Hattiesburg, Miss. Southern Miss's College of Nursing is getting ready to see the first graduating class of the Nurse Anesthesia Program. Program director, Dr. Vickie Stuart couldn't be any happier.
Stuart said "to see that this has finally gotten to this point, with the career dream of being able to start a program for Mississippi and the residents of Mississippi that's exciting. And then to see the students to be able to enter the program, to watch them grow professionally, personally, and then transition out to the workforce."
Southern Miss became the first university among the eight institutions of higher learning in Mississippi to offer a degree-granting Nurse Anesthesia Curriculum in 2013. And the program has hit the ground running, mentoring and providing great education towards a variety of students.
Stuart said "we have our first class who just completed their three years. They will sit for the national certification exam within the next month and officially become certified registered nurse anesthetists. We have one group that will transition to their senior year. And then, a new cohort beginning in January as well."
One of the most interesting parts of this cohort is that two individuals will begin their CRNA careers with the U.S. Airforce.
Stuart said "the uniqueness of this program is the diverse clinical sites that we have. We take students and exposed them to all anesthesia settings that they can potentially practice so that when they graduate they are capable of any practice model, any location. We have CRNA only practices, we have hospital based practices, we have ambulatory surgical center."