Position Statement on Clinical Site Acquisition (July 28, 2023)
The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) expects program administrators to acquire and maintain clinical site access in a fair, ethical, and cooperative manner that meets the COA’s Standards and complies with the Accreditation Policies and Procedures as well as applicable state and federal laws, including antitrust laws.
Position Statement on Authority to Accredit Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (April 11, 2022)
The COA is nationally recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as an accrediting agency for the “accreditation of institutions and programs of nurse anesthesia at the post-master’s certificate, master’s, or doctoral degree levels in the United States, and its territories, including programs offering distance education.” The COA is the sole agency with the authority to establish educational requirements for programs that prepare qualified registered nurses to become CRNAs, including clinical supervision of nurse anesthesia students.
The COA’s Standards for Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Programs – Practice Doctorate identify the didactic and clinical curriculum requirements that all nurse anesthesia educational programs must meet. The Standards also contain requirements pertaining to the conducting institution, faculty, students, graduates, clinical sites, policy, and evaluation. Included in the Standards are supervision requirements for nurse anesthesia students in clinical settings. Please refer to Standards F5, F7 and F8. (Refer Standards for Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Programs – Practice Doctorate, 2015, revised January 2022.)
Position Statement on Student Titling (April 11, 2022)
The COA recognizes nurse anesthesia programs use a variety of titles and descriptors for their students (e.g., student registered nurse anesthetist, nurse anesthesia student, graduate student nurse anesthetist, resident registered nurse anesthetist, etc.). The accreditation Standards and the Accreditation Policies and Procedures do not require programs to use specific titles or descriptors. The COA supports each program determining the title that works best for them. Programs must ensure the title being used is consistent with state rules and regulations. It is important to note Standard G.8 states, “The program forbids the employment of nurse anesthesia students as nurse anesthetists by title or function.” (Refer Standards for Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Programs – Practice Doctorate, 2015, revised January 2022.)
Position Statement on Doctoral Education for Nurse Anesthetists
The COA supports doctoral education for entry into nurse anesthesia practice by 2025. The COA has approved the following Standards in support of this position.
A4. The governing body appoints a CRNA as program administrator with leadership responsibilities and authority for the administration of the program. The CRNA administrator must be qualified by experience and have an earned graduate degree from an institution of higher education accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
A5. The governing body appoints a CRNA, qualified by graduate degree, education, and experiences to assist the CRNA program administrator and, if required, assume leadership responsibilities. This individual must have an earned graduate degree from an institution of higher education accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
C2. The faculty designs a curriculum that awards a master’s or higher-level degree to graduate students who successfully complete graduation requirements.*
* The COA will not consider any new master’s degree programs for accreditation beyond 2015. All accredited programs must offer a doctoral degree for entry into practice by January 1, 2022. On January 1, 2022 and thereafter, all students matriculating into an accredited program must be enrolled in a doctoral program.
COA Supports Innovative Degree Options for CRNAs
The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) recognizes that entry-into-practice graduates from accredited nurse anesthesia programs as of 2025 will meet the competencies as outlined in the COA’s Practice Doctorate Standards. There will exist a need for graduates prior to 2025 to have the opportunity to achieve doctoral level education, if desired, with either a practice and/or research focus. There will also be an opportunity for graduates of practice-focused doctoral degrees to attain a research-focused doctoral degree, and vice versa.
The COA recognizes and supports the need for academically appropriate articulation between master’s and doctoral degrees, as well as between practice and research focused doctoral degrees. The COA supports the development of innovative programs designed to articulate between these areas of academic preparation. These programs should be designed to recognize past academic and professional experiences thereby avoiding curricular repetition.