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Program Overview

The University of Kansas offers a dynamic program in nurse anesthesia designed to provide students the latest in experience, instruction and techniques needed for success in nurse anesthesia practice. The curriculum is reviewed annually and new technology is incorporated into the educational program as it becomes available. Graduates will be able to function independently or in a group practice setting after successful completion of the program.

In this comprehensive 36-month program the registered nurse receives extensive education in the academic and clinical components of nurse anesthesia. The program is very intense and students should expect to spend up to 64 hours per week dedicated to fulfilling clinic responsibilities, attending classes and studying (read more about student life in our program). New students begin each year in the summer semester (applications are accepted March 15–July 15).

nurse anesthetists in operating room (photo)

The first year of the program is mostly classroom-based at the KU Medical Center and provides the foundation of the essential basic sciences and the fundamentals of anesthesia practice. During this time, a fund of academic knowledge is provided to prepare the student for successful clinical practice. Students are also introduced to the clinic through skills labs, observation and a novice phase in the operating room.

During the final two years of the program, students are based in the clinic while continuing didactic coursework mostly online. Web-based classes allow students to continue didactic instruction throughout their clinical experience. This makes possible better integration of theory with practice. During the third year of the program, students are also assigned to other clinical affiliates.

Clinical Experience and Affiliations

The program's primary clinical site is located on the KU Medical Center campus in Kansas City, Kan. The complex is shared with The University of Kansas Hospital, among the top ranked academic medical centers nationwide by the University HealthSystem Consortium. The KU Hospital is a nationally accredited Level I Trauma Center and the only burn center in the Kansas City metropolitan area accredited by the American College of Surgeons and the American Burn Association. Students also benefit from the expertise available in the KU Medical Center's Department of Anesthesiology.

Student’s gain most of their clinical experience at The University of Kansas Hospital; however, students also rotate to clinical affiliates. This allows students to gain a wider experience at different facilities and to obtain required or enhancement case experience. Several of these affiliates are outside the Kansas City area.

Simulator Training

Human patient simulation allows student nurse anesthetists to train in a dimension of virtual reality. Interactive training simulation offers small groups of learners the opportunity to develop and enhance clinical decision-making abilities, psychomotor skills, health assessment, monitoring and communication. This builds self-confidence and promotes patient safety for the practice of nurse anesthesia.

Simulation allows for active learning in a non-threatening “operating room” environment where an adult mannequin – supported by computers and specialized software – creates a patient that will breathe, blink, perfuse and respond to virtual pharmacologic agents. Inhalation agents can be utilized as well to provide a comprehensive anesthesia-based simulation experience. Students learn to interact with life-like human physiology to focus on basic and/or advanced anesthesia concepts without "harming" the patient.

The KU Department of Nurse Anesthesia Education started its current simulation program utilizing the METI HPS (Medical Educational Technologies, Inc./Human Patient Simulator) in Fall 2006. Overall, the scenario topics range from the typical anesthesia challenge to the rare crisis. Simulation scenarios have included basic induction techniques for general anesthesia, treatment of airway obstruction, dealing with intra-operative blood pressure changes, anaphylaxis and malignant hyperthermia. The program continues to look forward to integrating didactic knowledge with innovative teaching technologies to advance student skills, confidence, and promote patient safety.

Online Learning

Many courses in the program are offered through online classes. This provides the opportunity for students to continue the academic portion of the curriculum during the second two years of the degree program while primarily based in the clinic. Students in our program are able to more fully integrate their academic learning with their clinical experiences. (Note that although courses are offered online, this is not a distance-learning program. All students must be based in the Kansas City area.)

Applicants should be aware that graduate study is directed self-learning. While graduate study is faculty-directed, graduate students are expected to be self-motivated and independent learners.

Computing requirements for the program course work include a Windows-compatible computer, Microsoft Office software (made available at a greatly reduced student rate) and high-speed Internet access. The program has specific computer standards which are updated each year. The KU Medical Center's E-Learning site also provides helpful information about online courses at KU and skills needed for successful online learning.

The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University's programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785) 864-6414, 711 TTY.

Last modified: Sep 07, 2018

The application window for the class beginning study in summer term 2022 opened March 15.

Standard application deadline: July 15

Early-decision application deadline: May 15

Students begin the program each year on the Tuesday after Memorial Day.

Questions? Before contacting the office please review the frequently asked questions.

Due to the events surrounding COVID-19, the office staff are minimally on campus and mostly working remotely at this time. After reviewing the website and FAQs, please send additional inquiries to

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