The program’s inaugural director, Shauna Rich Jacobson, is a doctoral prepared CRNA with nearly 30 years of experience in the nursing profession. She said gaining official accreditation is the culmination of months of preparation.

“This initial accreditation signifies that our Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice program has met or exceeded the established national standards for nurse anesthesia educational quality,” said Rich Jacobson. “The curriculum incorporates simulation experiences in our state-of-the-art simulation lab designed with the students in mind. This enables students to practice skills, develop competencies and reinforce didactic knowledge in a safe and controlled environment.”

The program’s first classes will start in spring 2023 to help meet the continued need of growing and building South Dakota’s health care workforce. Nurse anesthetists are the sole provider of anesthesia care in 83% of South Dakota counties, demonstrating the need to elevate the quality of care in the emerging health care systems and to strengthen CRNA leadership skills. USD is the only public university in the state to offer the DNAP degree.

“Our program offers several strengths: small class sizes, affordability, clinically relevant faculty and invaluable clinical sites and preceptors. This allows for personal attention and quality advising relationships and strong interprofessional clinical relationships that enhance the student experience,” Rich Jacobson explained.

The initial accreditation period is for five years, with reaccreditation in 2028 for 10 more years.
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