UAMS Gets Nurse Anesthesia Specialty Program Approval

By ChaseYavondaC

The UAMS Council of Deans and the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees previously approved the program. The College of Nursing will now focus on hiring a program director this summer and submitting an application to the Council on Accreditation this fall for initial accreditation of the program.

“The need for nurse anesthetists continues to rise and our region has few options for students to gain the necessary education,” said Patricia A. Cowan, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the College of Nursing. “This program would allow UAMS to meet a specific health care and educational need for the state and surrounding area.”

UAMS would become only the second Arkansas university to offer nurse anesthesia training and the first in central Arkansas.

Jill Mhyre, M.D., chair of the UAMS College of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology said the program would help address a shortage of certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) and promote superior health care.

The proposed curriculum would require students to attend full-time for three years, completing 95.5 credit hours over nine semesters. Upon completion, the D.N.P. graduates would sit for the national certification exam and apply for licensure as an advanced practice registered nurse in nurse anesthesia.

“We have seen great interest from health care centers across the state willing to serve as clinical training sites for students in our program,” said Cowan. “This support shows our program is needed and can serve an important role in Arkansas.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nurse anesthetist occupation is expected to grow 16 percent through 2026, faster than average job growth. Nurse anesthetists are employed in a variety of health care settings including physician’s offices, hospitals and outpatient centers.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.