MHSA – Learning Curriculum

The curriculum of the Master of Health Science in Anesthesia program is innovative and modern. The program faculty recognize that students learn in myriad ways and prefer variety in the curriculum delivery. Students assimilate knowledge through instruction which is lecture-based and through online modules, reading, small group learning and discussion, laboratory and computer-based student learning clinical tutorials, anatomy and learning laboratory experiences, simulated clinical laboratory experiences, and physical assessment laboratory experiences. Students begin early clinical experiences in Block 2 of the Foundation Phase and then transition to predominately clinical experiences in the Integrative Phase.

The curriculum includes the most modern learning constructs and evidence-based medical care. The MHSA curriculum prepares students well to enter clinical practice as a general anesthetist. In the Foundation Phase, this curriculum is taught by faculty clinicians (Anesthesiologist Assistants and physicians) who practice primary care and anesthesiology. The clinical skills laboratory courses include communication skills, professionalism and ethics, patient-centered care approach, preventive medicine, care coordination, patient assessment, pre-habilitation, and physical examination. Immersive simulation-based learning aids in translating didactic coursework to direct patient care.

As the MHSA curriculum is annually revised, each of the current classes may have minor variations. Students should reference the most current syllabi and block schedule for their course as posted on Canvas. The student/faculty ratio for the MHSA is maintained at 15:1.

Explanation/Rationale of Learning Curriculum

Educational Philosophies

Vertical Integration

In many healthcare practitioner curricula, there is a disconnect between the teaching of basic science and its clinical relevance. Oftentimes, the material is taught months or years before its translational application becomes apparent. Moreover, we are asking students to synthesize diverse information when there are redundancies and gaps in the coverage of important topics.
The curriculum at the Master of Health Science in Anesthesia program is taught in a way so that the connections between the various layers of basic and clinical science—pharmacology, gross anatomy, physiology, monitoring, and applied pathology–are obvious for any given clinically-focused problem. Approaches to diagnosis (including physical exam, how basic science translates to laboratory testing, and imaging studies) and treatment, especially pharmacological, are also integrated. To accomplish this goal, we have organized the curriculum around a “learning funnel”, wherein topics introduced in a broad basic science perspective are sequentially addressed during learning discussion matrices and then reinforced in context as the student gains more knowledge about the anesthetic sciences. organized around particular diseases. Because students early in the Foundational phases of the program lack sufficient knowledge of clinical practice, formulating a relevant anesthetic plan could prove challenging – we view our learning curriculum as an inventive approach for marrying fundamental topics with their clinical relevance to train a better anesthesia provider.

Horizontal Integration

At the same time, there is a need to show the interconnection between related pathology, their clinical significance, and their impact on an anesthetic plan, emphasizing that clinical problems seldom occur in isolation but rather within a common context of biological, environmental, and psychosocial determinants. Thus, it is appropriate to continue to organize teaching along lines that emphasize organ systems or specific pathology while we congruently cluster topics with respect to traditional anesthesia, surgical, and procedural sub-specialties.

Foundation Phase as Preparation for the Clinical (Integrative) Phase

Clinical immersion during the Integrative Phase of the learning curriculum can be psychically overwhelming, and it is not the time during which the additional demands of synthesizing a disparate group of facts should be occurring. Instead, we have crafted the curriculum such that upon completion of the Foundational Phase, students will be equipped with the basic education needed to understand common disease pathologies, appreciate how an anesthetic plan is iteratively developed with increasing clinical information, and synthesize patient data into care management and technical skills. While they will be building upon this foundation as they expand the depth and breadth of their knowledge and hone clinical skills, it should not be as if they are learning about particular illnesses (for example, the diagnosis and treatment of intraoperative hypotension) for the first time, which is, all too often, the present case when students are introduced into the clinical setting too early. Students will be able to “hit the ground running” when they enter the clinical phase, not learn it for the first time so that they can make maximal use of their time in the operating room and perioperative setting.

