Doctor of Nursing Practice in Anesthesia

  • What is the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree?
  • DNAP Will Soon Replace the MSNA
  • List of CRNA Schools that offer a DNAP or DNP
  • Voice Your Opinion

What is the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree?

There are two different kinds of terminal nursing degrees: research-oriented degrees and practice-oriented degrees.

Research-oriented degrees include the Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc, DNS or DSN) and the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

The practice-oriented degree, also called the clinical doctorate, is the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP or DrNP).

The Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia is referred to as the DNAP.

The DNP degree is meant to prepare registered nurses to become advanced practice nurses. The curriculum includes leadership training, application of clinical research and advanced practice training.

The DNP degree will soon be required of all advanced practice nurses, including nurse practitioners (NP), certified nurse midwives (CNM), clinical nurse specialists (CNS) and nurse anesthetists (CRNA).

DNAP Will Soon Replace the MSNA

In 2015, the AANA is requiring that all CRNA programs begin changing their curriculum from a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia degree to a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice. Programs will need to have made this change by 2025.

In the meantime, all nurse anesthetists who obtain a CRNA masters degree before 2025 will be “grandfathered” in and will not be required to go back to school to get a DNP.

So if you're not required to get an advanced practice nursing degree, should you? Find 4 compelling reasons to get your DNP today. You'll also learn the difference between the DNP and the DNAP, as well as components of the program (what you'll be learning).

List of CRNA Schools that offer an entry DNAP

Many schools have transitioned their programs from MSN/MSNA to DNP/DNAP.  You will find two lists identifying both entry level and completion degrees.  If you have your BSN and are interested in obtaining your Doctor of Nursing right away, please look under the Entry Level List.  If you already have your CRNA and would like to continue your education, please refer to the Completion List. 

This list will continue to grow until 2025 but these are the schools that already have a DNP/DNAP program or are currently waiting for COA approval.

Entry Level Programs


University of Arizona School of Nursing


University of Southern California: DNP - to begin late 2017 upon COA approval


Fairfield University & Bridgeport Hospital

Quinnipiac University


Florida International University

University of Miami

University of North Florida


Augusta University (projected to start in January 2018)


NorthShore University & DePaul University

Millikin University & Decatur Memorial Hospital

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine

Rush University

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville


University of Iowa


University of Kansas Medical Center


Murray State University & Baptist Health


Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Our Lady of the Lake College


Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences/ Military Nurse Anesthesia Program

University of Maryland


Mayo Clinic College of Medicine

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities


University of Southern Mississippi


Missouri State School of Anesthesia

Truman Medical Centers School of Nurse Anesthesia


Bryan College of Health Science

New Jersey

Rutgers School of Nursing (formerly UMDNJ

New York

State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo

North Carolina

Duke University

Raleigh School of Nurse Anesthesia - University of North Carolina at Greensboro


University of Cincinnati


Thomas Jefferson University

University of Pittsburgh


Union University

University of Tennessee Health Science Center


Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing

Baylor College of Medicine

Texas Christian University

University of Texas at Houston Health Science Center


Old Dominion University

Virginia Commonwealth University: MSNA-DNAP combined degree.  


Gonzaga University & Sacred Heart Medical Center

West Virginia

Charleston Area Medical Center School of Nurse Anesthesia

Completion Program List


Quinnipiac University


Barry University

Wolford College


Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine


Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center


Mayo Clinic College of Medicine


Missouri State School of Anesthesia


Excela Health School of Anesthesia & Saint Vincent College

University of Pittsburgh


Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia

Union University


Texas Wesleyan University

Baylor College of Medicine


Virginia Commonwealth University

Return to Doctor of Nursing Practice

Voice Your Opinion

How do you feel about this change to the DNP?

How does this change to the DNP affect your educational plans?

Do you think it's necessary that nurse anesthetists have a doctorate degree?

Some people think it's unfair for a nurse (who spends a few extra years beyond the bachelor's level) to be given almost the same title as a medical doctor who devotes an entire decade to study. They feel it will confuse patients. Do you agree?

