Carly Mitchell, director of Bellarmine’s DNP-NA program.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that overall jobs for nurse anesthetists will grow more than 14 percent through 2029, more than triple the number of other occupations. The median annual wage for nurse anesthetists was $195,610 in May 2021.

Bellarmine will use $300,000 annually for the first two years of the five-year Norton Healthcare partnership to develop and support the DNP-NA program. In addition, students may complete required clinical practicum experiences in Norton Healthcare hospitals.

“Thanks to our formal partnership with Norton Healthcare, students in Bellarmine University’s Nurse Anesthesia Program will have the unique opportunity to complete all of their clinical education experiences in some of the region’s leading hospitals without leaving the Louisville area,” Mitchell said.

“Norton Healthcare is proud to support this additional advanced nursing degree,” said Russell F. Cox, president and CEO of Norton Healthcare and chair of Bellarmine’s Board of Trustees. “We are pleased that this investment will enable nurses to advance their education and expand their career opportunities while helping us meet the health care needs of this community.”

The $2.4 million Bellarmine-Norton Healthcare partnership also supports sports medicine, campus wellness and nursing.

“We are deeply connected to our home in Louisville, and the surrounding region, through our distinctive community engagement and professional partnerships,” Donovan said. “We are grateful for the ongoing support of Norton Healthcare in working with us to improve the lives not only of our students but those of the patients they will serve.”

Applicants to the DNP-NA program must have a BSN or higher degree from a CCNE- or ACEN-accredited nursing program and proof of active, unrestricted license to practice nursing in Kentucky and compact states. Certification as a Critical Care Registered Nurse and a minimum of one year of current, continuous full-time employment as a registered nurse in a critical care setting is required.

The 36-month DNP-NA program is divided into nine semesters. Formal classes begin each year in August. The first two semesters consist of full-time study online, followed by seven semesters of full-time study on-site.

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