Teaching Principles

One Class at-a-Time

In a traditional format, classes are often taught without much thought to the coordination of testing schedules, resulting in poor attendance at the courses for which no exam is imminent. While similar subjects, such as cardiovascular and pulmonary, are grouped together by semester, the connections between course content are not always apparent. The overall schedule can be unpredictable from week to week, resulting in unnecessary student anxiety and complicated coordination of lectures, rooms, testing schedules, etc. for faculty. A guiding principle of our curriculum is that (perhaps with the exception of the introductory fundamental material taught concurrently during the Immersion weeks), the learning content is grouped together in blocks along with a progressive framework from basic core knowledge to application of that content contextualized for anesthesia, culminating in extensive patient care in the clinical setting, all interwoven with immersive simulation-based experiences to reinforce classroom instruction. The curriculum is presented to the learner with a regular schedule of activities within a week as well as from week to week and detailed down to individual class learning content.

Integrated Comprehensive Testing

Throughout the block curriculum, and extending from start to completion of the program, students must complete regular comprehensive examinations in order to progress within the curriculum. While testing philosophy and practices vary somewhat by individual course within the program, the comprehensive examinations are predictable and relevant, with the primary intent to help unify the MH.Sc. in Anesthesia curriculum. Each individual exam test is low stakes, in that a failure or poor performance on one exam will not result in delay or dismissal, but is intended to guide learning, provide feedback and identify knowledge gaps. To reflect both real-world preparations and improve readiness for the national certification exam, questions are in board format, such that they include a clinical scenario, take advantage of multimedia (i.e. photographs of skin findings, imaging studies, electrocardiograms, audio clips of heart sounds, etc.), and require a second- or third-order level of abstraction to arrive at the correct answer.

Comprehensive exams are administered through a computer portal, accessible anywhere with an internet connection. Individual questions are assigned ‘meta tags’ in which the primary subject matter, corresponding to the national certification exam blueprint is determined, as well as other relevant data. Analysis of performance results are detailed enough to identify learner performance trends, curricular gaps, and predictive assessment of student success. Students, faculty, and administrators have real-time access to the data, such that, at any given time, a student’s performance can be plotted temporally and performance on specific topics can be evaluated. Such data proves particularly valuable when students are preparing for the national certification exam so that more attention can be devoted to studying areas of weakness. Similarly, for students running into academic difficulties, it is useful to determine trends in academic performance which could aid in the identification of non-academic stressors.

Block Structure of the Curriculum

Clinically focused graduate-level anesthesia programs don’t lend themselves to physiologic-based or pathologic system-focused learning; the compressed didactic time horizon and breadth of subject matter in anesthesiology prevents cohesive translation of learning. However, we have developed a progressive curriculum that introduces foundational basic science knowledge in discreet coursework which is gradually applied with an anesthesia context and culminates in creative application and synthesis of knowledge in clinical anesthesia management.

Development of the learning structure of the MHSA program followed a process of curriculum mapping, which makes possible the identification of where within the curriculum learning objectives are addressed. This alignment of the curriculum and learning objectives involves clarification of the relationship between what students do in the courses, what the faculty expect them to learn, and what skills are required of the graduate to competently practice as an Anesthesiologist Assistant.

Learning content organization via a curriculum map can best be thought of as a two-dimensional grid of rows and columns. The rows would, grossly, correspond to courses within the curriculum, such as Anatomy, Anesthesia & Co-Existing Diseases, Practical Skills Lab, etc. The columns would represent learning objectives, content outlines, and practice skills emblematic of particular disciplines that would be taught. One way to look at the organization of our curriculum would be that much of the traditional material taught to AA students will continue to be taught but taught in a highly integrated fashion.

The Foundational Phase of the curriculum consists of three blocks of fundamental courses and the remaining three blocks in the Integrative Phase. The first block corresponds to the basic core knowledge upon which application and integration build, such as pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology, combined with clinical skills teaching in the basic technical aspects of the anesthesia profession such as airway management and intravenous catheter placement. The second block introduces a clinical skills ‘boot camp’ in preparation for the initial clinical immersion. The final block of the Foundational Phase introduces disease-focused courses requiring physiological integration and incorporating subdisciplines of pathophysiology, which prepare the learner to think iteratively in anesthetic plan development, which is reinforced with crisis management and non-technical skills lab experiences.

