Nurse Anesthesia

Going further, doing more

The Mayo Clinic Health System- Franciscan Healthcare School of Anesthesia, the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse (UWL) Biology Department, and Viterbo University School of Nursing have partnered to develop a program to meet the specific needs of the nurse anesthetist student during their doctoral education.

The School of Anesthesia (SOA) operates within the Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare complex in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  Students are taught in a didactic and clinical setting during the course, which requires 36 months of consecutive study. After successful completion of the program students will have earned:

  • A Master’s of Science in Biology from UWL (33 credits)
  • Certificate of Completion from the School of Anesthesia (26 credits)
  • A Doctor of Nursing Practice from Viterbo University (22 credits)

The Doctor of Nursing Practice and Certificate of Completion are required to sit for the national board certification exam to be licensed as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).

The School of Anesthesia is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

COA contact information:
Mail:  222 South Prospect Avenue, Park Ridge, IL
Telephone:  847.692.0750

COA Standards and guidelines for educational programs may be found on their website.  The program’s next scheduled accreditation onsite visit by the Council on Accreditation will be in the Fall of 2025.

Program statistics

Matriculation rates, success rates for first-time takers on the Certification Exam and employment rates are listed below and are published on the UWL, School of Anesthesia, and Viterbo University websites. These program statistics are reflective of the Masters of Science in Biology Nurse Anesthesia Concentration program.

Matriculation year 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Number of Graduates 10 10 10 10 9
Matriculation rate (%) 100 100 100 100 100
Certification pass rate (%)
first time takers
100 90 100 80 89
Employment rate (%)
within 6 months of graduation
100 100 100 100 100


For more program information, please contact:

Jessica Peterson, PhD, CRNA
School of Anesthesia Program Director
Mayo Clinic Health System Franciscan Healthcare

Admission Requirements

Admission Prerequisites

Student applying for admission to the School of Anesthesia must meet the following requirements without regard to gender, age, race, creed, color, or national origin:

  1. Must be currently licensed as a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
  2. Be eligible for a Registered Nurse (RN) license by the Wisconsin Department of Nursing.
  3. Have 18 months (24 months preferred) of nursing experience in critical or intensive care setting (ICU, CCU, SICU, PICU, NICU).
  4. Be a graduate from an accredited school of nursing and have a minimum of 2 credits of microbiology, 4 credits of anatomy/physiology, and 4 credits of chemistry/physics, and 2 credits of statistics.
  5. Have an undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.00 on a 4.0 scale.

Admission Procedure

  1. Submit a completed application for admission to Franciscan Healthcare School of Anesthesia .
  2. Submit a completed application for admission to the graduate program of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Biology Department including a $56 non-refundable processing fee. Apply electronically. Acceptance to UWL’s program does not guarantee acceptance into the School of Anesthesia.
  3. Submit official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores to UW-La Crosse Department of Biology (general exam only, not subject exam).
  4. Submit unofficial GRE scores to the Franciscan Healthcare School of Anesthesia.
  5. Submit official transcripts of educational experiences to UW-La Crosse and Franciscan Healthcare School of Anesthesia. 
  6. Submit three letters of reference to the Franciscan Healthcare School of Anesthesia.  One must be from a current supervisor.  If you cannot obtain a letter of reference from your current supervisor please contact the Program Director. The others may be from colleagues, physicians, or a professor.  The “Confidential Report on Applicant” form may be used. 
  7. Submit a copy of your current RN license to the Franciscan Healthcare School of Anesthesia.
  8. Submit a typed, double-spaced essay less than two pages in length to the Franciscan Healthcare School of Anesthesia.  The essay will need to include your:
    1. Purpose of pursuing the DNP-CRNA track program
    2. Areas of interest/professional plans as a CRNA
    3. Goals after you complete the DNP-CRNA track program
    4. Personal/professional qualities that will contribute to you success in our program
    5. Challenges and rewards that you anticipate in our program
    6. Rational for selecting our program

Application for the program are accepted from July 1st thru September 1st. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.  Applicants will be screened and eligible candidates will be invited to appear for a personal interview before the Franciscan Healthcare School of Anesthesia admissions committee in late October or early November.  After acceptance into the SOA, students will complete the online application for Viterbo University, Doctorate in Nursing Practice CRNA-Track program.

