Mar 03, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2021-2022 
Graduate Catalog | 2021-2022 Previous Edition

Nursing Practice: Nurse Anesthesia Across the Lifespan, D.N.P.

The Nurse Anesthesia Across the Lifespan is a post-baccalaureate DNP concentration requiring a BSN to apply.  It provides students both the theory and clinical practice required to meet the educational requirements to take the national certifying examination upon graduation  The specialty in Nurse Anesthesia Across the Lifespan is offered in partnership with Carolinas Medical Center.  Clinical experiences are offered at Atrium Health facilities in the Charlotte area.  This program is full-time, campus-based, and can be completed in 9 semesters.  Students are admitted once per year and begin their program of study in the summer semester.  Interviews are conducted for the top candidates two times per academic year.  Application is required at both UNC Charlotte and Carolinas Medical Center School of Nurse Anesthesia.  All application materials must be received prior to the published deadline.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the terminal practice degree in Nursing. The DNP prepares students to practice in an advanced clinical role and provide leadership in a dynamic healthcare system.  Graduates of the program will be able to analyze systems of care and provide leadership to improve patient safety and quality of care and to implement evidence-based, culturally competent care.  Visit and for information on application deadlines and program metrics.

Admission Requirements

  • Hold a current unrestricted RN licensure in the U.S. at the time of application with eligibility for NC licensure
  • Earned Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing (BSN) from a college or university accredited by an accepted accrediting body
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores no older than 5 years; a minimum combined score of 293 on the verbal and quantitative sections is recommended (MAT scores are not accepted)
  • A minimum GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale for all undergraduate work after high school
  • A minimum GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale for all basic undergraduate science courses taken since high school (e.g., Chemistry, Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, and Microbiology)
  • Completion of an undergraduate statistics course with a grade of B or above
  • An essay (statement of purpose) limited to a single page, describing the applicant’s experience, fit to the CRNA role, and examples of leadership; candidates should highlight unique characteristics such as being bilingual and leadership experiences
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s professional qualifications, one letter must be from the applicant’s clinical manager; others can include colleagues, academic professors, or physicians
  • A minimum 18 months of current full-time critical care experience with adult patients is required prior to matriculation; Acceptable experience includes: Intensive Care Unit, Coronary Care Unit, Trauma Intensive Care Unit, Neuro Intensive Care Unit, Surgical Intensive Care Unit, Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.  Experiences that are not acceptable include: Flight Team, Emergency Room, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Post Anesthesia Care Unit, and Operating Room
  • Current certification in Basic Cardiac Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support with documentation provided only to Carolinas Medical Center Nurse Anesthesia Program application
  • Interviews are required for the top-scoring applicants who meet the admission requirements.  Top scoring applicants will be invited for an interview with the Program’s Admissions Committee.  Only after a successful interview, will applicants be offered admission.
  • Professional resume
  • The application process requires two applications - one to UNC Charlotte and one to Carolina’s Medical Center

Degree Requirements

The Nurse Anesthesia Across the Lifespan DNP program requires completion of 89 credit hours of approved courses, completion of a minimum of 2000 clinical practice hours, and completion of the Scholarly Project.  Only full-time study is available.  All courses are offered once a year and must be taken in sequence.

Concentration Courses

Clinical Requirements

Students are required to successfully complete a minimum of 2000 hours of supervised clinical.  Atrium Health provides clinical instruction for students enrolled in the nurse anesthesia program. The primary location for clinical is Carolinas Medical Center, an 850-bed Level-1 Trauma Center and regional referral center for North and South Carolina.  The medical center and teaching hospital provides students state-of-the-art clinical facilities and access to patients undergoing a variety of complex surgical and diagnostic procedures.  All facilities provide a preceptor-to-student ratio of no more than 1 to 2 with a CRNA and/or physician anesthesiologist.  The clinical hours and number and variety of cases are exceptional; students far exceed the number of clinical hours and cases required for certification.

Degree Total = 89 Credit Hours

Grade Requirements

To progress in the program, students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 in all coursework taken.  More than one grade of C in non-specialty courses leads to student suspension.  Progression in the concentration requires a grade of B or above in all concentration (NUAN) courses.   A grade of C or below in any concentration course leads to dismissal from the major.  In addition, students must successfully pass the Scholarly Project proposal defense and Scholarly Project defense in order to graduate.

Clinical Residency and DNP Scholarly Project

Project Description

Students complete a DNP Scholarly Project in conjunction with their clinical residency or project development courses.  The DNP Scholarly Project is a project that brings together the practice and scholarship aspects of the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.  It is designed to address complex practice issues that affect groups of patients, healthcare organizations, or healthcare systems while utilizing informatics, technology, and in-depth knowledge of the clinical and behavioral sciences.  The clinical scholarship required in the DNP Scholarly Project reflects mastery and competency in the student’s area of expertise.

The DNP Scholarly Project continues throughout the program, culminating in a scholarly public defense.  The DNP Scholarly Project requires students to demonstrate expert practice, the use of evidence-based practice, translational research, and use of skills necessary to lead interdisciplinary teams to improve patient/client outcomes and health status individually, organizationally, or within a community. Students may choose to work in settings related to their specialty practice.

Project Approval

The DNP Scholarly Project is guided by the DNP Scholarly Project Committee.  The composition of the DNP Scholarly Project committee includes:  1) a chair who is a doctoral-prepared faculty member in the School of Nursing with regular graduate faculty status at UNC Charlotte; 2) an expert clinical mentor (Ph.D., DNP, M.D. or other doctoral prepared individual; 3) one additional faculty member; and 4) a faculty member appointed by the Graduate School at UNC Charlotte.  It is the responsibility of the DNP Scholarly Project Committee to guide the student through project planning, implementation, and evaluation process.

Upon approval of the DNP Scholarly Project topic, the student begins to develop the project.  Once the project development is complete, the student presents to the committee and DNP faculty the final proposal for the project.  The student’s DNP Scholarly Project proposal serves as the primary component of the qualifying examination for the DNP program.  To be eligible to defend the DNP Scholarly Project proposal, a student must have completed the written proposal and orally presented the proposal to the committee.  This written and oral presentation is used to evaluate if the student is prepared and qualified to begin work on the project. 

Institutional Review Board Approval

The DNP Scholarly Project must be collectively agreed upon by the student, the practice setting, and the student’s DNP Scholarly Project Committee.  Prior to beginning the DNP Scholarly Project, the project may require approval of the UNC Charlotte Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Institutional Review Board at the agency where the project will be conducted.  If required, all IRB requirements must be fulfilled prior to launching the project.  Any additional agency requirements must be completed prior to beginning implementation of the project.

Project Defense

After completion of the DNP Scholarly Project, the student orally defends the written project to the Project Committee in a public defense.  The outcome of the project defense is pass or no pass.  The student is allowed two attempts to present/defend the DNP scholarly project.  Failure to successfully defend after two attempts results in dismissal from the program.  Details regarding timelines and benchmarks in conducting and defending the project are available in the DNP Student Handbook.

Student Handbooks

The policies and procedures guiding the program, progression, and expectations can be found in the Graduate Student and DNP Student Handbooks.  Clinical concentrations may have additional handbooks related to clinical performance and expectations.

Time Limits for Degree Completion

All graduation requirements must be completed within 6 years after enrollment in the first course.

Transfer Credit

DNP students may transfer up to 6 graduate credit hours (with a grade of B or above) with approval of the DNP Graduate Program Director.  No course being transferred may be older than 6 years at the time of graduation.