Samuel Merritt University (SMU) is breaking new ground by becoming the first university to send nurse anesthesia students to Stanford Hospital for clinical training.
“Because Stanford is a world-renowned facility that does procedures no one else does, it gives our students experience in very complex procedures as well as an edge that other programs can’t offer in terms of marketability when they come out of school,” said SMU Assistant Professor Joseph Janakes. “We’re very excited.”
SMU has been working with Stanford for more than two years to plan the clinical rotation for its nurse anesthesia students. Though Stanford employs only seven of its own nurse anesthetists, the hospital is expected to hire more as it expands to a new facility.
Mary Bailey, the first student in SMU’s Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) program to train at Stanford, completed her two-month clinical rotation last week.
“It was an interesting rotation,” she said. “They like to teach at Stanford and there certainly are procedures done there that are not done at other facilities.”
Bailey said she participated in a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a relatively new procedure that eliminates the need for open heart surgery for high-risk patients.
Another highlight of Bailey’s rotation was the opportunity to work with an airway expert, who taught her techniques to manage difficult intubations.
SMU will send a different CRNA student to Stanford every two months this year and include two students on each rotation next year, according to Janakes. He said the Stanford rotation will provide SMU students with clinical experience as well as opportunities for future employment.
The University’s CRNA program was created in 1993 as a joint venture with Kaiser Permanente in Northern California, a large employer of certified registered nurse anesthetists. The partnership continues, with more than half of SMU’s 36 clinical affiliate sites located at Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers. Others include UCSF, UC Davis, Highland Hospital in Oakland and Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno.
“We have a very wide scope,” said Janakes.