Curriculum for Certificate of completion from the School of Anesthesia

     Contact Hours Semester Credits
Physical Assessment     48  3
Professional Aspects of Nurse Anesthesia 48 3
Anesthesia Basic and Advanced Concepts   128 8
Pharmacology 96 6

Clinical Practicum-Experience in administering
anesthetics in the clinical area, under direct
supervision of an MDA-CRNA.
Approximately 900 surgical/ obstetrical
procedures are experienced, students are
also provided instruction in PACU and pain
management, Basic Life Support(5 hrs),
Pediatric Advanced Life Support (16 hrs),
and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (8 hrs)
Assignment in the clinical arena coincides
with classroom instruction.

2000 6*
Clinical Conferences     64     --
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------ --------------------------
 Total 2384     26*


*The School of Anesthesia is in the process of increasing clinical practicum credits from 6 credits for 2000 clinical hours to approximately 26 credits for 2000 clinical hours.


Curriculum for Master of Science in Biology Degree from UWL

    Contact Hours    Semester Credits
Anatomy  96 6
Chemistry     48 3
Electrocardiography 48   3
Endocrinology 48  3
Physiology 128 8
Pathophysiology   96 6
Communication in the Biophysical Sciences  64 4
Oral Board Examination  2 --
---------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------- ----------------------------
Total 530 33


Curriculum for Doctorate in Nursing Practice Degree from Viterbo University

  Contact Hours Semester Credits
Transfer in MS Biology Degree 530  33
Transfer in School of Anesthesia   352 22
Ethics 48  3
Epidemiology and Population Health 48 3
Organizational Leadership and Healthcare Policy 48 3
Outcome Management and Quality Improvement  48 3
DNP Essentials Synthesis Seminar  64 4
Doctoral Clinical Practicum 32 2
Doctorate in Nursing Practice Project 64 4
----------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------- ---------------------------
Total 1234



Clinical Affiliations

Additional clinical experiences in general surgery and specialized procedures (open-heart) is obtained at Gundersen Health System during the course of the program.  Gundersen Health System is within walking distance of Mayo Clinic Health System-Franciscan Healthcare.  Clinical rotations are also available at Winona Health in Winona, Minnesota and Vernon Memorial Hospital (CRNA only practice) in Viroqua, Wisconsin.  These sites provide students with regional experience in a diverse practice style.  Both sites are approximately 35 miles from La Crosse.  The final clinical site is a CRNA only practice site in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin at Sauk Prairie Hospital.  This clinical rotation offers experiences in regional and postoperative pain management services.  Transportation and lodging are the responsibility of the student.  All clinical rotations are approximately four weeks in length and offered to third year students.


The School of Anesthesia as a vital part of Mayo Clinic Health System- La Crosse and subscribes to the philosophy of that organization.  We fervently promote Christian concepts that emphasize the dignity of all human persons, their origin, purpose and destiny.  Society is a complex and evolving entity within which the common good and the changing needs of groups and individuals must be fulfilled.  As a member of society, every person has a basic right to good health care and easy access to health care service.   We believe that certified nurse anesthetists form an integral part of the total health care system by virtue of advanced scientific knowledge and competency in technical skills.  We believe that anesthesia care is an individualized therapeutic relationship that recognizes the individual dignity of the patient and his right to life.  We accept that the nurse anesthetist assumes a professional obligation to preserve these concepts in his/her relationship with the patient.

We believe that upon completion, the student is prepared to be not only a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, but with graduate education, a potential educator and researcher in the sense that clinical investigation and problem solving are an integral part of nurse anesthesia.   As a result, the student will have developed insight and direction for resourceful and constructive professional practice, will regard life-long education as a professional obligation, will use sources of knowledge effectively and fulfill professional, ethical, and societal obligations.

