The Department's curriculum is focused entirely on the practice of nurse anesthesia. The curriculum includes courses in Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia I-6, Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology, Physiology, Pathophysiology, Professional Aspects of Nurse Anesthesia Practice, Research/Thesis, and Clinical Practicums. The Department consistently strives to disseminate knowledge using the most advanced teaching technologies including the Blackboard Web based platform, experiential learning in simulation, and computer imagery. The initial component ("Didactic Phase") consists of a three semester scholarly curriculum conducted by the faculty of the VCU/VCUHS Departments' of Chemistry, Nurse Anesthesia, Pharmacology, and Physiology. Formal courses in the physical and biological sciences provide advanced knowledge of the scientific foundations for the clinical practice of anesthesia Additional courses provide students with the academic and professional education fundamentals, including research methodology, necessary for professional practice. Six professional courses, (Principles and Practice of Nurse Anesthesia I-6) include formal classroom presentations, simulator work and practical lab demonstrations and exercises. Content of classes is sequentially ordered and arranged from simple to complex to provide increased skill and knowledge and continuity of experience. These courses emphasize the integration of theory and clinical exercises.
The second component ("Clinical Practicum") is a six-semester experiential practical curriculum stressing the application of science and research applicable to clinical anesthesia practice while engaging in direct patient care. Throughout the Clinical Practicum, students are afforded the opportunity to plan for and administer all types of currently accepted general and regional anesthesia techniques to a variety of patients ranging in medical and surgical acuity. Students are assigned to various anesthetizing locations within the VCU Health System or other select affiliated hospitals. At all times while in the clinical environment, students are mentored by clinical instructors.