DNP, Nurse Anesthesia Program

A nurse anesthetist working in an operating room.

The DNP, Nurse Anesthesia Program is a 36-month (9 semester), 88-credit hour, full-time program. Graduates earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with a specialty in nurse anesthesia. Nurse anesthesia students are educated for the full scope of practice. The Health Systems Leadership focus of our established DNP program provides students with a foundation of business, leadership, and practice skills to expand their practice on graduation. This new program began in August 2017. The program is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). Click here for more program data.

Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA)

222 S. Prospect Avenue
Park Ridge, Ill. 60068-4001
Main Number: 847-655-1160
Fax: 847-692-7137

Kelly L. Wiltse Nicely, PhD, CRNA
Program Director, Nurse Anesthesia

Emalee Aparo
Program Administrator

Follow us:

  • Georgia has 25 percent fewer certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) than the national average.
  • A shortage of CRNAs is anticipated by 2022 as approximately 50 percent of current CRNAs will retire.
  • CRNAs are the primary providers of anesthesia care in rural America, enabling healthcare facilities in medically underserved areas to offer anesthesia services.
  • By 2022, all students admitted to anesthesia programs will be required to graduate with a doctoral degree.

Emory University holds a reputation as a leader in nursing education.

Emory’s School of Nursing is ranked No. 3 in the nation by US News and World Report. Our school has been ranked among the best nursing schools in prestigious publications and online news media – click here to read more about our current rankings. 


Students will train in a variety of clinical settings amassing a wide range of clinical experiences. Students will complete more than 2,500 supervised clinical hours in addition to simulated experiences in our state-of-the-art laboratory. Clinical sites include in-patient and out-patient settings in the greater Atlanta and surrounding areas with experiences at major medical centers and at rural sites.


Semester 1 (Fall)CourseCreditsClinical Hours
NRSG 522Advanced Pharmacology3
NRSG 528Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology3
NRSG 531Chemistry & Physics3
NRSG 712D Analysis of Complex Health Systems for Populations and Organizations3
NRSG 702DAnalyzing, Evaluating, and Translating Health Systems Evidence2
Semester Credit Hours14
Semester 2 (Spring)
NRSG 532General Principles of Nurse Anesthesia5
NRSG 526Advanced Pharmacology for Anesthesia3
NRSG 544Advanced Health Assessment3
Semester Credit Hours11
Semester 3 (Summer)
NRSG 563Anesthesia for Surgical Procedures and Special Populations I6250
NRSG 529Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology Anesthesia I3
NRSG 722DLeadership for Health Professions2
Semester Credit Hours11
Semester 4 (Fall)
NRSG 707DTransforming Health Care: A Systems Approach to Improve Quality and Safety3
NRSG 715DDNP Project Development I2
NRSG 564Anesthesia for Surgical Procedures and Special Populations II5250
NRSG 530Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology Anesthesia II3
Semester Credit Hours13
Semester 5 (Spring)
NRSG 716DDNP Project Development II1
NRSG 713DAnalytic Tools for Evidence Based Decision Making3
NRSG 687Nurse Anesthesia Application I3.5312.5
Semester Credit Hours7.5
Semester 6 (Summer)
NRSG 717DDNP Project Development III1
NRSG 724DInformatics: Leading with Data3
NRSG 688Nurse Anesthesia Application II4.5437.5
Semester Credit Hours8.5
Semester 7 (Fall)
NRSG 721DDNP Project1*
NRSG 723DHealth Policy, Ethics and Law3
NRSG 548Professional Role: Nurse Anesthesia Practice2
NRSG 689Nurse Anesthesia Application III4.5437.5
Semester Credit Hours10.5
Semester 8 (Spring)
NRSG 690Nurse Anesthesia Application IV4.5437.5
NRSG 714DPathways to Practice4
NRSG 721DDNP Project1*
Semester Credit Hours8.5-9.5
Semester 9 (Summer)
NRSG 691Nurse Anesthesia Application V4437.5
NRSG 692Comprehensive Anesthesia Review Seminar1
NRSG 721DDNP Project1*
Semester Credit Hours5-6
Total Program Credits88-90
Total Clinical Credits2562.5

*Variable credit course

Students not completing the DNP Project in semester 7 must maintain enrollment of 1 credit hour in 721D DNP Project until all project requirements are met.

