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2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin 
  Jul 16, 2024
2018-2019 Graduate Studies Bulletin [Archived Catalog]

Nurse Anesthesia, M.N.A.

The nurse anesthetist is a highly trained medical care specialist who, under the supervision of a physician, is responsible for the anesthesia requirements of patients in all areas of surgery. The nurse anesthetist develops, implements, and evaluates the anesthetic plan of care for individual patients and is a vital part of the health care team. The nurse anesthesia program at the University of South Carolina is accredited for the maximum 10-year period by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs and prides itself on a very high graduation rate and excellent pass success on the certification exam. Through careful selection of applicants, quality instruction, and supportive environment, 95% of our admitted students succeed in completing the program and earning their Master’s degree. All of the program graduates have passed the National Certification Examination of the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists and have scored at or above the national average. The first-time rate for passing the Certification Exam has been 92% for the past five years. To date all graduates have found appropriate employment as Nurse Anesthetists.

The Masters of Nurse Anesthesia program is a cooperative program between the School of Medicine and its clinical training partner institutions, Palmetto Richland Hospital (PRH) in Columbia, SC and Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center (GHSUMC) in Greenville, SC. PRH began training nurse anesthetists in 1969 at the School of Nurse Anesthesia with involvement of School of Medicine faculty since 1986. A program leading to a Master of Nurse Anesthesia from University of South Carolina was accredited in 1993, and in 2010 GHSUMC was approved as an additional primary clinical site. Students may now complete their entire educational program either in Columbia or Greenville, with didactic educational content shared by two-way interactive videoconferencing between Columbia and Greenville classrooms.

Learning Outcomes

  • Knowledge of human anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of all the indications, contraindications, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of currently available anesthetic agents and drugs.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the anesthetic related indications in the care of specialties (Advanced Principles of Anesthesia) such as neurosurgery, pediatrics, obstetrics, and cardio-thoracic anesthesia.

Admission Standards

  1. a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from an NLN-accredited program or Bachelor of Science degree in a related science (official transcripts from each school or college previously attended with degrees posted are required); a GPA of 3.00 or higher on a 4.00 scale is preferred; the average GPA for students admitted for the Class of 2013 was 3.56;
  2. current licensure as a registered nurse in one of the 50 states; South Carolina licensure is required for matriculation;
  3. GRE - a combined minimum verbal and quantitative score of 1000 of preferred; the average GRE for students admitted for the Class of 2013 was 518 verbal and 613 quantitative;
  4. a minimum of one year full-time critical care nursing experience prior to the application deadline of May 1; clinical experience within the past three years is preferred and must be direct hands-on patient care in an intensive or critical care unit; alternate clinical experiences to substitute shall be evaluated upon request;
  5. satisfactory completion and current documentation of Basic Life Support, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and Advanced Cardiac Life Support;
  6. letters of recommendation from two health care professionals familiar with the applicant’s clinical experience; a letter from an immediate manager or supervisor is preferred;
  7. a current resume.

Prerequisites must be met prior to an offer for interview. Admission is competitive and students are chosen on the basis of their academic record, employment history and performance, character, and general fitness for the study of nurse anesthesia. To be accepted, the applicant must interview and demonstrate evidence of good physical health, emotional stability, and personality considered necessary for successful performance as a nurse anesthetist. Applicants to the Master of Nurse Anesthesia program are recommended by an interview admissions committee composed of faculty from the USC School of Medicine, clinical coordinators, and nurse anesthesia students.

Final decision for admission is made by program faculty in conjunction with the University of South Carolina Graduate School.  

Curriculum and Degree Requirements (64 Hours)

Integration of clinical training with coursework is a key feature of the program with students beginning supervised clinical experience in the first semester. A state-of-art simulation laboratory provides an interactive system to teach both psychomotor clinical skills and crisis resource management. The curriculum consists of a 27-month course of study including clinical training and didactic courses in physiology, pharmacology, principles of anesthesia, and others. To meet the criteria for graduation and to meet the requirements to write the Certification Exam from the Council on Certification, students participate in a minimum of 550 anesthesia cases covering a variety of clinical experiences, including general and regional anesthetics for pediatrics, obstetrics, geriatrics, cardiovascular-thoracic, neurological, plastic otolaryngology, ophthalmology, urology, orthopedics, and radiological procedures. The majority of clinical training occurs at PRH and GHSUMC, however clinical affiliations currently exist at several additional enrichment sites where students may rotate to gain more diverse clinical experience.  Enrichment sites for PRH include Providence Hospital/Providence Heart Institute, Lexington Medical Center, Moncrief Army Hospital, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital, Providence Northeast Hospital, Palmetto Health Baptist-Columbia, Kershaw County Medical Center, Anderson Area Medical Center, Oconee Memorial Hospital, Springs Hospital, and Conway Medical Center.  Enrichment sites for GHSUMC include Cross Creek Surgery Center, Patewood Memorial Hospital, Patewood Outpatient Surgery Center, Hillcrest Memorial Hospital, and Greer Memorial Hospital.

Self Evaluation Exam

Within the final 12 months of the program, all students complete the Self Evaluation Exam offered by the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists. A minimum score of 350 on the SEE qualifies as satisfactory completion of the Comprehensive Exam.

Application Information

Application deadline is May 1. Selected applicants will be scheduled for a personal interview with the admissions committee to be held in July and/or August of the year prior to the January orientation and start of the program in spring semester. Letters of appointment will be sent in August; these notified applicants are required to send a reply with their intentions concerning matriculation within two weeks of the letter of appointment. A $250 nonrefundable deposit must accompany the letter of acceptance. This deposit will be applied to the first-year clinical fees when the student matriculates. For further questions pertaining to a career in nurse anesthesia, please contact Winston King, clinical director of the USC/PRMH Graduate Program in Nurse Anesthesia, at 803-434-6344 or e-mail

For more detailed information on the application process and the Anesthesia program, visit our Web site at