What is the COA’s process for revising the Standards?

It is the responsibility of the Council to formulate, adopt, evaluate, and revise the Standards for the accreditation of nurse anesthesia educational programs. Although the nature and scope of this responsibility rests with the Council, major (substantive) revisions are subject to review, hearing, and comment by the Council’s communities of interest (including nurse anesthesia students, faculty, staff, nurse anesthesia practitioners, patients, employers, institutions, the public, and the higher education community).

Major (substantive) revisions are defined as changes to the Standards that may affect the nature of the educational program, its mission and objectives, and the allocation of its resources. The COA initiates action and will consider recommendations for major revisions received from appropriate persons, councils, programs, or institutions. Further, the COA’s “Validity, Reliability, and Relevancy of the Council’s Standards and Criteria” policy requires that the COA conduct a call for comments on the full Standards every five years. In these cases, the COA’s community of interest is asked to examine the Standards and indicate whether it believes they are valid, reliable, and relevant indicators for measuring the quality of a nurse anesthesia program.

If the COA determines a major revision is in order, a Standards Revision Special Interest Group (SRSIG) is appointed and a multiyear timeline is prepared for completing the change. The timeline affords the constituencies of the COA, including nurse anesthesia program administrators, didactic and clinical nurse anesthesia educators, students, practitioners, and the public, a meaningful opportunity to provide input into the change. The timeline also presents a progress report to the COA. Open calls for comment conducted in accordance with the “Validity, Reliability, and Relevancy of the Council’s Standards and Criteria” policy will begin with the launch of an online survey to include all of the Standards and clinical experiences requirements. The COA will also conduct open hearings at the Assembly of Didactic and Clinical Educators (ADCE), Mid-Year Assembly, Nurse Anesthesia Annual Congress, and other formal meetings (as appropriate) for the purpose of gathering feedback on the Standards. The Standards Revision Special Interest Group will be charged with ongoing review of survey responses and open hearing comments, and will propose revisions to the Standards based on this feedback.

In the Development and Adoption Phase of a major revision to the Standards, the SRSIG develops and reviews consecutive drafts of the new Standards based on input from the communities of interest. The SRSIG will present the Full Council with a report on the final draft of the Standards with a final determination for adoption made at the COA’s May meeting.

In the Implementation Phase, an introduction and orientation to the new Standards is offered by the COA at the first ADCE held after the adopted Standards have been published and distributed.

The adopted Standards will be implemented by programs within one year. Programs undergoing onsite visits during this year can elect to be reviewed under the adopted Standards or the previous Standards. Following implementation of the Standards, the COA will conduct reviews of the standards on a yearly basis (or as needed).

The full process for major revision of the Standards is described in the “Standards for Accreditation: Development, Adoption, and Revision” policy and “Sample Timeline for a Major Revision of the Standards” in the COA’s Accreditation Policies and Procedures manual. Please refer to this policy and the timeline for a complete description.