Post-Master's DNAP

The Department of Nurse Anesthesia at VCU offers the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) program option for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) holding a master's degree. This practice doctoral program focuses specifically on issues related to nurse anesthesia practice and builds upon applicants' previous education and experiences as CRNAs. The DNAP program prepares CRNAs to assume leadership positions in education, management, and clinical practice by offering a curriculum concentrating on patient safety and human factors, quality assessment and improvement, health care systems and organizations, leadership, evidence-based for practice and adult education. Program faculty utilize a combination of on- and off-campus content delivery methods designed with the working CRNA in mind. On-campus sessions, scheduled at the beginning and end of each semester, employ a traditional mix of educational technologies (e.g., lectures, seminars, discussion, and assigned readings). During the off-campus component, doctoral students pursue meet course requirements through a variety of innovative technologies (e.g., computer conferencing, discussion boards, and pod-casting). Full-time students complete the program in three consecutive semesters (one year). Part-time students complete the program between 2-3 years. The University mandates all doctoral degrees be completed in 8 years or less.

The post-master's DNAP program culminates in the successful completion of the capstone project, which is intended to demonstrate integration and synthesis of concepts learned throughout the program and practice experience. With the guidance of a two-person faculty advisory committee, doctoral students develop a project on a topic of interest relevant to nurse anesthesia practice, education, or leadership. The focus of the capstone is the use of best evidence to improve practice and patient outcomes.  The capstone process is directed toward the acquisition of skills related to scholarship and includes articulation of a practice issue, a well-focused and comprehensive literature review, a description of the methodology designed to address the practice issue, and a discussion that synthesizes the outcomes of the project activities and the practice problem.  Students disseminate their work and develop evaluation strategies to gather feedback on the project.

DNAP Program Booklet

The post-master's DNAP program option has been approved by the State Commission on Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA).

For more information, please contact the Director of Doctoral Education, Suzanne Wright, PhD, CRNA at 804-828-9808 or by e-mail at

"I am fortunate and honored to be a graduate of VCU's DNAP program. I found the curriculum to be challenging but constructed in a way that made goals attainable for those who were employed or learning via distance education. The faculty, many of which are renowned leaders in the field of nurse anesthesia, were creative, energetic and accessible. It was clear that they were highly invested in the students' success. It was a privilege to be mentored by them. After graduation from this phenomenal program, I approach my personal anesthetic practices with more clarity and precision and I have a broader perspective and keener understanding of the external forces which impact medical care in general. I highly recommend VCU's DNAP program without reservation."
— Marianne S. Cosgrove, CRNA, DNAP, APRN
Program Director
Yale-New Haven Hospital
School of Nurse Anesthesia
New Haven, CT
"VCU's DNAP curriculum best matched my interest in advancing safe patient care and developing professional leadership skills. The course work included multiple patient safety initiatives including an evaluation of OR Systems to reduce medical error. An exploration of healthcare ethics and policy issues present in today's changing healthcare environment was enlightening. AANA Board members are faced with a plethora of issues involving CRNA practice and policy. Each course prepared me for my AANA leadership roles as Region Director and Vice President. Finally, I appreciated the interaction of face-to-face classroom time and on-line learning. The Richmond classroom instruction and home-based, self-directed on-line program requirements provided positive input from faculty and support of fellow classmates while maintaining an active career. Would I elect to enroll in the program again? You bet!"
— Janice J. Izlar, CRNA, DNAP
AANA President

DNAP graduation 2014