Directed by Dr. Samuel Allen, the Kansas City General Hospital School for Nurse Anesthetists first opened its doors in 1950 and became one of three such schools in the Kansas City, Missouri area. It was accredited by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists in 1953 as a certificate-type program (non-degree).
Following Dr. Allen, Dr. Hugh Mathenson assumed leadership in 1964 and graduated three to four students annually. In 1965, Dr. James Elam became the school’s third director. He maintained this position until 1966. He was succeeded by Dr. Nina Beatty, who held this role from 1966 to 1990. Under Dr. Beatty’s direction, the school became a Master’s program. During this time, a major milestone in the history of the school was the transition from the Kansas City General Hospital to the new facility known as Truman Medical Center in 1976. Along with the hospital change in name, the name of the school program of anesthesia changed as well.
Truman Medical Center is a 250-bed facility located in downtown Kansas City, Missouri and is the primary teaching hospital for the University of Missouri – Kansas City, Schools of Medicine and Health Sciences. Our program is also affiliated with the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Biological Sciences- Graduate Studies, offering a Master’s Degree in Biology. This transition took place in 1978 and was completed in 1980, graduating the first class with the elective opportunity to acquire a Master’s Degree. Since 1997 all graduates of the program are required to complete the MA Biology degree requirements as well as attain the Certificate in Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree.
Changes in the hospital and degree resulted in an improved curriculum focusing on basic sciences in anesthesia, teaching techniques, school affiliations and a continuing update of anesthesia techniques. A continuing education program was initiated during that time, seeking to improve and update the education of the school faculty.
Chandler F. Bowser, CRNA MA, became the acting Educational Program Director in 1984 and in the summer of 1990, Truman Medical Center, the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine and St. Luke’s Hospital joined forces to improve and strengthen the hospital-based training programs located in both institutions. This affiliation between St. Luke’s and TMC School of Nurse Anesthesia and the School of Medicine effectively ended in 2001. Mark Lipari, CRNA DNP, became the Educational Program Director in 2001 and since that time, the School of Nurse Anesthesia has developed affiliations with many hospitals including Harry S Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in Columbia, MO, St. Joseph Medical Center in Kansas City, MO, Heartland Regional Medical Center in St Joseph, MO, Lake Regional Medical Center in Osage Beach, MO and Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence, MO.
With these new affiliations have come additional resources in terms of CRNA and anesthesiologist faculty as well as student clinical experiences. Clinical rotations in Obstetrics with emphasis on epidural analgesia/anesthesia, and Cardiovascular anesthesia with emphasis on understanding invasive monitoring as well as placement of invasive monitors have become an emphasis in the new clinical curriculum. The addition of new clinical affiliations also allowed for increased student enrollment going from 8-10 students per class year to 12 -15 students per class year. The number of CRNA faculty also expanded from 11 in 2001 to over 30 CRNA teaching faculty today.
Truman Medical Center School of Nurse Anesthesia is proud of its contribution to the continuing need for qualified nurse anesthetists capable of independent practice. Additionally, the school boasts an exceptional success rate (99% since 1990) on the National Certification Examination by our graduates. The facilities at Truman Medical Center and its affiliate hospitals, with their diversified equipment and broad clinical experiences, are able to offer students an extensive clinical basis in all forms of anesthesia.
In 2009 distant education coursework began, and in 2013 TMC School of Nurse Anesthesia was approved by the Council on Accreditation (COA) to be a distant education program. Clinical experiences in a full-body, high fidelity simulation lab accompany much of the curriculum throughout the program. The simulation lab is located at Truman Medical Center Lakewood.
Two notable milestones occurred in 2013. Truman Medical Center School of Nurse Anesthesia received approval from the COA to offer a doctoral degree for entry into practice, and the academic affiliation changed units within the university. The graduating class of 2015 was the final cohort to receive a Master of Arts in Biology. The graduating class of 2016 will continue to receive a Certificate in Nurse Anesthesia Practice from TMC School of Nurse Anesthesia. Graduates will also receive a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Nursing and Health Studies. In 2014, Amber Davies, CRNA, DNP, was appointed as the seventh program director since the school’s inception in 1950, and led the school in its first accreditation of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program.