Skip to content
CRNA graduates

Nurse Anesthesia

The nurse anesthesia concentration will permit the graduate an opportunity to take his or her place among the ranks of the highly respected CRNAs who will be molding the health care history of the next century.

Visit the Nurse Anesthesia website for more information. 

If you are a highly capable and motivated professional who is comfortable with the physical sciences and seeking increased education, autonomy, and the beginning of a lifelong period of challenge and continued learning, this program may be of interest to you.

The 31-month nurse anesthesia curriculum offers professional registered nurses the opportunity to develop into safe, highly competent nurse anesthetists by providing a course of study that encourages lifelong learning in the practice of nurse anesthesia. Upon satisfactory completion of all didactic and clinical work, candidates are awarded the Master of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Tennessee. Qualified graduates will then be recommended to write the National Certification Examination and, upon successful completion, recognized as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).

The curriculum contains didactic classes in the principles and practices of anesthesia (both general and regional) for all types of patients undergoing surgical and diagnostic procedures in all general surgery and specialty areas, including neuro, cardiovascular/thoracic, OB/Gyn, and pediatrics. Considerable course work is devoted to pathophysiology and pharmacology. Courses also cover the theoretical considerations of practice, professional issues, and research.

The goal of the nurse anesthesia concentration is to prepare qualified registered nurses to become anesthesia practitioners with an advanced scientific knowledge base and a comprehensive array of clinical skills.

Graduates should be able to:

  • Competently prepare and deliver nurse anesthesia services throughout the spectrum of practice settings in order to meet the health care needs of the public
  • Conduct independent study and research in support of advancement of the profession
  • Participate in the clinical and didactic components of nurse anesthesia educational programs
  • Assume professional leadership roles at the local, state, and national levels

The nurse anesthesia concentration is a blended curriculum. Specifically, some classes include both on campus and online activities.

As is the case with all graduate programs of nurse anesthesia education, the curriculum is very demanding and academically rigorous. Due to the intensity and workload of the graduate curriculum and practicum, students are discouraged from working. If students elect to work part time, they may do so as long as academic and clinical performance are not compromised.

Clinical Sites

The primary clinical site for the program is the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, a 581-bed acute care teaching hospital and a Level-I adult and pediatric trauma center, which offers a wide range of clinical experiences to student registered nurse anesthetists. Additionally, the following clinical facilities are utilized for curricular enrichment and supplementation: LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville, and Roane Medical Center in Harriman. Our students average 1,100 cases throughout the program of study, which well exceeds the minimum amount that is required to sit for the national certification examination.

Human Anesthesia Simulation Laboratory

In preparation for the clinical anesthesia practicum that begins fall semester of the first year of study and continues throughout the remainder of the program, students are exposed to numerous simulation exercises in the Human Anesthesia Simulation Laboratory (HASL). Students begin to administer anesthesia in the clinical area under constant supervision. A supervised call experience begins in October of the third semester.


The nurse anesthesia concentration is part of the College of Nursing MSN graduate program and follows the standard admission process and cycle. Application deadline is in the spring (February 1) for the following spring cohort (program begins in January).

Requirements

Applicants for the nurse anesthesia concentration must meet the following admission requirements:

  • Meet all admission requirements of the Graduate School and the College of Nursing.
  • Submit an online application to Graduate Admissions Office.
  • Achieve a TOEFL score of at least 550 on the paper test or 80 on the internet-based test if native language is not English.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) from a regionally accredited program.
  • Have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4-point scale.
  • Have completed an undergraduate-level health assessment course.
  • Hold or be eligible for licensure to practice nursing in the state (or a compact state as applicable) for which the student will be earning clinical credit as an advanced practice nursing student.
  • Current Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification.
  • Have completed 3 hours of graduate-level statistics. This requirement may be completed during the summer once admitted—see the statistics requirement chart for additional information. Any statistics course taken at another college must be preapproved by the College of Nursing. Submit a copy of the course syllabus to congrad@utk.edu for review.
  • A three- to five-page typed essay addressing the applicant’s long-range professional and educational goals, preparation (including work experiences) for anesthesia education, and qualities that would make the applicant a good candidate for a career in nurse anesthesia.
  • A personal interview with the concentration selection panel.
  • Three rating forms (references) from the following: 1) a former nursing professor who is familiar with the applicant’s academic work, 2) an immediate work superior (i.e., nurse manager), 3) a physician who works directly with the applicant. NOTE: Rating forms are be accepted from medical residents, fellows, clinical preceptors, team leaders, and/or clinical nursing/unit educators.

GRE: The GRE is not required for admission to the MSN program unless an applicant has an undergraduate GPA of 3.3 or lower.

Credit transfer: A maximum of 9 graduate hours taken before acceptance into the master’s program may be applied toward the degree (does not include statistics course prerequisite); none may be clinical. Transferred courses must have been completed within the six-year period prior to receipt of the degree.