Curriculum Outline

Foundations (Months 1-10)

Students are educated at the Auburn Campus of VCOM for the first ten months of the Program curriculum, the Foundations Phase

The Foundations Phase includes:

  • A one-week orientation held prior to the start of the academic year to prepare students for the forthcoming academic responsibilities
  • Two blocks of integrated, interdisciplinary didactic courses that bring together basic, clinical, and social science
  • Human Form & Function is a derivative-based construct of the core basic science framework (anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathophysiology)
  • The Foundations phase includes 5 comprehensive exams, which reinforce content taught in the first 10 months, and begins the preparation for the national certification exam and transition to the patient care phase
  • Advancing application of skills training for the clinical anesthetist, including patient assessment and optimization, non-technical and technical procedural skills, and crisis management in the operative theater
  • Preparation for patient care through longitudinal instruction in clinical skills and direct work with patients in both operating room and non-operating room settings

Integrated Threads

  • Basic and advanced scientific threads (Human Form & Function, applied physiology, and co-existing diseases, monitoring and technology, and anesthesia principles and practice)
  • Clinical thread (foundational clinical experience and clinical skills in both classroom and patient care settings)
  • Immersive learning thread (progressive experience in technical and non-technical skills of the anesthetist)
  • Quality improvement thread (systems-based practice and certification in healthcare quality)

Themes in Anesthesia

This course integrates thematic content with an emphasis on core concepts needed for professional clinical practice in the changing healthcare environment. Students will explore areas related to humanism in medicine, including the themes of diversity, equity, and inclusion, determinants of health, advocacy for the profession, and sub-specialties of anesthesiology.

Integrative Phase (Months 11-25)

Required clerkships totaling 51 weeks of clinical instruction can be taken anywhere in the Appalachian foothills and Mississippi Delta regions. There are also optional clinical rotation tracks for completing a specified number of clerkships in one of three primary regions (Alabama coast, North Georgia, and Upstate South Carolina).

Required clerkships include:

  • Cardiothoracic anesthesia
  • Pediatric anesthesia
  • Labor & Delivery / Obstetric anesthesia

During this phase, the students will also be required to complete an outreach rotation sharing their training in healthcare sciences to low-income and medically underserved areas. These rotations can be selected in either a surrounding rural area of the Appalachian region or an international location.

  • International Outreach provides a comprehensive program to serve the health care needs of communities in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Honduras. Students develop cultural sensitivity and skills to address significant health challenges that span borders working with VCOM faculty in these regions. There are three year-round international clinics where students complete one-month international student rotations. In addition, students have the opportunity to provide public health, community health, and primary care services to communities surrounding these clinics.
  • Through regional Appalachian Outreach, students enhance their skills in providing patient-centered medical care through outreach activities in the surrounding foothill region. Activities include local area health fairs, free clinics, community education, and other service-based learning opportunities to engage the community, all while receiving education from VCOM faculty and clinical staff.

Themes in Healthcare

This course integrates thematic content with an emphasis on core concepts needed for professional clinical practice in the changing healthcare environment. Students will explore areas related to operative and procedural specialties, professionalism in the healthcare setting, and review for the national certification exam.

Research Methods

This course teaches the fundamental skills necessary to critically appraise the methods, results, significance, and application of clinical research studies as a precursor to the Capstone project.

Capstone Project

A quality improvement project will be considered within the context of interprofessional teams and from a systems perspective. Care environments are complex settings and call for a sophisticated set of collaborative teamwork skills and systems thinking. The objective of this course is to empower the senior AA student to improve their knowledge and skills in the science of quality improvement so that they can take action in their own future clinical setting to improve the quality of care for patients and their families.

Transition to Practice (Months 26-28)

Allowing the student to explore potential career locations, this terminal clinical practicum encompasses 13 weeks of patient care experience with the group or department they intend to join upon graduation. Students finish the phase with a transition to practice experience.

Transition to Practice

Transition to Practice is a required course taught primarily by virtual format in small-group and workshop formats. It is designed as a “continuing medical education” course for senior students whereby they can choose sessions focusing on their planned specialties, as well as become exposed to topics germane to clinically practicing anesthetists including personal financial management, clinical precepting, and professional citizenship.