Program Objectives

After completing the Master Science Biology, School of Anesthesia, and Doctorate in Nursing Practice coursework and fulfillment of the terminal objectives and other obligations of the program, students in the program will have achieved eligibility to write the qualifying examination of the National Board Certification of Nurse Anesthetists.  Through the course curriculum and clinical preparation, students will meet the following program objectives:

  1. Perform a pre-anesthetic interview, assessment, and generate a plan of care demonstrating advanced levels of critical thinking and judgment.
  2. Evaluate patient history, physical, and appropriate laboratory and radiologic data.
  3. Design an anesthesia plan of care and integrate the physiological, psychological, and emotional needs of patients across the life span, respecting diversity, preserving safety, and ensuring accountability.
  4. Adapt local monitored care, regional and general anesthesia for all ages and all categories of patients, utilizing a broad variety of techniques and agents.
  5. Adhere to an evidence-based practice anesthesia model of care.
  6. Integrate a variety of monitoring modalities during patient care and evaluate impact on clinical decision-making.
  7. Anticipate complications during anesthesia care and adapt interventions within organizational and professional standards of anesthesia care.
  8. Appraise standards of care that can protect patients from iatrogenic complications.
  9. Lead effective teams to resuscitate patients during emergency situations.
  10. Perform arterial punctures, interpret and take appropriate actions with reference to screening pulmonary function and blood/ gas tests.
  11. Supervise and/ or provide ventilator care consultations.
  12. Mentor members of the healthcare team and participate in community healthcare education.
  13. Analyze interventions and outcomes to advance health care policy initiatives to improve quality patient care.
  14. Appraise and integrate research in anesthesia practice to improve healthcare.
  15. Function within the legal requirements as a licensed professional and commit to the standards of professional nurse anesthesia practice.
  16. Influence healthcare initiatives at the state and national level.
  17. Assess professional strengths and limitations:
    1. Accept constructive criticism,
    2. Utilize effective communication skills to exchange information and collaborate with other members of the healthcare team,
    3. Promote and maintain effective professional relationships,
    4. Maintain a productive and positive work ethic,
    5. Exhibit understanding, compassion, and empathy,
    6. Respect the rights of others,
    7. Adapt to work effectively in emergency situations.


The 36-month program combines classroom experiences at UW- La Crosse, Viterbo University, and the School of Anesthesia with clinical experiences.

Doctorate in Nursing Practice CRNA Track Curriculum

First Year

Summer session Credits
BIO 509/510- Anatomy (UWL) 6
ESS 782- Echocardiography   (UWL) 3
SOA 740- Physical Assessment for Anesthetists (SOA)* 3
SOA 741- Professional Aspects I (SOA)* 1
Semester 1 - Fall  
BIO 718- Advanced Human Physiology I (UWL)      4
CHEM 530- Chemistry (UWL) 3
SOA 742- Professional Aspects II (SOA)* 1
SOA 744- Anesthesia Basic Concepts (SOA)* 4
SOA 746- Pharmacology I (SOA)*     3
NURS 710- Ethical and Theoretical Thinking (Viterbo) 3
Semester 2 - Spring  
BIO 719- Advanced Human Physiology II (UWL) 4
SOA 743- Professional Aspects III (SOA)*   1
SOA 745- Anesthesia Advanced Concepts (SOA)* 4
SOA 747- Pharmacology (SOA)* 3
NURS 700- Epidemiology & Population Health (Viterbo) 3

Second Year

Summer Semester  Credits
SOA 800- Clinical Practicum I (SOA) 1**
NURS 730- Organizational Leadership & Health Policy 3
Semester 1 - Fall  
BIO 715- Pathophysiology I (UWL)  3
SOA 809- Clinical Practicum II (SOA)* 1**
NURS 800– DNP Essentials Synthesis Seminar I (Viterbo) 2
Semester 2 - Spring  
BIO 524- Endocrinology (UWL) 3
BIO 701- Communication in Biological Sciences (UWL) 4
BIO 717- Pathophysiology II (UWL)             3
SOA 810- Clinical Practicum III (SOA)* 1**
NURS 720- Outcome Management & QI      (Viterbo) 3
NURS 801- DNP Essentials Synthesis Seminar II (Viterbo) 2
Oral Boards Examination S/N
Graduation (UWL-Masters Science Biology- Nurse Anesthesia Concentration)  

