NA certificate will diversify workforce

National pilot program is engaging more diverse individuals to optimize nurse anesthesia workforce

Photo: CRNA Intensive

By Erica Techo
The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing is dedicated to advancing and diversifying the nursing workforce, and as part of this mission, the School has partnered with five other leading colleges and universities in the Leadership Excel and Achievement Program (LEAP)—a pilot program designed to optimize the diversity of the nurse anesthesia workforce.

The UAB School of Nursing’s Post-BSN to DNP Nurse Anesthesia Pathway is working with Case Western Reserve University, Columbia University, Medical University of South Carolina and the University of Arizona on this pilot that is geared toward reaching out to populations that are historically underrepresented in the nurse anesthesia profession to provide access and support for success.

LEAP is a one-year, remote curriculum that focuses on increasing student proficiency and competitiveness in science, scholarship, testing, mentorship and professional socialization. It is for students who previously qualified for but were not selected for admission to an accredited nurse anesthesia program. Students who complete the program are then automatically admitted into one of the five LEAP-affiliated CRNA programs.

In order to apply for the LEAP program, applicants must have a recommendation from a nurse anesthesia program administrator and meet GPA requirements in prior nursing and science coursework.

UAB School of Nursing Post-BSN to DNP Nurse Anesthesia Pathway Director Susan McMullan, PhD, CRNA, CNE, CHSE, said nurse anesthesia admissions are highly competitive and many students who meet minimum admission requirements often do not get in. The LEAP certificate helps make these students who want to become a nurse anesthetist, and have a strong work ethic and passion for nursing, more competitive by providing a focused preparatory program that works to ensure they are well-prepared to start a rigorous 36-month nurse anesthesia program. This all translates into better patient care and experience down the road.

“Research supports that patients benefit from having health care providers who are from similar backgrounds as themselves,” McMullan said. “The LEAP program will help increase the number of nurse anesthetists from diverse backgrounds, and improve patient care in Alabama and across the nation. Additionally, the LEAP program is also helping to develop new nurse anesthesia faculty from diverse backgrounds. I look forward to participation in this exceptional mentoring process as well. We are delighted to have been selected as a coalition school of the inaugural cohort of the LEAP Program.”

“The UAB School of Nursing is excited to be part of this innovative program to increase the diversity of the nurse anesthesia workforce,” added Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor Linda Moneyham, PhD, RN, FAAN. “This pilot program will help us reach students who, through the additional training provided in LEAP, can move forward and excel in CRNA programs, and not only be the clinicians of the future, but the faculty as well.”

For more information on the program, visit the LEAP Certificate Pathway page.

Last modified on October 07, 2021

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