Curriculum & Block Schedule

Program Goals

The mission of the Master of Health Science in Anesthesia is to educate Anesthesiologist Assistants to provide comprehensive quality anesthesia care to all, to be respectful of patient values, to be committed to ethical principles, and to be grounded in evidence-based practice and clinical reasoning. Graduates will contribute to the profession and their communities and be prepared to practice medicine in a variety of perioperative settings under the supervision of physician anesthesiologists. Graduates will be dedicated to the service of medically underserved communities and diverse patient populations.

To provide education in the art and science of perioperative anesthesia and prepare competent entry-level Anesthesiologist Assistants in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains.

Priorities

  • To provide education in the anesthesia sciences focused on evidence-based medicine, patient-centered care, quality improvement in patient care, and servant leadership to the global community.
  • To prepare students and measure their performance in the competencies of the Anesthesiologist Assistant profession.
  • To prepare students to successfully pass all stages of the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA) examination
  • To prepare graduates to be successfully integrated into anesthesiology groups and departments.
  • To foster a culture of faculty growth and institutional excellence through:
    • CME and faculty development;
    • Continuous examination, review, and updating of curriculum and recognition for excellence in teaching;
    • Annual review and research on new developments in medical education, new delivery models and technology; and
    • Support for faculty research, innovation, and scholarly work in the areas of biomedical, clinical, educational, public health, and health policy research.
    • To support the Anesthesiologist Assistant education continuum, including on-campus preclinical education and high-quality, structured community-based clinical graduate medical education.
  • To support the Anesthesiologist Assistant education continuum, including on-campus preclinical education and high-quality, structured community-based clinical graduate medical education.

To recruit and graduate students who will address health care disparities including those related to rural locations, historically marginalized populations, and medically underserved communities within the Southeastern United States.

Priorities

  • Recruit students from, and educate students in the socioeconomically depressed regions of
    the southern states including southern Appalachia, the former tobacco and cotton regions, and the Mississippi Delta.
  • Recruit students with a strong desire to care for medically underserved populations.
  • To foster students with a desire and demonstrated commitment to an enhanced understanding of global healthcare and population health.
  • To foster high-quality care and healthcare for medically underserved populations.

To understand and promote disease prevention, chronic disease management, community health, and public health practices while directly addressing realized and projected anesthesia workforce shortages in the Southeastern sectors of the United States.

To develop anesthesia providers with a compelling sense of responsibility for all aspects of professional life while pursuing and achieving the standard of excellence.

Priorities

  • To teach students to effectively use interpersonal skills to establish and maintain ongoing collegial relationships with faculty, peers, and other professionals
  • To foster sensitive ethical attitudes toward patients and their care that take into account the biological, social, and psychological needs of individual patients, their families, and society at large.

To serve as an advocate of the Anesthesiologist Assistant profession, rural health, mission medicine, and affordable, accessible healthcare for the global community.

Priorities

  • To actively promote Anesthesiologist Assistant practice and the Anesthesia Care Team methodology
  • To promote the distinctive practices and qualities of the Anesthesiologist Assistant profession
  • To develop a diverse workforce of anesthetists who will serve and/or practice in the Southeastern United States.
  • To provide medical outreach to rural communities and the uninsured
  • To promote global health through mission medicine

Programmatic Outcome Objectives

In order to ensure that graduates are able to provide competent patient care, the program frames the Foundation and Integrative Phases of the learning curriculum around engagement in education that fosters growth in the defined competency areas integral to the Anesthesiologist Assistant profession. The MHSA program adheres to the six core competency areas as defined by the American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants (AAAA) and incorporates an additional six secondary competencies that distinguish our program’s mission.

The graduates of the Master of Health Science in Anesthesia program will earn a MHSA degree with the expectation of acquiring the knowledge and skills in the following: 

Primary Professional Competencies

The Anesthesiologist Assistant is expected to demonstrate and apply knowledge of accepted standards of clinical anesthesia, remain current with new developments in the field, and participate in lifelong learning activities. Graduates must have mastery of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and cognate sciences and the application of that knowledge to patient care.

