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Out from Under
More nurse anesthesia students are getting their clinical training at Hopkins.

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Say you are a nurse in an intensive care unit. You love the serious nature of your cases and the one-on-one care. Yet you’d still like more autonomy and would welcome an even more complex practice. If so, there’s a career for you, one that offers rewarding job opportunities with challenging clinical work.

Nurse anesthesia has a long history at Hopkins, although one that got interrupted in 1985 when the School of Nurse Anesthesia closed its doors. There is still no formal graduate program here, but students returned to do clinical rotations in 2004. Today the Division of Nurse Anesthesia hosts six students a month from far-away sites like Columbia University and the University of New England. Closer to home, master’s candidates hail from Georgetown University and York College. Still, Hopkins most wanted to attract local students from the new program at the University of Maryland (the only one in the state) who might be interested in future employment at Hopkins.

“Not only do we like to see their work performance and how well they would fit into the Hopkins environment,” says Maribeth Massie, director of clinical education for the division, “but they like to test the waters, too. We’re known as a tough site. We’re very academic and evidence-based. We base our anesthesia techniques on what’s most current and not just what we’re comfortable with.”

Massie, who is involved with the profession’s national organization, gets requests for student openings all the time. But at the moment, she says, “my hands are tied. We need more CRNAs to keep educating them.”

It took a few years to get the clinical education program off the ground because when Massie joined Hopkins in 2001, there was just a handful of certified registered nurse anesthetists. Today the division has 50.

CRNAs administer more than 65 percent of the 27 million anesthetics given each year. Because 40 percent of Maryland’s nurse anesthetists will be retiring by 2015 and because the population is living longer and requiring more procedures, CRNAs have the highest job vacancy rate in the state. “Our goal is to keep increasing the numbers to combat the manpower shortage we see looming,” says Massie.


— MEM

 

 

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