NSU’s new nurse anesthesia programs earns full accreditation


NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University’s nurse anesthesia program received full accreditation by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.  The program is approved for five years, the maximum accreditation period for a new program, and was also approved to offer distance education didactic courses.  NSU’s nurse anesthesia program joins 124 accredited nurse anesthesia educational programs in the country and was one of seven in capability review during the 2020-21 year.

“Accreditation of this magnitude and scope is certainly no easy task. The fact that this accreditation was obtained during the midst of a pandemic only added to the complexity of the process,” said Dr. Joel Hicks, dean of NSU’s College of Nursing and School of Allied Health.

Northwestern’s nurse anesthesia program builds off the tradition of excellence established by the CoNSAH.

“For almost 75 years, the College of Nursing at NSU has prepared thousands of nurses and advanced practice nurses for entry into the healthcare workforce. Now, our fully accredited nurse anesthesia program means that even more advanced practice nurses will be moving into an area of healthcare with a critical demand,” Hicks said.

The nurse anesthesia program admission cycle is now open. The deadline for completed applications is August 1, according to Dr. Aimee Badeaux, director of doctoral studies and nurse anesthesia program coordinator.

“The nurse anesthesia program begins in January each year and is a nine-semester graduate program, culminating in the baccalaureate-prepared registered nurse’s preparation for entry into practice in the advanced practice role of nurse anesthetist,” Badeaux said.

“Without the expertise and guidance of Dr. Badeaux, accompanied by Dr. Katrina O’Con, assistant coordinator, this accreditation would not have occurred. As an incoming administrator in the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health, I am thankful for their leadership within our college, as they have recruited a world-class faculty to teach within the program,” Hicks said.

Hicks thanked NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio and Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Greg Handel for support that enabled the college to recruit and hire nurse anesthesia leaders from around the nation as faculty; Dr. Dana Clawson, immediate past CoNSAH dean, and Senior Director of Nursing Dr. Pam Simmons, for their vision and leadership in initiating the program.

Hicks and Badeaux also acknowledged the community and clinical partners.

“When the program initially met with the Council on Accreditation to discuss NSU’s intent to develop a nurse anesthesia program, the COA noted that clinical partnerships are typically the most challenging aspect of starting a new program,” Badeaux said.  “This was not the case for our program as we were extremely fortunate to have long standing clinical relationships within the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health that served as a foundation for our nurse anesthesia partnerships.”

For more information on the nurse anesthesia program, as well as other programs in NSU’s College of Nursing and School of Allied Health, visit https://nursing.nsula.edu/nursing-programs/.