  • Understand etiologies, risk factors, underlying pathologic processes, and epidemiology of medical conditions.
  • Identify appropriate interventions for the treatment of conditions.
  • Interpret appropriate diagnostic or lab studies and differentiate abnormalities in anatomic, physiological, laboratory findings, and other diagnostic data.
  • Use history, physical findings, and diagnostic studies appropriately to formulate a differential diagnosis.
  • Aid in the development of an anesthesia care plan as a member of the Anesthesia Care Team.
  • Define the application of quality improvement methodologies to the perioperative care setting

COGNITIVE LEARNING DOMAIN (Knowledge)

Primary Objective: Graduates must have mastery of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and cognate sciences and the application of that knowledge to patient care.

Entrustable Professional Activities Student Learning Objectives

  1. Pass the National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants (NCCAA) national certification exam
  2. Maintain professional certification and active state licensure
  3. Understand the physiologic ramifications of disease processes, pathophysiology, and patient presentation on the anesthetic management of the operative patient
  4. Maintain core knowledge about biomedical and anesthesia science
  5. Demonstrate investigatory and analytical thinking in clinical situations
  6. Analyze the impact of evidence-based interventions on patient outcomes

Student Learning Objectives

  • Basics of the anesthesia machine and routine monitors
  • Basics of neuromuscular blockade, vasoactive agents, and indications and complications of routinely used anesthetic drugs
  • Major cardiovascular and respiratory effects of routinely used anesthetic drugs
  • Key preoperative evaluation with patient history, physical exam, and laboratory results
  • Understand the practice of universal precautions
  • Obtain ACLS, BLS, and PALS certifications
  • Diagnosis, recognition, and treatment of significant cardiovascular events
  • Basic aspects of cardiovascular, obstetric, pediatric, trauma, and neuro anesthesia
  • Understand the complexities of pain management, critical care, and regional anesthesia
  • Interpret and apply data from invasive monitoring methodologies and technologies
  • Identify pathophysiology and anesthetic concerns associated with basic and complex cases
  • Discriminate between specific syndromes and their anesthetic implications and management
  • Demonstrate indications for and benefits of individual vasoactive and anesthetic drugs
  • Complete an academic Capstone project per program requirements

 

The Anesthesiologist Assistant is expected to continually investigate and evaluate one’s own anesthetic care practices. Graduates must demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate their methods of clinical practice, integrate evidence-based medicine into patient care, show an understanding of research methods, and improve the quality of patient care.

  • Research and critically appraise the most current medical literature for its validity, impact, and applicability in order to apply scientific evidence to patient care and develop life-long learning.
  • Describe and apply evidence-based medical principles and practices. Interpret features and meanings of different types of data, quantitative and qualitative, and different types of variables, including nominal, dichotomous, ordinal, continuous, ratio, and proportion.
  • Analyze experience and perform practice-based improvement activities using a systematic methodology in collaboration with other members of the healthcare delivery team.
  • Facilitate the learning of CAA students and other healthcare professionals.
  • Appropriately address gender, cultural, cognitive, emotional, and other biases or gaps in medical knowledge or any physical limitations.
  • Engage and promote continuing medical education and lifelong learning.

PSYCHOMOTOR LEARNING DOMAIN (Skills)

Primary Objective: Graduates must demonstrate the ability to critically evaluate their methods of clinical practice, integrate evidence-based medicine into patient care, show an understanding of research methods, and improve the quality of patient care.

Entrustable Professional Activities Student Learning Objectives

  1. Provide anesthesia care based on sound principles and research evidence
  2. Apply theory to practice in decision-making and problem-solving
  3. Perform a pre-anesthetic assessment and formulate an anesthesia care plan for patients
  4. Identify and take appropriate action when confronted with anesthetic equipment malfunctions
  5. Interpret and utilize data obtained from noninvasive and invasive monitoring modalities
  6. Calculate, initiate and manage fluid and blood component therapy
  7. Recognize and appropriately respond to anesthetic complications that occur during the perianesthetic period

Student Learning Objectives

  • Meet ASA standards for monitoring and patient care
  • Evaluate and critique their patient care practice, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence to make informed decisions, and improve their patient care
  • Use information technology to manage information, access online information, and support their own education, professional development, and lifelong learning
  • Participate in departmental quality assessment conferences and actively seek QI opportunities in their clinical environment

 

The Anesthesiologist Assistant is expected to express positive values through prioritization of patient’s interest above the self, as evidenced by promoted advocacy of patient welfare, adherence to ethical principles, and sensitivity to diverse patient populations. Graduates must demonstrate the professional and ethical values expected of a CAA, building community and patient trust and embracing the principles of medical jurisprudence related to patient care.

