Joan Cutone 
9000 Babcock Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15237

Description of the Program

Master of Science in Health Science (Nurse Anesthesia)

Program Guide

Today's nurse anesthetists need advanced theoretical knowledge and extensive clinical experience to meet the critical demands of their profession. La Roche College's graduate program in health science offers an integrated approach to nurse anesthesia education: a valuable blend of theoretical classroom learning and clinical practice and research that's geared to a complex and rapidly changing field.

Baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses pursuing a master's degree full-time combine theoretical course work at La Roche College with clinical-based education and practicum at Allegheny School of Anesthesia (ASOA), located at Allegheny General Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center.

Current Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) can supplement their clinical expertise and earn advanced degrees with part-time, graduate-level study.

By developing a broad base of knowledge in the biophysical sciences, both non-CRNA and CRNA students can gain the expertise necessary for comprehensive anesthesia management of patients. You'll learn to develop management strategies for patients of various age groups with different co-existing disease processes by applying the theoretical concepts studied in the classroom. You'll also develop the research skills necessary to solve complex problems on the job, and to evaluate current anesthesia literature. Development of leadership skills essential for managing patients within a multidisciplinary framework is an essential component of our program.

La Roche College has been a leader in nurse anesthesia education for over 25 years. After a decade of offering a bachelor's degree in the field, the College moved its curriculum to the graduate level in 1987, following a mandate by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) that anesthesia education be offered at the graduate level by the late 1990s.

The strong reputations of La Roche College's health science program and Pittsburgh's health care arena have attracted students from across the country and around the world to pursue advanced specialty education in nurse anesthesia. In turn, health science graduates are highly sought for positions nationwide.

One of the program's greatest strengths is its faculty. Dedicated, full-time professors hold doctorates and are recognized in their areas of expertise. Experienced adjunct faculty are highly respected professionals from La Roche College's affiliated school of anesthesia and Pittsburgh's health care community. Together, they provide a unique blend of theory and practical application leading to a challenging education that prepares qualified nurses to meet the changing demands of the anesthesia profession.

Graduate Health Science Curriculum

The graduate program in nurse anesthesia is a 24 month format, consisting of two parts: a La Roche College portion, and a clinical-based portion taught at ASOA. A student seeking to become a CRNA must complete both parts of the curriculum successfully in order to be granted the Master of Science in Health Science from La Roche College. Students who already possess the CRNA credential (but wish to earn the Master's degree) are required to complete only the La Roche College portion of the curriculum.

The graduate program is a full-time program. Incoming students officially begin in the fall semester, and take five consecutive semesters of courses at La Roche College. For first year students, La Roche courses are taught on Thursdays and Fridays, and professional preparation in the hospital is scheduled on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. Summer session classes at the end of year one are offered during the late afternoon and early evening. For second year students, the La Roche courses are taught on Mondays, with clinical work scheduled for the remainder of the week. The remaining time is spent entirely at the program's affiliated clinical sites: Allegheny General Hospital, The Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Forbes Regional Hospital, Alle-Kiski Medical Center, Butler Memorial Hospital, Passavant Hospital, Sewickley Valley Hospital, St. Clair Memorial Hospital and The Beaver Medical Center, and Wheeling Hospital.

The La Roche College portion of the graduate program consists of three components:

  • The first component provides students with a broad base of knowledge in the biophysical sciences, through which they can develop expertise in the anesthesia management of patients in the perioperative, resuscitative and ventilatory support phases of care. This part of the curriculum includes courses in anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology; organic, medicinal and biological chemistry; pharmacology; and medical physics.
  • The second component is designed to introduce students to the methodology of research including the nature of scientific thinking, selection of research techniques, analysis and interpretation of data and formulations of conclusions. As part of this component, students are required to design and present a project in anesthesia education or anesthesia research. The goal of the research component is to establish the critical thinking skills needed to evaluate medical reserach and to provide an understanding of research methodology. Students also have the option of writing and defending a Master's thesis.
  • The third component consists of advanced theory courses in anesthesia. Students are presented with principles and techniques involved in anesthesia management of patients of varying ages and health conditions.

    Curriculum Goals and Objectives:

  • to prepare practitioners in the area of anesthesia
  • to develop nurse anesthetists as consumers of and contributors to anesthesia research
  • to prepare nurse anesthetists to serve as leaders, educators and role models in anesthesia and health care delivery systems
  • to prepare specialists who are able to facilitate managerial improvement in the delivery of anesthesia service
  • to provide nurse anesthesia students with a sound foundation for entry into doctoral study.

Upon completion of the master's level nurse anesthesia program, the students will be able to:

  • demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the fundamental sciences to ensure greater competence in anesthesia practice, as well as teaching in a nurse anesthesia program
  • engage in collateral reading in anatomy, physiology, chemistry, pharmacology, and clinical subjects related to the field of anesthesia
  • conduct research and evaluate current literature in order to initiate and provide improved anesthesia and acute patient care
  • assume a leadership role in collaboration with health care team members and serve as a role model for future health care providers
  • function as a resource person for nursing staff/other learners
  • apply principles of research to the clinical anesthesia setting
  • design, implement,evaluate and revise an anesthetic care plan for assigned patients
  • utilize appropriate scientific principles related to asepsis, anesthesia and respiratory techniques
  • apply knowledge of nursing theories and models in advanced nursing and specialty areas of nurse anesthesia practice.

Course Sequence

The La Roche College requirements include 49 credits of courses, taken in the sequence shown below.

Note: courses in the summer of Year One are offered in six-week blocks. HSCG5012 is scheduled in session 6A (the first block) and HSCG5010 follows in the second block (session 6B).

In addition, all students are required to register for two additional 6-credit courses which are taught at Allegheny School of Anesthesia: HSCG5030 (Anesthesia Didactics I) and HSCG6030 (Anesthesia Didactics II).

Students at Allegheny School of Anesthesia take HSCG5030 (Didactics I) in Year One and HSCG6030 (Didactics II) in Year Two

The total credits for this graduate program, including HSCG5030 and 6030, is 49.

Note: students who already possess the CRNA credential are exempt from taking HSCG5030, 6030 and 6055. Your total credit requirement for the Master of Science degree is 33.

1. Fall Year One:

HSCG0001 Professional Aspects of Anesthesia Practice
HSCG5000 Advanced Pharmacology I
HSCG5003 Organic & Medicinal Chemistry
HSCG5021 Advanced Anatomy, Physiology, & Pathophysiology I
HSCG5030 Anesthesia Didactics I
HSCG5101 Clinical Practicum I

2. Spring Year One:

HSCG5001 Advanced Pharmacology II
HSCG5004 Biochemistry
HSCG5022 Advanced Anatomy, Physiology, & Pathophysiology II
HSCG5102 Clinical Practicum II

3. Summer Year One:

HSCG5010 Research Methodology
HSCG5012 Medical Physics
HSCG6101 Clinical Practicum III

4. Fall Year Two:

HSCG6012 Research II: Evidence-Based Nursing Practice
HSCG6030 Anesthesia Didactics II
HSCG6102 Clincial Practicum IV

5. Spring Year Two:

HSCG6055 Advanced Theory and Practice of Anesthesia
HSCG6103 Clinical Practicum V

6. Summer Year Two:

HSCG6104 Clinical Practicum VI

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