* Curriculum, credit hours, and sequencing are subject to change.

  • When are application materials due?The nurse anesthesia program has two deadlines for applications.  The first deadline, June 1st, is given priority.  The second deadline is September 1st.  For questions or concerns about the application process, please contact the School of Nursing's Office of Enrollment and Student Affairs at 404.727.7980
  • Is there a specific format that you would like reference letters to be in? Once you supply the names and emails of references a rating form with a comment section will be sent directly to them.
  • Is there a format you would like for documentation of shadowing experiences?At the time of interview we will ask you about your shadowing experiences. We strongly recommend a minimum of 16 hours.
  • Does the website provide us with all the information on the application requirements including where to send the documents? Yes see the “Admission Requirements” tab and the “Applying” tab below. 
  • Do you prefer certain ICU experiences (for example, CVICU vs SICU)? We have no preference for specific types of ICU experience. A minimum of 1-year and preferably 2-3 years of current full-time critical care experience is required (orientation is not part of the 1 year requirement). Note: the following are NOT considered as critical care experience:  Telemetry, Cardiac Cath Lab, Operating Room, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU or RR), Interventional Radiology or Emergency Department.  Critical care experience is defined as: Critical care experience must be obtained in a critical care area within the United States, its territories or a U.S. military hospital outside of the United States.  During this experience, the registered professional nurse has developed critical decision making and psychomotor skills, competency in patient assessment, and the ability to use and interpret advanced monitoring techniques. A critical care area is defined as one where, on a routine basis, the registered professional nurse manages one or more of the following: invasive hemodynamic monitors (such as pulmonary artery catheter, CVP, arterial); cardiac assist devices; mechanical ventilation; and vasoactive infusions.  
  • I have attended multiple schools. Do you require all transcripts?We require all transcripts be reported. We focus on science grades across your academic experience. We recognize that students beginning college may have an adjustment period and grades may be lower early on. If you wish to explain a low score, please include that information with your application. 
  • Are there any tips for preparing for the interview?We have provided some “Interview Tips” under the interview tab There are recommended readings and general considerations for interviewing for an anesthesia program.  If you have specific questions please contact us.
  • Will you have an Open House on campus, or just virtual sessions?Because our applicants represent a national geographic scope, we will continue to hold information sessions on line.
  • Are applicants being invited for interviews yet? Applications will be reviewed after the June 1st and September 1st Only completed applications will be considered.  The Nurse Anesthesia Admissions Committee will review the applications and a decision will be made whether to schedule an interview with each candidate. There are times that further information may be requested before a decision about offering an interview is made.  Applicants will be notified by email of the Committee’s decision.
  • When will interviews take place?Applicants applying by June 1st should anticipate interviews will be held in July/August.  Applicants applying by September 1st should anticipate interviews will be held in October/November.
  • Is there a limited number of interview spots?No, all qualified applicants will be offered an interview. Applicants will not be admitted without an interview. Admission into any graduate program is granted on a competitive basis and students meeting minimum requirements may be denied admission based on such factors as program capacity or academic discretion.
  • When will you notify candidates of their acceptance? Students will be notified via email of their acceptance within three weeks of the interview. A $1,000 deposit to be applied to tuition and a signed letter of confirmation are required to hold the spot.
