I've fielded a few questions about the VA's anesthesia program. This is all of the information I have....

VA Employees -

Become a Nurse Anesthetist

The application deadline for the Class
to start in the summer of 2011 is

July 1, 2010

The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Army have blended resources to educate interested and qualified VA nurses in the field of nurse anesthesia. The U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio Texas (AMEDDC&S) will enroll the eighth class of VA students into their nurse anesthesia program in June 2011.

*Enrollment into this program does not constitute
enlistment into any sector or branch of the U.S. military.
The thirty-month program is divided into two phases; didactic and clinical. Phase I (didactic) is one year long and is conducted at the AMEDDC&S at Fort Sam Houston. The Phase II (clinical) work will be done at the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center (Augusta Georgia) and students will also rotate to other approved clinical sites. Partnered with Northeastern University, this program will grant an advanced education degree.
A completed application and all supporting materials must be received at Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Boston, MA by
July 1, 2010 for consideration for June 2011 admission.
*Note on your application that you are applying for the U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing.
The VA Selection Board will meet in Summer/Fall 2010 to select students for the June 2011 class. Selected students will be notified shortly after the Board has made its decision.
For the purposes of tracking applications by VA Nurses, and correspondence with Northeastern University, please e-mail Robert Lloyd, CRNA when your completed application is sent to Northeastern University. Also, it is imperative for you to mail a copy of your complete application package, including official copies of transcripts and a reference letter from a VA CRNA to:
Robert Lloyd, MHS-CRNA
Phase II Program Director –US Army Graduate Program In Anesthesia Nursing
Anesthesia Service (222)
Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center
1 Freedom Way
Augusta, Georgia 30904-6285
Telephone: 706-823-1786
FAX: 706-823-1754
*It is the applicant’s responsibility to verify the application process is complete through Northeastern University’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences.
*** Part of the VA application process is that you must shadow a VA CRNA for a minimum of 8 hours. The 8 hours does not have to be continuous. ***

NOTE: Application/Acceptance will be a two step process.

Step One:
¤ Individual must meet the admission standards of Northeastern University; however "admission" does not guarantee selection by the VA for the program.
Step Two:
¤ Due to significant competition within the VA for the limited slots available, a VA panel will select the VA employees to be admitted to the program.
¤ A strong clinical background in critical care nursing is preferred. Some students may be accepted on a conditional basis for purposes of completion of prerequisite course work.
¤ Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center (Augusta GA) will be the Phase II Clinical Site. Students will be required to rotate to various federal facilities, i.e. military or VA.
¤ Students will be responsible for their own moving expenses to and living expenses at the Phase I didactic site in San Antonio, Texas and during their clinical rotations at the Phase II sites.

**It is highly recommended that prospective applicants complete an undergraduate class in either Biochemistry or Organic Chemistry.
*When filling out the application, please check the “Nurse Anesthesia Army Program Only”.*
¤ Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing;
¤ A completed application and all supporting materials must be received at the Office of the Registrar by April 1, 2010 for consideration for June admission of the following year. It is the applicant’s responsibility to verify the application process is complete through Northeastern University;
¤ GPA of 3.0 is required for full status acceptance into the course;
¤ Official transcripts covering all periods of enrollment in institutions of higher education;
¤ Current nursing license;
¤ A current resume;
¤ Documentation of BCLS and ACLS certification;
¤ Three satisfactory academic/professional references, including the applicant’s current supervisor;
¤ A letter of recommendation from a CRNA must be included with your application to Northeastern University. To become familiar with the role of the CRNA, contact a CRNA at your VA to “shadow”. If CRNAs are not employed at your facility, “shadow” a CRNA in your local area and visit the operating rooms where they practice to gain a first hand experience of the professional activities of a Nurse Anesthetist;
¤ One year experience in critical care setting as a registered professional nurse (e.g. Applicants must demonstrate that they have had or will have at least one year of experience as a Registered Nurse in a critical care setting prior to the start of class. During that time, the applicant should have had an opportunity to: 1) develop as an independent decision maker, 2) demonstrate psychomotor skills, and 3) display the ability to interpret and use advanced monitoring techniques based on a knowledge of physiological and pharmacological principles. Preference for this Critical Care requirement is within 12 months of application. Critical Care experience is defined as: critically ill adult or pediatric clientele requiring continual 24-hour care in specialized care units designed for extended care (ICUs and progressive PACUs). Furthermore, the clientele must require the use of invasive hemodynamic and respiratory monitoring. Highly-qualified applicants should have experience in selected critical care competencies including electrocardiograph monitoring; bedside dynamic dysrhythmia recognition; hemodynamic monitoring; and arterial blood gas interpretation. Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider certification is highly encouraged but does not substitute for bedside clinical experience in critical care. Applicants will need a letter from their critical care supervisor attesting to the applicant’s competency in the above described clinical skills or plan for attaining future competency within the next year); and
¤ An interview is required of qualified applicants and is by invitation.
¤ GRE within five years: Combined recommended score (verbal and quantitative) of at least 1000 on new version of GRE, plus score of 3.5 or higher on the writing component.
*GRE Competitiveness: Remember, you’re competing against your peers. While the above states minimums, you are encouraged to prepare well for this test and re-test if needed to achieve a competitive score.

