–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff
PUBLICATION DATE: 01.03.17
As the fourth cohort gets ready to graduate after completing its 28-month study, the sixth cohort of the Lourdes University Nurse Anesthesia program is well into its first phase of the program. The 15 students spend most of their time in the classroom, however, each Monday they are in the Lourdes nurse anesthesia learning lab for three hours working with a group of human patient simulators or high fidelity manikins to develop skills prior to their clinical experiences. A favorite session of the faculty and students is titled the “puking patient,” requiring students to react quickly to what could be a very critical situation.
“Our students are exposed to a variety of experiences that prepare them for real life situations they will find as they move into their clinical experiences,” noted Dawn AuBuchon, MS, CRNA, Nurse Anesthesia Program Director. Students begin rotating to one of the 15 different off-campus clinical sites beginning their second semester. The classroom and clinical experiences are integrated to offer students the opportunity to apply the theory they learn into actual practice. While the clinical experience increases, classroom instruction continues throughout the program.
“This is a very intense program and extracurricular employment is highly discouraged. Students spend approximately 60 hours per week in training for the entire 28 months,” AuBuchon pointed out. She said students who complete the program have experienced well over 2,000 clinical hours and have been involved in over 800 cases. “Our students are well trained and have no trouble finding a job. Our students have had 100% employment before graduating from the program. Many students have gone on to work in CRNA only practice, which is a type of practice allowing them to function in the capacity for what they are fully trained to do as nurse anesthetists. CRNAs can run their own businesses and contract with hospitals or can be hired by hospitals and other health care facilities,” she reported.
“Those who are accepted into the program must exhibit a high level of responsibility and a dedication to their patients and their career,” she noted.
In addition to the didactic and clinical training, AuBuchon said a top priority of the program is to help students learn self-care and wellness. “This is a very intense program, and it is important for students to find a balance with school, family, and their own needs in order to achieve a well-rounded career. This is why we developed a Wellness Program in fall of 2014. The wellness program has been one aspect of the program students love. Three times a year we plan group activities. One of the activities includes the students’ families as well,” AuBuchon said.
The program is for nurses who have a foundation of quality nursing practice, critical thinking, leadership, diversity, and a holistic nursing philosophy.
AuBuchon is currently working toward obtaining her Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree. She said there are plans for Lourdes to offer a BSN to DNP program to begin in 2022 with its first graduates in 2025.