You may find additional information on acceptance details, tuition and fee estimates, scholarships, thesis vs. nonthesis options, and comprehensive exams on the Acceptance and Program Information portion of our website.


ICU experience: To be considered for admission, applicants must have completed at least one year of current, full-time adult critical care nursing experience prior to the start of the program. Applicants must be able to demonstrate critical thinking skills and feel comfortable working with ventilators and with numerous vasoactive drugs such as nitroglycerin, nitroprusside, dopamine, and amiodarone. In addition, applicants must possess a thorough understanding of EKG interpretation and be able to apply hemodynamic values to patient care. Examples of adult critical care areas that meet this requirement include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Surgical ICU
  • Trauma ICU
  • Cardiovascular ICU
  • Medical ICU
  • Coronary Care Unit

NOTE: Nursing experience in the ER, ICN, Pediatric ICU, or PAR does not fulfill this requirement.

Experience in other intensive care units: While experience in adult critical care is required, employment time in neonatal and/or pediatric ICU is considered to be very advantageous and may count toward the minimum one-year critical care criterion. Other work history may be considered on a case-by-case basis but must include experience in units where nurses care for high acuity critically ill patients on a 1:1 ratio who require invasive monitoring and the administration of vasoactive drugs. For example, while it cannot supersede the critical care (ICU) requirement, flight nursing is considered highly complementary experience for applicants to the concentration.

CCRN certification: While the concentration does not require applicants to have CCRN certification prior to application, admission will be contingent upon achieving this or similar professional milestone before matriculation. Other acceptable certifications include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Certified Nurse Operating Room (CNOR)
  • Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse (CPAN)
  • Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia (CAPN)
  • Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN)
  • Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN)

Fees: All nursing anesthesia courses are assessed a fee of $575.


In addition to the core nursing classes, the Nurse Anesthesia concentration includes the following:

N500 Thesis (3, 3)

Utilization of the research process in an original scholarly inquiry using either quantitative or qualitative methods. Thesis hours are conducted under faculty guidance, and the completed thesis is prepared according to the University of Tennessee Guide for Theses and Dissertations. NOTE: Student will register for this course twice in order to fulfill the hours requirement for Thesis. Students choosing the thesis option DO NOT take N582 Scholarly Inquiry for Advanced Practice.

N506 Advanced Anesthesia Pharmacology (3)

Pharmacological implications of anesthesia delivery of anesthesia delivery with complex acutely and chronic illnesses. Prerequisite(s): 505

N516 Advanced Pathophysiology: Anesthesia Implications for Patients with Neurological and Cardiovascular Conditions (2)

Integration of pathophysiology for patients with neurological and cardiovascular conditions requiring anesthetic care. Prerequisite(s): 524 and 525; Corequisite(s): 523

N517 Advanced Pathophysiology: Anesthetic Implications for Patients with Respiratory and Renal Conditions (2)

Integration of pathophysiology for patients with respiratory and renal conditions requiring anesthetic care. Prerequisite(s): 524 and 525; Corequisite(s): 523.

N518 Advanced Pathophysiology: Anesthesia Implications for Obstetrical and Pediatric Patients (2)

Integration of pathophysiology for obstetrical and pediatric patients requiring anesthetic care. Prerequisite(s): 524 and 525;Corequisite(s): 523.

N522 Chemistry & Physics for Nurse Anesthesia (3)

Application of fundamental principles of chemistry and physics to the practice of nurse anesthesia. Corequisite(s): 524.

N523 Advanced Principles of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (2)

Advanced concepts/principles of anesthetic management.

N524 Basic Principles of Anesthesia I (3)

The focus of this course is on the sound elementary principles of safe anesthesia delivery for the beginning practitioner.

N525 Basic Principles of Anesthesia II (3)

Provides intermediate scientific principles upon which nurse anesthetists develop and implement plans of care for safe anesthesia management.

N526 Practice Issues in Nurse Anesthesia (2)

Collaborative deliberation on issues related to the nurse anesthesia role.

N582 Scholarly Inquiry for Advanced Practice (3)

Nonthesis option. Utilization of research process through experiential or critical evaluation of science in area of interest. Conducted under faculty guidance and culminating in scholarly product. Repeatability: May be repeated. Maximum 6 hours. Corequisite(s): 501.

N544, 545, 546, 547, 548, 549 Clinical Nurse Anesthesia Practica/Seminar I-VI (2–9)

Integration and application of theoretical foundations and development of clinical skills in nurse anesthesia practice.

N583 Clinical Nurse Anesthesia Practicum/Seminar VII (4–10)

Integration and application of theoretical foundations and development of clinical skills in nurse anesthesia practice. Must repeat. Prerequisite: 549


The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.