VCU Bulletins

Department of Nurse Anesthesia

Mission and philosophy


The mission of Virginia Commonwealth University is to provide a fertile and stimulating environment for learning, teaching, research, creative expression and public service. Essential to the life of the university is a faculty actively engaged in scholarship and creative exploration — activities that increase knowledge and understanding of the world and that inspire and enrich teaching.

The university is dedicated the educating full- and part-time students of all ages and diverse backgrounds in an atmosphere of free inquiry and scholarship so that they may realize their full potential as informed, productive citizens with a lifelong commitment to learning and service.

The mission of the Department of Nurse Anesthesia is to provide learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to serve the public through the delivery of safe, cost-efficient, quality anesthesia services and to develop leaders and scholars who will advance the specialty of nurse anesthesia through research, scholarship and public service. The department will achieve this mission by establishing an environment that values excellence, stimulates creativity and recognizes achievement.


The philosophy of the department reflects the core values of the faculty and provides the foundation for the curriculum. The department’s philosophy is synergistic with the mission and goals of VCU and the School of Allied Health Professions.

The department is a social agency dedicated to the education and development of health care professionals in the specialty of nurse anesthesia. Consequently, the faculty recognizes and accepts the responsibility entrusted to it for the learning experiences for its graduate students.

The philosophical orientation of the faculty subscribes to the belief that learning is a developmental process through which cognitive, affective and psychomotor behaviors are developed and modified. This process includes the acquisition of information, the transfer and application of knowledge, the evaluation of new skills, and the development of a professional attitude and bearing.

The faculty subscribes to the belief that the learning process is both positive and rewarding for the student; that it is a transaction between the student and teacher executed through formal and informal processes with an objective to prepare knowledgeable and skillful graduates. Hence, learning is a lifelong process that results in a change in thinking, valuing and behaving. The educational process includes teacher-learner interaction in setting goals, selecting and assessing learning experiences, determining instructional methods, and evaluating the learner’s progress. Learning experiences are designed to facilitate continuity in attainment of knowledge, skills and attitudes consistent with educational objectives, the individual needs of students and safe patient care. Students are respected as unique individuals possessing dignity, worth and the right to equity in educational opportunities. Faculty and students share the responsibility for creating an educational climate that reflects democratic values, fosters intellectual inquiry and creativity, and encourages the maximum development of each individual’s potential.

The American health care system is becoming progressively complex. Technological advances and changing economic patterns foster competition for scarce resources while the patient population is becoming quite diverse. As a result, the role of the CRNA is becoming increasingly collaborative and complementary with other health professionals. In this environment, CRNAs have more responsibility and authority for coordination, decision-making and leadership of the multidisciplinary team, as well as for research, planning and development of health resources.

Graduate education in nurse anesthesia at the master’s level builds upon baccalaureate education with a nursing focus. It is designed to allow graduates the opportunity to become leaders and make significant contributions with the intended outcome of improving health care and advancing nurse anesthesia theory and practice through research. Consequently, the program prepares CRNAs through a team concept of a joint practice of anesthesia care composed of both nursing and medical components to meet the current and emerging health needs of society.


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Richmond, Virginia
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Last update: 11/5/2009

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