What Other People Think

Click below to see the opinions from other visitors to this page...

currently a student for this 
I am currently a student with intent to pursue nurse anesthetist. I have no prior degrees so I had to start from the beginning. My projected completion …

By 2020 Nurse Anesthetists will be hired in place of Anesthesiologists and will receive higher pay than current pay. Nurse Anesthetists will be working …

I absolutely disagree!!! 
Let us simply do the math!! MD (Medical Doctor) DNAP (Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia) Bach Degree 4 years. …

The world is changing and so should we! Its Advancement in Education!! Its a POSITIVE THING! 
I'm pro Education.. and if you're not, you will be grandfathered in (your experience will count more) As for you young ones, if you want to go all through …

Doctors hating on CRNA's 
The nurse anesthetists are highly trained and know their stuff. There is no need for a doctorate degree; a masters is good enough. Now if the nurse wants …

Get over your insecurities! 
I'm a CRNA. Having a DNP does not mean you get to call yourself "Doctor" in a medical setting. My sister has her PhD and would not call herself doctor …

They had just shot down many dreams... 
Most people reading this here are probably adults or college students. But as a junior in high school, deciding what I had planned for my college major …

The DNP is going to discourage me! 
There are CRNA's working today without degrees and the current requirement is a master's degree on top a BSN. It's not that I'm not academically inclined …

Unfortunate requirement 
I do not feel that it is necessary or worthwhile to be required to have a doctorate for crna's. It will cost more, take more time but not increase your …

Pro-education mandate 
I have heard that nurses are not supposed to use doctor within the hospital so as not to confuse patients. So, nurses with doctorates should not use the …

CRNA vs. Anesthesiologist 
I understand why an Anesthesiologist may be upset about this; however, they have the option to go to med school or to go to nursing school. Although …

Advanced degrees don't make you any more valuable.... just expensive. 
I find it interesting when people equate length of study with the quality of an educational model or value of a title. The strength of nursing is with …

My opinion to the CRNA change to DNP 
I am currently a nursing student working on obtaining my RN. After which, I will earn my BSN; then I plan to become a CRNA. I do not agree with the …

It's a title for a degree, not a job description. 
Anyone who puts in the work to earn a doctorate degree deserves to use the title doctor. Yes, I call my physician "doctor." I also call my dentist "doctor" …

Call them Doctors! 
How is it deceptive? If you have earned it you should have a right to call yourself Doctor! Originally doctor was used for phd candidates and then it went …

No I don't agree and I think that's exactly what advance nurses are 
I believe it's about time nurses are recognized for their education, training and hard work. Nurses are more holistic in their approach to patient care …

DNP should not be required for entry into practice 
I do not think that a DNP should be the required entry level for practice. I think that the Masters Degree is sufficient for entry. Perhaps the DNP should …

Mandatory DNP is Not a Good Idea 
I feel it would confuse patients. I believe you will see a lot of nurses with this degree trying to make people think they are actually a medical doctor. …

DNPs spend more than enough time (counting training and experience) to deserve the "doctor" title 
I feel that after spending more than 12 years to become a nurse anesthetist, I should be called a doctor! Though they're both called "doctors" their …

Nursing Shortage 
I have a bachelors in biology and I've been practicing nursing for 14 years in a Level 1 trauma center with a diploma degree. I am currently taking classes …

If you want to be called "Doctor" go to Medical School. 
I am a nurse. 3 years in a NA program does NOT equal 4 years of medical school and 4 years of residency. It is deceptive to call yourself "Doctor" …

Call me doctor, please! 
Whilst some may feel it is deceptive to call yourself doctor when you are a DNP, the fact is that you will be treated with more respect by patients and …

Very Good idea DNP anesthesia Not rated yet
I think is a very good idea, regardless of what people will call it doctor or crna, a professional career in advance. Think about other degree entry program …

Changes my whole plan Not rated yet
I want to start out by getting my point across and say I think this change is absurd. I am a senior in high-school and you might be thinking this opinion …

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DNP - NOT NECESSARY Not rated yet
i believe that for the CRNA program a doctorate can be beneficial. However, for the NP programs to become DNP is not necessary and just not worth it!

This is just stupid.  Not rated yet
Why are they requiring a NURSE to get a DOCTORATE degree? That's just stupid. They might as well just eliminate the advanced nursing field and just call …

Filters out the weak Not rated yet
I am glad they did this, so now others aren't so eager to go the "easier" route than med school. Less competition when I apply to a DNP program. Obviously …

The Piece of Paper Doesn't Improve Skillset Not rated yet
Nurses have struggled with the need for validation for YEARS. "Nurses are just as smart." Blah, blah, blah! This requirement, in fact the requirement …

You Might As Well GET OVER IT! Not rated yet
Stop the complaining. The fact is that the regulations have changed and schools will have 4 years to switch over from MSNA or MSN to a DNP in 2015. So …

Bad choice Not rated yet
My situation might not be the most common but I'm not alone. After four years of college and a one year second degree bsn plus many prerequisites, I am …