  • Communicate in an effective and responsible manner within the Anesthesia Care Team.
  • Commit to carrying out professional responsibilities.
  • Display respect, empathy, vulnerability, and compassion for patients and society.
  • Be accountable to patients, society, and the profession.
  • Improve and maintain competency and pursuit of lifelong learning and scientific knowledge.
  • Translate the principles of servant leadership to the perioperative setting

AFFECTIVE LEARNING DOMAIN (Behavior)

Primary Objective: Graduates must demonstrate the professional and ethical values expected of a CAA, building community and patient trust and embracing the principles of medical jurisprudence related to patient care.

Entrustable Professional Activities Student Learning Objectives

  1. Behave ethically when interacting with patients, affiliated healthcare associations, and members of the medical community
  2. Participate in continuing education to acquire new knowledge and improve their practice
  3. Participate in activities that improve anesthesia care
  4. Interact on a professional level with integrity
  5. Work with, teach, and mentor student learners
  6. Place the patient’s interest above one’s own
  7. Recognize and take ameliorative actions to address the inherent ability of discrimination and exclusion to induce healthcare disparity
  8. Exude respect, empathy, and compassion for the patient
  9. Maintain patient confidentiality in all actions
  10. Practice without impairment from drug and alcohol abuse, cognitive deficiency, or mental illness
  11. Actively defend sensitivity and responsiveness to the patient’s culture, age, gender, and disabilities
  12. Maintain honesty with patients and medical professionals

Student Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate commitment to undertaking and performing professional responsibilities
  • Maintain and demonstrate servant leadership, respect, compassion, and integrity
  • Demonstrate responsiveness to the needs of patients and society
  • Maintain a professional image at all times
  • Demonstrate the ability to respectfully interact with healthcare professionals, perioperative staff, and patients

 

The Anesthesiologist Assistant is expected to effectuate communicative skills that include verbal, non-verbal, digital, and written exchanges of information in productive, effective, and professional manners. Graduates must demonstrate the effective interpersonal and communication skills required to build trust with patients from diverse populations, taking into consideration religious and cultural beliefs, alternative practices, and socioeconomic status in order to establish effective health care.

  • Communicate and partner with patients, colleagues, and healthcare team members
  • Appropriately adapt communication style to the context of the individual patient interaction.
  • Work effectively with physicians and other healthcare professionals as a member or leader of a healthcare team or other professional group.
  • Demonstrate emotional resilience and stability, adaptability, flexibility, and tolerance of ambiguity and anxiety.
  • Accurately and adequately document and record information regarding the care process for medical, legal, quality, and financial purposes.
  • Distinguish amongst various modalities of communication technologies and appropriately select such based on clinical context.

AFFECTIVE LEARNING DOMAIN (Behavior)

Primary Objective: Graduates must demonstrate the effective interpersonal and communication skills required to build trust with patients from diverse populations, taking into consideration religious and cultural beliefs, alternative practices, and socioeconomic status in order to establish an effective health care plan.

Entrustable Professional Activities Student Learning Objectives

  1. Effectively communicate with all individuals influencing patient care
  2. Interact competently with a diverse population
  3. Utilize appropriate verbal, nonverbal, and written communications in the delivery of care
  4. Communicate effectively through case records, written reports, and professional papers
  5. Work with, mentor, and teach student learners
  6. Utilize advanced communication and leadership skills to lead quality improvement and patient safety initiatives

