Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia (MSNA) Program Requirements

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  • Sheryl Steadman, Dean
  • James Stimpson, Program Director
  • Art Shimata, Assistant Director

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Admission to the Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia Program


The mission of the Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia (MSNA) program at Westminster College is to provide an academic environment, which allows nurse anesthesia students to master the intellectual and technical skills required to become competent in the safe administration of anesthesia. The program accomplishes this by admitting a select group of experienced, graduate level nurses and then providing them with the highest level of didactic instruction, anesthesia simulation and clinical site experiences. Our nurse anesthesia graduates develop life-long critical thinking skills and the professionalism needed to become compassionate, patient-centered anesthesia providers.

We are committed to upholding the standards set forth by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) and the Council on Accreditation (COA) to produce skilled nurse anesthetists who are qualified to sit for the National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) Examination.

By this educational endeavor, it is the mission of the MSNA program at Westminster College to contribute to filling the urban and rural community needs for anesthesia providers.

Program Outcomes

A graduate of the MSNA program:

  • Evaluates delivery of a safe anesthetic with vigilant protection of the patient and prevention of complications.
  • Develops individualized perianesthetic care throughout anesthetic continuum to patients of all ages and physical conditions.
  • Integrates skill and knowledge necessary to function as a resource person for airway and ventilator management of patients in a variety of settings.
  • Utilizes critical thinking, decision making, and the application of sound principles and evidence-based research in practice.
  • Applies mastery of anesthesia concepts and skills by becoming eligible to sit for the NBCRNA certification examination.
  • Develops verbal, nonverbal, and written communication necessary to influence patient care.
  • Integrates professional attributes necessary to accept responsibility and accountability of new anesthesia practice.
  • Proposes politically active advancements in nurse anesthesia.

Progression in the Program

The student must:

  • Receive a grade of 82% or higher in all MSNA courses.
  • Maintain a current, unencumbered RN license.
  • Complete the program within three and a half years of initial admission date.
  • Complete masters level project by the deadline assigned by course faculty.
  • Maintain a background check free of arrest and/or criminal incidents. Report any of criminal arrests and/or criminal incidents within 24 hours to the Program Director.
  • Maintain a negative drug screen. Report any change or prescribed use of mind-altering substances, including narcotics, within 24 hours to the Program Director.
  • Remain in good standing at clinical sites.

Graduation Requirements

To be eligible for a master’s degree, students must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Meet all credit hour and other course requirements.
  • Be enrolled at Westminster College during the semester in which they wish to graduate.
  • Earn a grade of 82% or higher in all MSNA courses.
  • Earn an average clinical score greater than 3.0 on daily and term evaluations.

Only graduate-level coursework may be applied toward degree requirements.

Please note that the program requires that students must earn a grade of B (82%) or higher in all graduate courses to qualify for graduation, regardless of their cumulative GPA. The final responsibility for being informed about, and adhering to, graduation requirements rests with the individual. Continued communication with the faculty advisor is recommended.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 64 credit hours is required for graduation. Clinical cases must include all minimum numbers as directed by the Council on Accreditation. Please see the MSNA Student Handbook for specific information regarding clinical cases.

Requirement Description Credit Hours Prerequisites
I. Required Courses 9  
MSNA 500 Physiology I  5  
MSNA 501 Physiology II 5  
MSNA 510 Chemistry/Physics 3  
MSNA 520 Pharmacology I 4  
MSNA 521 Pharmacology II 3  
MSNA 530 Gross Anatomy  3  
MSNA 540 Anesthesia Principles I 3  
MSNA 550 Anesthesia Principles II 5  
MSNA 551 Anesthesia Principles III 2  
MSNA 552 Anesthesia Principles IV 2  
MSNA 553 Professional Aspects I  2  
MSNA 554 Professional Aspects II 1  
MSNA 560 Simulator Lab 2  
MSNA 570 Research Methods  2  
MSNA 571 Research Practicum  3  
MSNA 580 Anesthesia Seminar I  1  
MSNA 581 Anesthesia Seminar II 1  
MSNA 582 Anesthesia Seminar III 1  
MSNA 601 Clinical Practicum I  4  
MSNA 602 Clinical Practicum II 4  
MSNA 603 Clinical Practicum III 4  
MSNA 604 Clinical Practicum IV 3  
MSNA 660 Advanced Health Assessment 1  
Total Hours for the MSNA Program 64  

Recommended Plan of Study