Anesthesiology Graduate Schools: How to Choose
Anesthesiology is the practice of administering anesthesia and monitoring a patient during surgery. Graduate programs in anesthesiology are available to individuals who already hold a current, valid license as a registered nurse (R.N.) and have completed a bachelor's degree in nursing.
How to Select an Anesthesiology Graduate School
While all graduate programs in anesthesiology qualify successful graduates to sit for the national registration examination to become practicing certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), some programs offer small, specific differences in title. A Master of Science in Anesthesiology is almost identical to a Master of Anesthesia Education, except the latter program prepares students for roles of leadership and adult education within the profession. This small difference may affect curriculum structure as well as program length.
Depending on the specific degree, a graduate program in anesthesiology may take anywhere from 24 -32 months to complete. A basic master's degree in anesthesiology may take less time than a Master of Nursing (MSN) with an concentration in anesthesiology. This is due to varying coursework, typically extended in the MSN program by research and a residency period.
Student aid may vary greatly from school to school. Some schools offer students monthly stipends up to as much as $300 a month for almost the entire duration of the program. Other schools may provide a grant of several hundred dollars to each student once per year, based on state funding allowances. There are also schools that offer no financial support at all.
Facilities available within and around the prospective college may also become a factor to graduate students. Some schools offer clinical experience in as many as seven hospitals, while other programs may restrict the student to one, or to campus facilities alone. Specialty areas also differ between schools and may include cardiothoracic, gynecologic, head and neck, orthopedics, neurosurgical and trauma.
Master's Degree in Anesthesiology
Offered as a Master of Science in Anesthesiology or a Master of Nurse Anesthesia, this degree prepares students to sit for the national CRNA examination. Coursework includes pharmacology, biomedical studies and physiology, and focuses on specific subjects such as endocrine physiology, renal physiology and anatomy. Students learn specialized techniques to be used during cardiovascular, pediatric and neurological surgery. They also learn to operate anesthesia machines, ventilators and monitoring equipment.
Master of Nursing in Anesthesiology
A Master of Nursing with a concentration in nursing anesthesia may take as long as 32 months to complete. This is mainly due to the addition of specialized courses such as the theory of nurse research, advanced health assessment and population health. Like a M.S. in Anesthesiology, nursing programs cover the many different aspects of anesthesiology, including specialized techniques, use of equipment, physiology and anatomy. A MSN typically requires an extensive residency period of 1-2 semesters, and could also include a master's thesis and a final project to be completed for graduation.
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