COA Revisions to Clarify Requirements for Clinical Supervision of Nurse Anesthesia Students

At its October 9-11, 2019 meeting, the COA reviewed and revised its accreditation Standards and Glossary definitions related to clinical supervision of nurse anesthesia students. The revisions clarify the well-established requirement that states:

“Supervision at clinical sites is limited to CRNAs and anesthesiologists who are institutionally credentialed to practice and immediately available for consultation.”

The definition of “Clinical supervision” found in the Glossary of the Standards was revised to reflect that the CRNA and/or anesthesiologist are the only individual(s) with responsibility for anesthesia care of the patient, and have responsibilities including, but not limited to: providing direct guidance to the student; evaluating student performance; and approving a student’s plan of care. The new language further states that clinical supervision must be consistent with the COA Standards (i.e., clinical oversight is the responsibility of a CRNA or anesthesiologist only), and also now indicates that programs are responsible for ensuring that students are aware of the COA’s requirements and know who is supervising them in the clinical area.

While the COA recognizes there are instances in which different types of anesthesia providers may participate in a case, in these instances the additional anesthesia personnel must have no clinical supervision responsibilities for the SRNA unless they meet the COA’s supervision requirements as specified in the revised Glossary definition of “Clinical supervision.” Please refer to the recently-posted 2004 Standards for Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (see Standard V, Criterion E11) and Standards for Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Programs – Practice Doctorate (see Standard F.5) found here for additional information.