  • May we wait to apply for a Georgia license if we get accepted or do we need to do so now?You will have time to apply for a Georgia license after your acceptance. Please be advised the licensing process can take up to 4 months.
  • Do you offer a pre-requisite statistics class? We offer a fully online, graduate level statistics course focused on research literacy and the type of foundational statistics you will need when beginning your DNP program. Applicants accepted to the program are strongly encouraged to consider taking this course.
  • How many students will make up each class?The number of students accepted each year may vary based.  We anticipate accepting between 10-15 students annually.
  • Are you looking for a certain amount of in-state vs out of state students? We are looking for qualified candidates with proven academic and clinical success as critical care nurses who demonstrate the drive to enter a challenging career that involves not just a new field, but a doctoral degree as well. 
  • What is the format for the online classes? Are they Power Point or interactive in format?The DNP courses are offered in an executive format with online presentations, discussions (synchronous/asynchronous), group assignments, and two required Saturday sessions per semester. During the Saturday sessions students will interact with their DNP classmates from various specialties. Students will have an opportunity to interact with local and national leaders as well as participate in writing workshop sessions. Anesthesia classes will be face-to-face on the Emory campus.  
  • Will simulation be part of this program?Simulation will be integrated throughout your time at Emory, beginning in the second semester and continuing until graduation.  During the initial simulation sessions your focus will be on task trainers and developing a readiness to enter the operating suite as a Student Registered Nurse Anesthetist, e.g. anesthesia gas machine checks, case preparation, induction and intubation, and neuraxial anesthesia.  The simulations will progress over time to management of disclosed patient complications, and then to undisclosed crises identification and management. Simulation may also be used to verify competence and for enhanced learning opportunities for students.   
  • Could you tell us which facilities will be used for clinical?A wide array of clinical sites have been established to prepare students for the full scope of practice.  Clinical sites include in-patient and out-patient settings, urban and rural facilities, and both anesthesia care team and CRNA solo practice.
  • When we are doing clinical, will we be required to take call? Experiences during your second and third year may include call.
  • How will you help students preserve a positive work/life balance while in your program?  Students are assigned both a nurse anesthesia faculty advisor and a DNP advisor.  This team then works with the student as the lead to ensure their academic goals are being achieved. In addition, wellness content is included throughout the curriculum.
  • It may be hard to tell now with the program being very new; however, do you foresee your DNP graduates receiving jobs after completing the program and passing the board certification?Yes, to both. CRNAs are in demand not only in Georgia but across the nation. In the dozens of conversations we have conducted with hospitals, clinics, and anesthesia practices in the region, we have consistently heard the demand for CRNA graduates. Already, Georgia has 25% fewer CRNAs than the national average. National figures further emphasize the need for graduates, in that a shortage of CRNA’s is predicted by 2022 due to retirements.  Also, the new requirement that CRNA programs advance to doctoral programs could decrease the number of programs available nationally, and/or the number of annual graduates from anesthesia programs, further driving up demand.
  • We expect our students will be well prepared to sit for the national certification exam. Our curriculum aligns with Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs requirements for educating nurse anesthetists.  During the program, testing opportunities will be built into the curriculum to prepare the student for boards. In the final semester, students will take a board review course as well as have a facilitated review of previous course materials.
  • Is the Emory program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs?Yes, the program was granted accreditation at the May 2017 Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) meeting.