Overkill and Confusion Not rated yet
There is positively no need for this change. I would really like to hear one viable reason for this. CRNA's are trained very well and supervised by …

doctors are running nursing careers Not rated yet
Hate this change! This just makes me believe that nurses are not in control of their own schooling system. Having to get a doctorate degree for anesthesiology …

Absolutely disagree Not rated yet
More school, can't call yourself a doctor, same pay as current master's holders, less pay than doctors even though similar amount of schooling/work. What …

Thinking Ahead Not rated yet
I am against the change to turn nurse anesthetist program into a doctorate program. That is not to say that I am against the educational advancement. Nor …

Eh... Not rated yet
Eh, DNP adds more credibility. And for many of us we have far more than "a few years" of education. For myself, by the time I'm done with anesthesia …

ignorance runs rampant Not rated yet
People with PhD's are called doctors too. Look up the definition of a doctor. You can be a Dr. of English, Dr. of Chemistry, or a Dr. of psychology. …

CRNA vs. MDA Not rated yet
Hello, I think that it is interesting that the original post said that it was unfair to call CRNA's with a Doctorate a Doctor because of the MD's that …

Physicians Do Not Exclusively Own The Title "Doctor" Not rated yet
If you have an earned doctorate, then you deserve the title of doctor. The confusion comes in play when a person introduces their self as a doctor …

Solely a way for schools to make more money Not rated yet
This follows a trend to put money in the pockets of educational institutions. A CRNA with a master's degree is a competent, highly trained individual. …

The MD's have won now.  Not rated yet
Switching to the DNP is the most counterpoductive move from the nursing anesthesia association standpoint. Just because they want to be equals as "Dr."...they …

Ridiculous! Not rated yet
What were they thinking? We are arriving at a point in time where the health care demands of America's population are going to require a reliance on something …

Put up or shut up Not rated yet
Anesthesia school is not easy… live with it. I am currently in Anesthesia school at UC, and our motto is “embrace the suck” and on a lighter note “CRN-B” …

Deceptive Not rated yet
I believe obtaining a doctorate and calling oneself a doctor in the clinical environment is deceptive towards the patient. Solution: If one wants to be …

Taken Seriously  Not rated yet
At first glance, getting a DNP or DNAP may not change the bedside anesthetic however, as healthcare changes with an emphasis on cost effective best practices …

Bravo to the nurses! Not rated yet
I think it is fabulous. A commitment to advanced practice nursing only strengthens patient care. I have been taken care of by Nurse Anesthetists in the …

Awesome Not rated yet
Why wouldn't you want to be the very best at your job? With a DNP, you let everyone know that you are committed to the field and that you want to contribute …

The role of nursing must evolve Not rated yet
What they should do is reevaluate the nursing curriculum to actually involve more science training, so that their is no discrepancy or looking down upon …

why????? purpose?????? Not rated yet
The only people who need a phd are program directors. They get paid a lot and don't really do much. I worked with a gentlemen who did nothing but run …

Requirements for DNAP school Not rated yet
Does this change mean that nursing students will have to get their bachelors, work in the ICU for 2-4 years, then go back to school for another 4 years …

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No Confusion Here Not rated yet
The confusion comes from the fact that physicians spent 4 years in undergraduate school preparing for the highly selective process of admission to medical …

Economically unfeasible Not rated yet
It is already a huge undertaking to gain ICU experience and then lose your income to go back to school for nurse anesthesia. Many highly talented and …

It's a good thing Not rated yet
TOTALLY for it. It will raise the standards of the profession

Yes and NO Not rated yet
Possibly. I think this is becoming more an issue to ensure job security will remain for CRNA's.

How would it matter whether we are called doctors or not? Not rated yet
I do agree that we deserve to be called "doctors" because of our years spent in nursing school, critical care experience, and the DNAP program, but personally, …

CRNA can call them selves Doctor as long as they do the same jobs as MDA Not rated yet
Change is needed with current health care system. The transformation from MN to DNP is a good idea. The patients are not stupid and just telling them you …

Discouraging Not rated yet
The argument I hear often is that a DNP/DNAP will put nurses on par with other professional such as pharmacists, dentists, etc. Studies show that master's …

The meaning of Doctor... Not rated yet
Doctor is an academic degree (just like an Associates, a Bachelor, a Master), you can be a Dr. of Music, Dr. in Teaching, Education, Divinity, etc... …

This seems to be a natural progression Not rated yet
I'm an anesthesia nursing student who will not complete the doctoral (DNAP) route. But I feel that this is the natural progression of many health and medical …

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*This page was updated August 1st, 2016.*

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