United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Specialty Care Services

Nurse Anesthetist Education

EDUCATION OPPORTUNITY FOR VA REGISTERED NURSES
Become a Nurse Anesthetist

The application deadline for the Class to start in Summer 2014 was 
July 1, 2013

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Army have partnered to educate interested and qualified VA nurses in the field of nurse anesthesia.  The U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas (AMEDDC&S) will enroll the eleventh class of VA students into their nurse anesthesia program in June 2014.

**Enrollment into this program does not constitute
enlistment into any sector or branch of the U.S. military**

The thirty-six month program is divided into two phases; didactic and clinical.  Phase I (didactic) is one year long and is conducted at the AMEDDC&S at San Antonio, TX.  The Phase II (clinical) is currently at the VA Medical Center-Memphis, TN.  Students will also rotate to other approved clinical sites.  Partnered with Northeastern University, this program will grant a doctorate degree in nursing practice. Students will be responsible for their own living, moving, and travel expenses throughout the program. 

NOTE:  This is a 3 step process.

Step One:
Ÿ Individual must meet the admission standards of Northeastern University; A completed application and all supporting materials must be received at: Office of the Registrar Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Boston, MA by July 1, 2013 for consideration for June 2014 admission. *Note: When filling out your application, please check the “Nurse Anesthesia Army Program Only”.
Ÿ It is the applicant’s responsibility to verify the application process is complete through Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences. 

Step Two:
Ÿ Individual must meet the admission standards of US Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing

Step Three:
Ÿ The VA Selection Board will convene in Fall 2013 to select students for the June 2014 class.  Selected students will be notified shortly after the Board has made its decision.
Ÿ For the purposes of tracking applications by VA Nurses, and correspondence with Northeastern University, please e-mail Roberta Reedy CRNA, DNSc when your completed application is sent to Northeastern University.  Please title your e-mail correspondences VA CRNA Program. 
Ÿ You must also mail a hardcopy of your complete application package to: 

Roberta Reedy
Deputy Director - Anesthesia Service
Re: US Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing
VA Puget Sound Health Care System
1660 S. Columbian Way S-112-ANES
Seattle, WA  98108
E-mail: roberta.reedy@va.gov  (Please title correspondence “VA CRNA Program”)


PREREQUISITES:
Ÿ Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing;
Ÿ Current nursing license;
Ÿ Official transcripts covering all periods of enrollment in institutions of higher education;
Ÿ A current resume;
Ÿ Documentation of BCLS and ACLS certification;
Ÿ Your current (within one year) VA proficiency report with a minimum overall evaluation rating of satisfactory.
Ÿ Three satisfactory academic/professional references, including the applicant’s current supervisor;
Ÿ A letter of recommendation from a CRNA must be included with your application to Northeastern University. To become familiar with the role of the CRNA, contact a CRNA at your VA to “shadow” for a minimum of 4 hours.  If CRNAs are not employed at your facility, “shadow” a CRNA in your local area and visit the operating rooms where they practice to gain a first hand experience of the professional activities of a Nurse Anesthetist.
Ÿ A letter of recommendation from your facility’s Nurse Executive supporting upward mobility within the VA System.
Ÿ One year experience in critical care setting as a registered professional nurse.  A strong clinical background in critical care nursing is preferred.
     § The applicant should have had an opportunity to:
          1) Develop as an independent decision maker
          2) Demonstrate psychomotor skills,
          3) Display the ability to interpret and use advanced monitoring techniques based on knowledge of physiological and pharmacological principles.
     § Preference for this Critical Care requirement is within 12 months of application. 
     § Critical Care experience is defined as: critically ill adult or pediatric clientele requiring continual 24-hour care in specialized care units designed for extended care (ICUs and progressive PACUs). Highly-qualified applicants should have experience in selected critical care competencies including: The use of invasive hemodynamic and respiratory monitoring; Electrocardiograph monitoring; Bedside dynamic dysrhythmia recognition; and arterial blood gas interpretation. Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification is encouraged but not required but does not substitute for bedside clinical experience in critical care.  
Ÿ A letter from your critical care supervisor attesting to competency in the above described clinical skills (or plan for attaining future competency within the next year).

**It is highly recommended that prospective applicants complete an
Undergraduate class in either Biochemistry or Organic Chemistry**

Ÿ GRE within the last five years. 
        1) Under the new scoring system the minimum acceptable scores are; Verbal of 152, Quantitative of 143, Written 3.5.
        2) On older version of the GRE a minimum combined score (verbal and quantitative) of at least 1000 plus score of 3.5 or higher on the writing component.

      
*GRE Competitiveness: Remember, you’re competing against your peers.   While the above states minimums, you are encouraged to prepare well for this test and re-test if needed to achieve a competitive score. 
 
Ÿ An interview of qualified applicants is by invitation at the discretion of the VA board.


Program Requirement: Employee Incentive Scholarship Program
Ÿ When selected to participate in the U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing, the employee must apply for, receive and accept funds from the VA’s Employee Incentive Scholarship Program (EISP), which pays tuition and books. 
Ÿ To be eligible to apply for the EISP you must have been continuously employed by the VA a minimum of one year at the time of your EISP application.
Ÿ Significant features of the EISP, to assist applicants in the course of applying for this scholarship award, include:
     § Educational assistance under the EISP is awarded through an application and selection process for eligible employees
     § EISP covers the cost of tuition and related educational expenses (e.g., registration, fees, books, materials and supplies)
     § The maximum amount of education authorized is the equivalent of 36 months of full-time coursework
Ÿ Eligibility:
     § Continuous employment with the Department of Veterans Affairs for not less than 1 year as of the date on which the employee submits an official application for an EISP award               
     § Acceptance  to an authorized education or training program as of the date the official application for an EISP award is submitted by the employee               
     § Must agree to incur a contractual service obligation after completion of the program
Ÿ Service Obligation:
     § EISP funding for this program requires a 3-year full-time employment commitment within the VA Health Care System after completion of the program. 
     § The service obligation agreement is a signed, legally binding contract between VA and the EISP participant and specifies the obligations of the Department and the employee               
     § If the EISP participant breaches or fails to honor the EISP contract, the EISP participant may be subject to payment of damages, penalties and interest as described in the EISP Handbook .

Below is a link to the EISP Handbook (policy) for your review.
VHA Handbook 1020 

Length of didactic program (Phase I): 12 months at the U.S. AMEDDC&S in San Antonio, TX.
Length of clinical program (Phase II):  24 months at the Memphis, TN VAMC.  (Obstetric, Pediatric and other required clinical experience will be conducted at clinical affiliates of the assigned VA facility.)

The admission application for the program through Northeastern University’s website at:

http://www.bouve.neu.edu/programs/cmnurseanes.html  *  (general program information)
http://www.bouve.neu.edu/programs/armyprograman.html *  (specific information about the Army program). 

LTC Constance Jenkins, CRNA, DNAP, is the Army's Program Director for the AMEDDC&S at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas.


Please contact me with any specific questions.

Roberta Reedy, CRNA, DNSc
Deputy Director, Anesthesia Service
e-mail: roberta.reedy@va.gov (Please title correspondence “VA CRNA Program”)

 

*By clicking on these links, you will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs Web site. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked Web site.