There will be two admission deadlines annually:  June 1st and September 1st

Applicants applying to the June 1st deadline will be given priority for acceptance.  Interviews for competitive candidates will be scheduled July/August. 

Applicants applying to the September 1st deadline will be interviewed in October/November.  

Qualified applicants must have:

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited nursing program (CCNE, NLNAC);
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale;
  • Completed a graduate level statistics course*
  • Hold an unencumbered RN license or if out of state, be eligible for licensure in the State of Georgia;
  • A minimum of 1-year, and preferably 2-3 years, of current full-time critical care experience in (orientation is not part of the 1 year requirement). Note: the following are NOT considered as critical care experience:  Telemetry, Cardiac Cath Lab, Operating Room, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU or RR), Interventional Radiology and Emergency Department; 
  • Certified in basic, advanced cardiac, and pediatric advanced life support.

*The graduate statistics course may be taken after admission into the nurse anesthesia program but prior to start of the program. Emory Nursing offers an online graduate level statistics course specifically tailored to DNP students and those admitted are strongly encouraged to consider taking this course. 

Applicants must submit official transcripts from all degree programs attended, a curriculum vitae/resume, 3 letters of recommendations (Professor/Faculty Member, Supervisor/Employer responsible for your annual performance review, and a professional colleague, physician or CRNA), and an application fee ($50) by the specified deadline. It is also strongly recommended that students shadow a CRNA/Anesthesiologist for a minimum of 16 hours prior to applying to the program.

Competitive applicants will be invited for an on-campus interview. Applicants will not be admitted without an interview. Admission into any graduate program is granted on a competitive basis and students meeting minimum requirements may be denied admission based on such factors as program capacity or academic discretion. 

Post admission requirements include:

  • Documentation of all required immunizations, titers, and health information required by agencies for clinical placement. All requirements must be current at all times;
  • Current BLS, ACLS and PALS certifications as well as unencumbered Georgia license;
  • Pass an independently conducted state and federal criminal background investigation;
  • Pass a urine drug screen.

The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing will begin accepting applications to its DNP Nurse Anesthesia program on March 1st. Admission decisions will be based upon candidate competitiveness and space availability.  

Application Deadlines:
  • June 1st  with interviews scheduled for July/August
  • September 1st with interviews scheduled for October/November

Apply now

For questions or concerns about the application process, please contact

Nurses have administered anesthesia for more than 100 years and nurse anesthetists were the first advanced practice nurses. The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) is mandating a transition in the level of education required for entry into practice from the master’s degree to the doctoral degree. Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs are required to be no less than 36-months in length and graduates then become eligible to take a national certification examination.  When the national certification exam is successfully completed, the individual becomes a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).  

Because of the high level of responsibility in providing anesthesia care, the academic and clinical preparation is rigorous. Selecting from a pool of qualified individuals to enter a nurse anesthesia educational program is challenging and highly competitive. Therefore, it is important to be well prepared for an interview.  

The following information is a recommended guide when preparing for a successful interview.

  • Study the ACLS manual with particular emphasis on:
    • Drug therapies and invasive monitoring
    • Commonalities and differences between the various vasoactive medications including the pharmacological actions and the specific receptor sites affected
    • Invasive technologies, their correct usage and normal values, when appropriate
  • To learn more about the practice of nurse anesthesia, read the free, online Journal of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. 
  • Prepare for and earn CCRN certification.  Continue to review and expand your critical care knowledge, focusing on both breadth and depths of topics, not focusing solely on your clinical area of practice expertise.

As you begin your journey to become a CRNA there are many practical ways you can study for the interview while you are working. For example, ask:

  • Why is a particular therapy being prescribed (rationale)? What alternative therapies could be proposed? What are the underlying mechanism(s) of action that should be considered?
  • For medication therapies, what side effects should you anticipate and what actions should be taken if these side effects occur?
  • Review laboratory values including: why they are used, normal ranges, implications for out of range values, the units of measurement, and factors that can alter these values and affect their validity.
  • After a code situation review your BLS, ACLS, PALS, etc. What went right? Were there any deviations from the standard algorithms – what was the rationale for deviation and the outcome?
  • What are the hemodynamic parameters frequently monitored, normal ranges, and their unit of measurement? How do these parameters change in response to therapy? How do hemodynamic parameters vary with different disease processes and how does the tolerance for parameters change?

Planning for a Successful Interview. There are many internet tips and books related to interviewing. If you have not interviewed lately you may wish to reference a few of these resources to refine your interview skills and how to present yourself. Pay attention to dressing for the interview and dress as if you are attending a very important and conservative business meeting.

