The Nurse Anesthesia program is housed in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences building, located near the Detroit Medical Center and the Wayne State University School of Medicine. Being in such close proximity with the School of Medicine and a wide variety of teaching hospitals allows the program to partner with world-class researchers in order to collaborate on research ideas that will translate into clinical practice. We have exceptional faculty and clinical instructors dedicated to the profession of nurse anesthesia and the teaching of students using state-of-the-art teaching facility and anesthesia classrooms. We encourage you to peruse our website to learn about the field of anesthesia and ways in which you can pursue a career in Nurse Anesthesia practice. After navigating through our website, feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

History of the Wayne State University Nurse Anesthesia program

The Wayne State University Nurse Anesthesia program began in 1963 in the School of Medicine, Division of Allied Health as an 18-month certificate program. In 1972, WSU was the first program in the United States to confer a baccalaureate degree in Nurse Anesthesia. In 1984, the program transitioned to a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia.

In the spring of 2002, the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions relocated to its current location, under its new name of Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The college houses four departments: Health Sciences, Applied Health Sciences, Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The Nurse Anesthesia program is part of the Department of Health Care Sciences.

In Fall 2019, the program transitioned to the DNAP curriculum and admitted its first DNAP cohort.  

The Nurse Anesthesia program has provided quality anesthesia education for over 50 years and with over 1,000 graduates practicing in Detroit Metropolitan area hospitals.

In 2001, in collaboration with Children's Hospital of Michigan, a Pediatric fellowship was developed for graduates, and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) interested in pursuing a certification in pediatric anesthesia. The program also has partnered with the School of Medicine Pharmacology Department to offer a dual degree, a DNAP degree and a PhD in Pharmacology. This innovative opportunity is offered to a select number of students each year. The program continues to strive for new innovations to expand the educational marketability opportunities for our graduates and propel the profession forward.

An overview of the field of anesthesia and its practice

The practice of Anesthesia is the process used to render a patient insensible to pain during surgical, obstetrical and some diagnostic procedures. Nurse anesthesia was established in the late 1800s as the first clinical nursing specialty as a result of the growing needs of surgeons for specialists in anesthesia practice.

Nurse anesthesia is an expanded role that implements both nursing and medical functions to a wide patient population for surgical and procedural interventions. Nurse anesthetists are registered nurses who have completed a rigorous doctoral degree program and taken and passed the National Certification Examination to be eligible to practice as a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). A CRNA takes care of the surgical or obstetrical patients before, during and after surgery and after the delivery of a baby. Because CRNAs have advanced degree as specialists in anesthesia practice, they practice in all 50 states in traditional and non-traditional health care settings. CRNAs are employed in teaching hospitals, trauma centers, ambulatory, and private facilities and independent practices. Nurse anesthetists are the sole anesthesia providers in rural hospital facilities.

Becoming a nurse anesthetist

Anyone interested in becoming a nurse anesthetist must first become a registered nurse with a baccalaureate degree in nursing. Individuals must also work in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) before applying to a nurse anesthesia program. The program for nurse anesthesia education is extensive, with a terminal degree of a doctorate in nurse anesthesia practice.