MBU’s Nursing Anesthesiology Program underway, addressing staffing needs

Mary Baldwin’s Nursing Anesthesiology Program is underway with a full cohort of 25 students.
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 4:09 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Mary Baldwin’s Nursing Anesthesiology Program is underway with a full cohort of 25 students.

The program is three years, and it’s for registered nurses (RNs) who want to become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNAs).

Program Director and CRNA Johanna Newman said there is a major shortage of CRNAs all over the country, especially in rural areas. On top of that, there are only three of these programs in the commonwealth.

“There are very few programs that are in rural parts of our country. The fact that we were able to open this program here really just provides nurses to practice in rural health care communities,” Newman said. “80% of nurse anesthetists across the country practiced in rural communities. Most of these hospitals in rural communities don’t really have all of the services and the providers necessary to really serve the needs of the community.”

One student, Tiffany Williams, has been an RN for eight years, and the last three she spent in the ICU. When she graduates from this program, she’ll consider all of her options.

“I know a lot of CRNAs work in underserved or rural areas, and most of those facilities are CRNA-only. Once I graduate, that’s an option,” Williams said.

Williams said she decided to further her education and become a CRNA because of the tasks she’d take on in the role.

“A lot of the things they do, I was currently during as an ICU nurse... As far as being an advocate for that patient, the autonomy that you have, the ability to think critically, and if things take a sudden change, being able to do those things,” Williams said.

According to a press release, the program got over 100 applications. Newman said she hopes to see the program grow over the years.