  • Finances. As a full-time, rigorous, 36-month program, working is not recommended. Many students in anesthesia programs depend on financial aid and loans. A limited number of scholarships will be available. Again, it is important to evaluate your financial situation carefully, so that you will not have to depend upon working while attending a very rigorous anesthesia program. 
  • Managing Stress.Prepare to concentrate your efforts on working hard while in this 36-month graduate anesthesia program.  Try to simplify your life and reduce distractions.  Build a support system within your family and others to reduce outside obligations as much as possible.  Learn to be flexible and find ways to manage stress effectively.  Plan to make your commute to the anesthesia program as short as possible. Commuting in Atlanta can be challenging! Your time will be better spent meeting the requirements of the program.
  • Preparing to Study.If you have not taken any course work within the last few years, taking some graduate course work may help you develop the discipline needed to study. If your undergraduate grades are lower, it may demonstrate to the admissions committee your current abilities. Similarly, we encourage students who are accepted to the program to consider taking a few of the core courses prior to the start of the program to allow for a more measured workload in the first few semesters.  Once accepted, students are encouraged to speak with the Program Director if interested in this option.
  • We require a graduate level statistics course of all students admitted to the program, prior to the first day of classes in August.  Emory Nursing offers a fully online, graduate level statistics course focused on research literacy and the type of foundational statistics you will need when beginning your DNP program. Applicants accepted to the program are strongly encouraged to consider taking this course. Graduate level statistics courses however, may be taken at other universities.

If you are chosen to be admitted to the program you will need to complete the following requirements:

  • Provide documentation for required immunizations, titers, and health information required by agencies for clinical placement. All requirements must be current at all times.
  • Maintain current BLS, ACLS and PALS certifications.
  • Hold an unencumbered Georgia license; If you do not yet hold a Georgia nursing license it is important to immediately apply to the Board as this process may take up to 4 months. The application may be obtained by beginning the online process at this site
  • Pass an independently conducted state and federal criminal background investigation.
  • Pass a urine drug screen.
  • Complete your graduate statistics course prior to the program start date if you have not already done so.

Not Selected for Admission. Due to the highly competitive process of selecting applicants for admission, an interviewee may not be selected for admission. The interview committee may offer suggestions for future preparation to qualified candidates. An additional year of preparation and possibly taking course work in the plan of study prior to formal admission to the anesthesia program may make a significant difference. Note, taking core courses does not guarantee admission in a subsequent interview cycle. 

There will be a wait list of 2-3 additional applicants. Should a selected student decline admission, a student on the waitlist will be offered the position. A wait listed student who is not selected for the cohort for which they interviewed will be required to reapply. Being on the wait list does not guarantee admission for the subsequent year. Applicants will be limited to two interviews.

We strongly recommend shadowing a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) for a minimum of 16 hours to identify the role and responsibilities of the CRNA, and to identify different types of anesthesia used during surgical procedures.

Shadowing is an observational experience that may be done in a hospital or outpatient setting. Permission to observe must be obtained prior to the shadowing experience whether outside of your institution or within your institution. You may choose to shadow for a full day or break the time into multiple short contacts. Reading about anesthesia in general before the experience and looking up medications and planned procedures can help you better understand the role of the nurse anesthetist. Some questions you may consider after shadowing are:

  • What is the “typical day” of a CRNA?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities of the CRNA?
  • What procedures were observed and what was the type of anesthesia administered (general, regional, monitored anesthesia care)?
  • What medications were used during induction/emergence?
  • What type of information was communicated in the hand-off to the PACU nurse?
  • Was the CRNA experience I saw generalizable to most practice settings?  Why or why not?

The expectation for shadowing is to observe the role and responsibilities of the CRNA, not to become an expert in the various types of anesthesia or to have an in depth understanding of all machines, gases and medications. This experience provides an opportunity to reinforce your decision of which direction to take on your career path. For some, the shadowing experience may reinforce the plan to pursue a career as a CRNA.  For others, the shadowing experience may demonstrate that this career path is not the best choice for your career goals. Either way, shadowing offers the opportunity to clarify your career aspirations.

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For questions or to submit questions/topics for the Q&A, contact Emalee Haines:

Thank you for your interest in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. Please complete this form to receive updates about Emory's admissions process and academic programs.

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master's degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program and post-graduate APRN certificate programs at Emory University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791.