Third Year

Summer Session Credits
SOA 811- Clinical Practicum IV (SOA) 1**
Semester 1 - Fall  
SOA 812- Clinical Practicum V (SOA) 1**
NURS 810- DNP Clinical Practicum (Viterbo) 1
NURS 825- DNP Project/ Seminar (Viterbo) 2
Semester 2 - Spring  
SOA 813- Clinical Practicum VI (SOA) 1**
NURS 810- DNP Clinical Practicum II  (Viterbo) 1
NURS 825- DNP Project/ Seminar II (Viterbo) 2

Graduation (SOA- Certificate in Nurse Anesthesia)


Graduation (Viterbo- DNP)


UWL= University of Wisconsin La Crosse
SOA= Mayo Clinic Health System, Franciscan Healthcare School of Anesthesia

Credits by Institution







Total Credits


* SOA coursework that will transfer into Viterbo University, 22 credits from the SOA will transfer into Viterbo University to award the DNP degree.  Program coursework and credits are subject to change.

** The School of Anesthesia is in the process of increasing clinical practicum credits from 1 to 4-5 per semester to align with the current contact hours that students obtain in clinical practicum.

Student Time Commitment to the Program

This program provides for a flexible integrated time commitment and management.  The program commitments include:

  • Didactic class and home study- class preparation and study requires approximately two hours of study for each one hour of class.
  • Clinical experiences. On average clinical starts at 0630 am and may have up clinical before didactic coursework.  Students rotate in-house call experiences as part of their clinical practicum and call includes occasional overnight weekdays, weekends, and holidays.  Clinical also requires pre-operative chart reviews, preoperative evaluation (interviews/ physical exam), and postoperative evaluation. 

All students will be allowed 20 days of student time off (STO) each year beginning in the second year.  STO applies to time off from the clinical- classes remain mandatory.  STO is managed by the student and used at his/ her discretion with approval of program administrators and clinical coordinators.  The STO program combines the benefits traditional identified as vacation, floating holiday, sick, conference, and funeral time.  STO allows the student to manage his/ her time consistent with lifestyle needs. There are limits to the number of students that can be off from clinical.  Students are provided a copy of the clinical scheduling guidelines by the program administrators.

Student Employment

Because of the heavy study demands of the program, students are limited to accepting outside employment to only those weekends when they are not committed to the program.  Additionally, students may not work a 2300-0700 shift when they must report to the program at 0630.  No student may be employed as a CRNA by title or function while in student status.

Tuition, Fees, and Costs


DNP CRNA Track Estimated Program Costs**


Wisconsin Resident




Year 1

Year 2

Year 3


Year 1

Year 2

Year 3






































Additional Estimated Students Costs  
SEE Exam 500
Clinical Rotation Housing 900
Textbooks 600
NBCRNA Board Preparation Material 400
NBCRNA Certification Examination 995
American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) membership Fee 200
Conference attendance 800
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------
Total 4395

** SOA tuition subject to change based upon clinical credit approval.
**Each institution sets its own tuition and fees schedule, these estimates are subject to institutional change/ annual increases.

Tuition and fees are paid by the student on a term-by-term basis.  Please visit the UWL and Viterbo University website for more information about their tuition and fees.  


The cost of required textbooks is approximately $600.  Each course establishes the textbooks that are required and the student will obtain required textbooks for each course.  The student will be mailed a list of the required School of Anesthesia textbooks with their orientation material after they are accepted into the program.  Students have access to the library and computers at each institution. 

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Membership

Upon entering the school, all students are jointly registered with the Council on Accreditation for Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs and the National Board for Certification and Re-certification of Nurse Anesthetists. The fee is $200 for the duration of the program and paid by the student.

Refund Policy

Each organization has its own refund policy.  The School of Anesthesia abides by the refund policy at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse during year 1 and 2 of the program and Viterbo University in year 3 of the program.  Please visit UWL and Viterbo University’s website for information about tuition and refunds.

Financial Aid, Loans, Grants, Scholarships

Applications for Financial Aid can be obtained from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, Financial Aid Office for the first two years in the program and from Viterbo University for year three of the program.  Currently, the Year 2 summer session has 4 credits which is not financial aid eligible.  Please plan to cover the cost of tuition with savings, financial aid from the previous semester(s), or private loans.  No stipend is paid for any part of the program.  It is the student’s responsibility to apply for scholarships which are available at the UWL, Viterbo University, School of Anesthesia, and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.