Philosophy and Mission


Dr.'s Biddle and Fallacaro participate in a research discussion


The mission of the Department of Nurse Anesthesia is to provide learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to work as part of an interprofessional team to serve the public through the delivery of safe, cost efficient, quality anesthesia services; and to develop leaders and scholars who will advance the specialty of nurse anesthesia through research, scholarship, and public service. The Department achieves this mission by establishing an environment that promotes excellence, values diversity, stimulates creativity, and recognizes achievement.


Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is an urban, public research institution enrolling more than 31,000 undergraduate, graduate, and health professional students at its two Richmond campuses and at distance sites throughout the Commonwealth. The University is chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia to serve the people of the Commonwealth and others around the nation.


The University provides a fertile and stimulating environment for learning, teaching, research, creative expression, and public service. Essential to the life of the University is a faculty actively engaged in scholarship, clinical practice, and creative exploration. The University is dedicated to educating full- and part-time students of all ages and diverse backgrounds in an atmosphere of free inquiry and scholarship so they may realize their full potential as informed productive citizens with a lifelong commitment to learning and service. In addition to the VCU Medical Center, the University is comprised of the College of Humanities and Sciences (which includes the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture and the School of World Studies,), the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, and the Schools of Allied Health Professions (SAHP), the Arts, Business, Dentistry, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Social Work. These academic units offer 62 baccalaureate, 72 master’s, 41 doctoral, and 47 post-baccalaureate and post-master’s certificate programs as well as the first professional degrees in dentistry, pharmacy, and medicine.


The philosophy of the Department of Nurse Anesthesia reflects the beliefs of the faculty and provides the foundation for its curricula. The Department's philosophy is synergistic with the mission and goals of VCU and the School of Allied Health Professions.


The department is a social agency dedicated to the education and development of health care professionals in the specialty of nurse anesthesia. Consequently, the faculty recognizes and accepts the responsibility entrusted to it for the learning experiences for its graduate students.
The philosophical orientation of the faculty is that learning is a developmental process through which cognitive, affective and psychomotor behaviors are developed and modified. This process includes the acquisition of information, the transfer and application of knowledge, the evaluation of new skills, and the development of a professional attitude and bearing.
The faculty further subscribes to the belief that the learning process is both positive and rewarding for the student; that it is a transaction between the student and teacher executed through formal and informal processes with an objective to prepare knowledgeable and skillful graduates. Hence, learning is a lifelong process that results in a change in thinking, valuing and behaving. The educational process includes teacher-learner interaction in setting goals, selecting and assessing learning experiences, determining instructional methods, and evaluating the learner’s progress.
Learning experiences are designed to facilitate continuity in attainment of knowledge, skills and attitudes consistent with educational objectives, the individual needs of students and safe patient care. Students are respected as unique individuals possessing dignity, worth and the right to equity in educational opportunities. Faculty and students share the responsibility for creating an educational climate that reflects democratic values, fosters intellectual inquiry and creativity, and encourages the maximum development of each individual’s potential.
The American health care system is becoming progressively complex. Technological advances and changing economic patterns foster competition for scarce resources while the patient population is becoming quite diverse. As a result, it is increasingly essential for the CRNA to provide care in a manner that collaborates with and values the contribution of other health professionals. As advanced practice nurses working in an ever-changing health care system, CRNAs are well positioned for roles in research, teaching, policy-making, resource management, and as integral members of interprofessional teams.
Graduate education in nurse anesthesia builds upon the education and experiences of the professional registered nurse holding an appropriate baccalaureate degree. It is designed to prepare graduates, through a frame of academic excellence, to become proficient advanced practice providers and leaders in the specialty, and make scholarly contributions to the health care system and community.


VCU Faculty and Graduate Students joining the Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists on Capital Hill for Anesthesia Reimbursement Reform