Student Learning Objectives

  • Communicate effectively with patients, patient families, surgeons, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to provide patient-focused care
  • Present concise, organized case presentation, including management concerns, to colleagues, supervising physicians, team members, and during transfers of care
  • Appropriately and definitively recognize when to engage assistance during the perioperative care of a patient
  • Formulate appropriate anesthetic management for simple and medically-complex procedures considering patient safety, quality, cost of care, and patient satisfaction
  • Cogently discuss management of patients with anesthesiology personnel and surgeons
  • Deliberate and defend choice(s) of monitoring technique, anesthetic technique, and drug selection
  • Work with and teach CAA students
  • Organize and present lectures to faculty, colleagues, and staff at teaching conferences
  • Organize information and express oneself clearly
  • Demonstrate sound judgment in decision-making and application
  • Synthesize and apply basic scientific principles to clinical problems
  • Demonstrate adaptability to rapidly changing clinical situations

 

The Anesthesiologist Assistant is expected to provide impactful patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of public health. Graduates must demonstrate the ability to effectively treat patients, providing anesthesia care that incorporates CAA principles and practices, empathy, awareness of behavioral issues, preventative medicine, and population health.

  • Perform a competent physical, neurologic, and structural examination, and when indicated, incorporate the analysis of laboratory and radiology results and diagnostic testing to prepare patients for an operative procedure and develop an anesthesia care plan.
  • Work as an effective member of the healthcare team, embracing the value of and collaborating with all professionals involved in the care of the patient.
  • Reflect on personal strengths and deficiencies, identify learning needs, and engage in learning for improvement.
  • Incorporate best practices in providing and documenting quality medical care, utilizing effective measures to prevent medical error, and promoting optimal patient outcomes.
  • Counsel and educate patients and their families.
  • Competently perform pertinent medical and invasive procedures considered essential for the practice of anesthesiology.

PSYCHOMOTOR LEARNING DOMAIN (Skills)

Primary Objective: Graduates must demonstrate the ability to effectively treat patients, providing anesthesia care that incorporates CAA principles and practices, empathy, awareness of behavioral issues, preventative medicine, and population health.

Entrustable Professional Activities Student Learning Objectives

  1. Provide care throughout the perianesthetic continuum
  2. Use a variety of current anesthesia techniques, agents, adjunctive drugs, and equipment while providing anesthesia care
  3. Administer general anesthesia to patients of all ages and physical conditions for a variety of surgical and medical procedures
  4. Provide anesthesia services to all patients, including trauma and emergency cases
  5. Administer and manage a variety of regional anesthetics
  6. Function as a resource person for airway and ventilatory management of patients
  7. Possess current advanced cardiac life support recognition
  8. Possess current pediatric advanced life support recognition
  9. Deliver culturally competent perianesthetic care throughout the anesthesia experience
  10. Protect patients from iatrogenic complications

Student Learning Objectives

  • Manage patients for uncomplicated and medically-complex cases under the supervision of a physician anesthesiologist
  • Reliably and competently perform postoperative visits and demonstrate the proper assessment and management of anesthetic complications
  • Estimate and administration of fluid requirements
  • Identify and treat intraoperative complications and competently understand when to engage assistance
  • Identify indications/contraindications and key physical landmarks for SAB, epidural placement, and regional nerve blocks, including the use of ultrasound guidance
  • Identify indications/contraindications and key physical landmarks for placement of invasive intravascular cannulation for monitoring purposes
  • Setup and check equipment appropriate for surgical procedures and patient complexity
  • Manage airway in routine and complicated patient cases and situations
  • Perform regional anesthesia placement and invasive central monitoring cannulation
  • Manage medical diseases in surgical patients
  • Manage acute postoperative pain

 

The Anesthesiologist Assistant is expected to possess an awareness of, and responsiveness to, the larger context of healthcare. Graduates must demonstrate an understanding of healthcare delivery systems, provide effective and qualitative patient care within the system, and practice cost-effective anesthesia.

  • Work effectively in various health care delivery settings and systems, incorporating consideration of cost awareness and risk/benefit analysis inpatient care, advocating for quality patient care and optimal patient care systems, and identifying systems errors, and implementing potential systems solutions.
  • Recognize health in the context of the global community, with an understanding of the impact of
    each country’s political, cultural, and historical healthcare delivery models on the health of a nation.
  • Be knowledgeable of public health systems, environmental factors that affect patient health, and the importance of promoting community health
  • Advocate for quality patient care, and assist patients in dealing with system complexities
  • Use technology to support patient care decisions and patient education.
  • Accept responsibility for promoting a safe environment for patient care and recognizing and correcting systems-based factors that negatively impact patient care.

