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Simulation in Nurse Anesthesia

The RFU nurse anesthesia program is committed to the use of simulation to foster rich learning experiences and critical decision making skills. At the Center for Advanced Simulation in Healthcare at Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital, expert faculty and state-of-the-art equipment provide students with a wide range of learning opportunities. Student's begin the first of three courses in simulation and correlation activities focusing on anesthesia specific psychomotor skills.

These skills are not limited to but include: performing an anesthesia machine check, intubation, arterial and central line placement, spinal and epidural placement, and how to perform a general induction in the operating room. Beginning in quarter two and extending through quarter three, students will have the opportunity to participate in high-fidelity simulation scenarios in our two, fully functioning operating room (OR) suites. These suites are equipped with all the anesthesia equipment you would find in a traditional OR, and provide faculty with the option for video recording and streaming to provide additional learning opportunities.

The emphasis on simulation as a focus in the curriculum continues as we strive to promote the successful transition of each student from didactic to the clinical setting.

Teaching Assistant Program

Recruitment and retention of NA has traditionally been a challenge. One of the methods to overcome recruiting difficulties is to identify truly talented nurse anesthesia trainees and develop their love for education at the time that they are residents. Many trainees have a genuine interest in teaching, and we can provide them with the tools to develop skills to become future anesthesia educators while they are still in training themselves. The Teaching Assistant Program has been created to nurture these future educators, while also addressing our own need for more instructors in the correlations lab.

Our curriculum is structured as a front-loaded program, where the first 18 months of training are spent in the classroom learning the principles and theory of anesthesia as well as advanced health assessment, advanced pharmacology, physiology and pathophysiology. To reinforce that content, trainees spend nine months in Clinical Correlations Lab turning those ideas they learned about in lecture into practice. Topics and skills taught in the simulated environment are carefully crafted to specifically demonstrate the topics just presented in class as a way to solidify the learning. Working in groups in the state of the art simulation lab is the closest thing to real life patient care to ensure that our residents understand the concepts and can put them into practice.

This tightly woven curriculum and correlations is one of the most unique and powerful aspects of the RFU Nurse Anesthesia program. Teaching Assistants are an integral part of the correlations experience.

CRNA residents are permitted to apply to the TA Program after the summer quarter of their second year, at which time they would have completed two of the three correlations courses themselves. Applications for these competitive positions will be reviewed during the fall quarter, and the selected TAs will be notified prior to the beginning of their clinical residency. Following completion of their first 4-month clinical residency in the winter quarter, TAs will return to campus to assist with Clinical Correlations Lab, instructor guided lab practice time, and further development of curriculum innovations. This is a great opportunity for nurse anesthesia residents to become acquainted with the process of instructional planning and implementation.

Interested in applying for the TA program? Click here for more information and to download the application.