Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
"Supporting Quality Assessment and Improvement in Nurse Anesthesia Education"
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the composition of the COA?

The COA is composed of 12 directors including 5 CRNA educators, 2 CRNA practitioners, 1 hospital administrator, 1 nurse anesthesia student, 1 university administrator and 2 public members. The composition of the COA reflects a mix of qualified CRNA educators and CRNA practitioners that is appropriate for rendering accreditation decisions regarding nurse anesthesia educational offerings at the master’s and doctoral degree levels and for the accreditation of Fellowships.

How is the composition of the COA determined?

The composition of the COA represents the publics within the nurse anesthesia community of interest. The COA follows the Accreditation Policies and Procedures for the recruitment and selection of COA directors. The policies and procedures are consistent with the U.S. Department of Education and Council for Higher Education recognition requirements for accrediting agencies. 
 

What criteria must a candidate meet to serve as a director on the COA?

A candidate for directorship must meet written criteria for the specific group to be represented. Nominations are solicited from the community of interest by notices posted in the AANA NewsBulletin, AANA E-ssential and by direct communication with groups and organizations such as nurse anesthesia program administrators and the AANA Board.  Candidates for the nurse anesthesia student directorship are solicited based on AANA Region on a rotational basis.  

What was the rationale for establishing a minimum total case number requirement of 600 cases, rather than the proposed 650 cases in the first draft Standards?

 In establishing the minimum total case number requirement, the Standards Revision Task Force (SRTF) carefully assessed over a 3 year period the clinical requirements of other accrediting agencies such as the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requirements for anesthesiology residents, comments from the community of interest obtained through 4 Calls for Comments and 8 Hearings and Focus Sessions held on the draft Standards, 2 surveys, and the analysis of NBCRNA transcript data.  The SRTF considered various options in establishing the minimum total case number requirement. This included a review of the literature related to clinical competency and the use of a benchmarking process. In addition the COA established a minimum number of clinical hours. This new requirement recognizes the value of students providing anesthesia care for longer and more complex cases versus an increased number of less complex cases (refer FAQ regarding minimum number of clinical hours for additional information).
 

What was the rationale for requiring a minimum number of clinical hours?

The COA established a minimum number of clinical hours as a new requirement that recognizes the value of students providing anesthesia care for longer and more complex cases versus an increased number of  less complex cases. The required number of clinical hours was increased from a proposed number of 1,600 hours in draft one to a required number of 2,000 hours (refer Trial Standards for Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Programs: Practice Doctorate, Glossary, pg.33).

 

Does the COA receive complaints or concerns and what is the nature of the complaints?

On average the COA receives one to two formal complaints against nurse anesthesia programs per year. The procedure the COA follows in reviewing complaints is identified in the Accreditation Policies and Procedures Manual (refer Complaints Against Nurse Anesthesia Programs, pgs. C-15 – C-19). The procedures are consistent with the United States Department of Education’s (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation's (CHEA) recognition requirements for accrediting agencies. The nature of the complaints most frequently relates to student dismissals.

In addition to formal complaints, the COA also receives informal concerns regarding nurse anesthesia education. Informal concerns are more general in nature and most commonly relate to the number and quality of graduates. In response the accreditation staff follows up with the individuals submitting the concerns
 
 

For more information please contact us at accreditation@coa.us.com or 847-655-1160.