YSU Introduces Doctor of Nursing Practice

By Gabrielle Owens

Nursing students in the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services working in a lab. Photo courtesy of YSU.

A new Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in the nurse anesthesia program will be in session during the summer 2021 semester. The 36-month program will consist of advanced nursing practices which will prepare each student to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. 

Youngstown State University department of nursing is in a 19-year partnership with St. Elizabeth Health Center School for Nurse Anesthetists. They worked together to create the new DNP program, according to Nancy Wagner, professor and chair of the department of nursing.

“YSU has had a nurse anesthesia master’s program since 2001 and we partnered with St. Elizabeth Health Center School for Nurse Anesthetists, which provided all the clinicals in some of the classes. So, we have been partners for 19 years and we worked hard at creating a doctoral curriculum,” Wagner said. 

Wagner said there are only seven doctor of nursing programs in the state of Ohio and she is proud of making history at YSU. 

“It feels great, and we have always been proud to have a nurse anesthesia option in our master’s program,” she said.  

According to Wagner, the DNP program clinicals will take place at a variety of hospitals around the Youngstown area, which includes Akron Children’s Hospital Beeghly Campus, Boardman and the following Mercy Health St. Elizabeth locations: Belmont, Boardman and Warren.

The DNP program will prepare each student to work in multiple facets of nursing, according to Patti Kostelnak, SEHC School for Nurse Anesthetists program administrator. 

“They will learn to be excellent CRNA’s, excellent clinicians and they will learn how to make decisions, write, implement policy and be an educator in the field,” she said. 

In order to apply for the DNP program, students must obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, have 1-2 years of critical care experience in a hospital and take the CCRN exam. 

“Recent graduate nursing students need a minimum of one year of critical care experience in the adult critical setting, but we prefer students to have two years of experience. They need to take the CCRN exam, which is the critical care registered nurse exam and that would be required for the program as well,” Kostelnak said. 

The first-year applications were accepted through Aug. 31, 2020. 

“We will consider having another round of applications until our seats are filled and if we decide to move forward with that, students can find more information on our website,” she said. “The application process is fairly simple: prospective students can go visit our website and can simply apply by pressing the application tab on the homepage.”

Only 20 qualified students will be able to register for the new DNP program at YSU starting May 2021. 

Jesse Wright, a sophomore nursing major, is excited about the new DNP program and said it’s a great asset to have on the YSU campus. 

“I’m excited about it, this program makes the nursing school look better. Also, it will allow us to have a higher education in nursing and it makes the bachelor’s program better by having a doctoral program,” he said.

 Students can apply for the DNP program at www.ytowncrnaschool.com

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