COGNITIVE LEARNING DOMAIN (Knowledge)

Primary Objective: Graduates must demonstrate an understanding of healthcare delivery systems, provide effective and qualitative patient care within the system, and practice cost-effective anesthesia.

Entrustable Professional Activities Student Learning Objectives

  1. Be vigilant in the delivery of patient care
  2. Protect patients from iatrogenic complications
  3. Participate in the positioning of patients to prevent injury
  4. Conduct a comprehensive and appropriate equipment check
  5. Utilize standard precautions and appropriate infection control measures
  6. Participate in root cause analyses and error mitigation initiatives
  7. Drive quality improvement projects
  8. Participate in department quality assessment conferences
  9. Evaluate health promotion and disease prevention efforts and outcomes to achieve quality healthcare
  10. Analyze the influence of public policy decisions on health promotion, disease prevention and health restoration services provided to diverse populations” “* Learn and understand how types of medical practice and delivery systems differ from one another, including resource allocation and cost control

Student Learning Objectives

  • Apply systems-based data in resource allocation for patient assessment and management
  • Practice cost-effective healthcare and resource allocation without compromise of patient care
  • Participate in department quality assessment conferences
  • Understand how their patient care and other practices affect other healthcare professionals, the healthcare delivery system, and society at large
  • Achieve certification as a professional in healthcare quality (CPHQ)
  • Complete an academic Capstone project in quality improvement with a faculty mentor
  • Present a case discussion focusing on quality improvement and/or patient safety

 

Secondary Professional Competencies

The graduate is expected to facilitate coordination of preventive health care across providers, collaborate within a patient-centered team, and demonstrate preventive health principles by modeling a healthy lifestyle.

The graduate is expected to demonstrate an understanding of the scope of culture and the elements that form and define it. Understand the public health implications of cultural competence in health care. Demonstrate familiarity with basic religious and cultural beliefs that affect patients’ understanding of the etiology of their illness and/or the efficacy of their treatment.

Graduates are expected to utilize current technologies (e.g. websites, online search engines, app-based programs, information services, and journals) to locate health science literature. Apply critical concepts from statistics, epidemiology, and research design to evaluate health science literature.

Graduates are expected to apply understanding of the interaction of public health and health care systems in the practice of anesthesia as it affects health promotion and disease prevention. Recognize differences among public health systems, epidemiological systems, and individual systems in the utilization of resources and in the practice of perioperative medicine.

Graduates are expected to identify and treat individual patients with varying cultural beliefs regarding health, disease, and patient care. Compare and contrast differing non-U.S. health care systems.

Graduates are expected to respect the dignity and privacy of patients while maintaining confidentiality in the delivery of team-based care. Act with honesty and integrity in relationships with patients, families, and other team members. Engage other health professionals (appropriate to the specific care situation) in shared patient centered problem solving for effective care.

Ready To Apply?

Do I only apply once?

  • No. Students must apply each academic year for the fall semester and submit the necessary documents.

Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

  • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

  • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

How long is a semester?

  • Our semesters are divided into two 8-week terms.

Is there an orientation?

  • Yes. Students can attend an orientation session that explains how to access courses, how to register for classes, and answers other questions.

Where can I find a course description?

Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

  • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

  • Classes are offered online, so a student can log-on and study at their convenience and their own pace. Students have assignments due each week; you can complete your assignments at any point in time before the deadline.

Does an Early College student need to come to campus for anything?

  • No. However, we would love to have you visit our campus if you are interested in continuing with traditional on-campus study. Students who complete their associate's degree have the option to walk at our commencement ceremony.

Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

Can I speak to someone if I have more questions?

  • Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions by email or you can call them at 276.326.4231

 

Meet our core Counseling faculty

Dr. Challen Mabry

Assistant Professor of Counseling

Dr. Kristen Moran

Associate Professor of Counseling

Brandy Smith

Assistant Professor of Education & Counseling,
Director of the Master of Arts in Counseling Program,
Title IX Confidential Counselor