Program Requirement: Employee Incentive Scholarship Program
¤ When selected to participate in the U.S. Army Graduate Program In Anesthesia Nursing, the employee must apply for, receive and accept funds from the VA’s Employee Incentive Scholarship Program (EISP), which pays tuition and books.
¤ EISP funding requires a 3-year employment commitment within the VA Health Care System after completion of the program.
¤ To be eligible to apply for the EISP you must have been continuously employed by the VA a minimum of one year at the time of your EISP application.
¤ Significant features of the EISP, to assist applicants in the course of applying for this scholarship award, include:
o Educational assistance under the EISP is awarded through an application and selection process for eligible employees
o EISP covers the cost of tuition and related educational expenses (e.g., registration, fees, books, materials and supplies)
o Maximum amount of education authorized is the equivalent of 3 years of full-time coursework
o The EISP establishes a maximum total dollar amount that can be awarded during the course of the EISP. (This maximum scholarship amount is adjusted each year in direct proportion to the periodic general Federal pay increase.)
o The EISP also establishes a maximum dollar amount per semester hour of coursework at the graduate level, but is limited to actual tuition cost and other covered related expenses. (The maximum per semester hour amount is also adjusted each year.)
¤ Eligibility Requirements:
o Must have been continuously employed with the Department of Veterans Affairs for not less than 1 year
o Must have met the 1 year requirement for employment as of the date on which the employee submits an official application for an EISP award
o Must have been accepted to an authorized education or training program as of the date the official application for an EISP award is submitted by the employee
o Must agree to incur a contractual service obligation after completion of the program
¤ Service Obligation:
o The amount of obligated service depends on two factors: the employee’s status as a student (full-time or part-time), and the total amount of education or training covered under EISP
o A full-time student must agree to serve as a full-time VHA employee for a period of 1 calendar year for each school year or part thereof for which the participant was provided a scholarship under the EISP, but for not less than 3 years
o A full-time student who completes a portion of an academic year (e.g., 1 semester) incurs a service obligation of 3 years
o A full-time student who completes 1, 2, and/or 3 academic years of education or training incurs a service obligation of 3 years.
o EISP scholarship recipients must agree to serve as a full-time employee in the VHA for a period of obligated service in a location determined by the Under Secretary for Health or designee
o The service obligation agreement is a signed, legally binding contract between VA and the EISP participant and specifies the obligations of the Department and the employee
o If the EISP participant fails to complete the period of obligated service, the amount of funds that the United States is entitled to recover includes interest at the maximum prevailing rate.

Below is a link to the EISP policy for your review.
VHA Handbook 1020.1

CURRICULUM OVERVIEW: (Course length: 30 months total)
Phase I (60 Semester Hours)
-Statistics in Nursing
-Clinical Anatomy and Physiology I for Nurse Anesthesia
-Clinical Anatomy and Physiology II for Nurse Anesthesia
-Biochemistry for Nurse Anesthesia
-Pharmacology for Nurse Anesthesia
-Professional Aspects of Nurse Anesthesia Practice
-Fundamentals of Nurse Anesthesia Practice I
-Fundamentals of Nurse Anesthesia Practice II
-Theoretical and Research Applications in Nurse Anesthesia
-Information Systems in Advanced Nursing Practice
-Evaluation and Application of Research in Advanced Nursing Practice
-Physical Examination and Differential Diagnosis
Phase II (44 Semester Hours)
-Nurse Anesthesia Role Practicum I
-Nurse Anesthesia Role Practicum II
-Nurse Anesthesia Clinical Practicum I
-Nurse Anesthesia Clinical Practicum II
-Journal Club / Anesthesia Nursing Conferences
Length of didactic program (Phase I): 12 months at the U.S. AMEDDC&S.
Length of clinical program (Phase II): 18 months at a VA Phase II program site. (Obstetric and Pediatric clinical sites will be affiliates of the assigned VA facility.)
U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing - Download this PDF file for a printable overview.
VA nurses may obtain the admission application for the
program through Northeastern University’s website below:
http://www.bouve.neu.edu/programs/cmnurseanes.html (general program information)
http://www.bouve.neu.edu/programs/armyprograman.html (specific information about the Army program)

LTC Joseph C. O'Sullivan, CRNA, PhD, AN is the Army's Program Director for the AMEDDC&S at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas.

Please contact me with any specific questions.
Roberta L. Reedy, CRNA, DNSc
Deputy Director, Anesthesia Service, VA Central Office
e-mail: roberta.reedy@va.gov

You have to be a VA employee for one year before applying!

Please refer to the blue text for any further information.
Thanks, JCBrown CRNA