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

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

For a description of the most recent major revision of the Standards, please see the following article:  

Gombkoto RLM, Walker JR, Horton BJ, Martin-Sheridan D, Yablonky MJ, Gerbasi FR. Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs Adopts Standards for the Practice Doctorate and Post-graduate CRNA Fellowships. AANA J. 2014;82(3):177-183.  

Highlights of the process are described below but please refer to the Accreditation Policies and Procedures manual for the complete policy.  

Major (substantive) revisions are defined as major revisions to the Standards that may affect the nature of the educational program, its mission and objectives, and the allocation of its resources. The COA is responsible for determining the need for major changes to the Standards and for initiating such actions, and will consider recommendations for major revisions received from appropriate persons, councils, programs, or institutions.  

If the COA determines a major revision is in order, a Standards Revision Task Force (SRTF) is appointed and a multiyear timeline is prepared for completing the change.  The timeline affords the constituencies of the SRTF, including the AANA Board of Directors and AANA Education Committee, a meaningful opportunity to provide input into the change and presents a progress report to the COA.  

In the Development and Adoption Phase, the SRTF develops and reviews consecutive drafts of the new Standards based on input from the communities of interest.  

In the Implementation Phase, an orientation to the new Standards is offered by the COA at the first Assembly of School Faculty held after the adopted Standards have been published and distributed. Open discussion relative to the new Standards is conducted at the Assembly of School Faculty (ASF) relative to the need for and/or feasibility of the changes. From the reports received and the recommendations made at the ASF, the revised Standards (and revised self study, if needed) will be finalized.  If at any point during the revision process inadequate consensus on a given point in the revision is present, selected steps in this process may be repeated.   

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).