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Course Descriptions

Anesthesia Course Descriptions

Course descriptions for all NURST680 and NURST630 courses described below. Course descriptions for online coursework can be located at:   http://catalog.drexel.edu/coursedescriptions/ (applicable only for currently enrolled students through the Class of 2021):


NURST680 (3 credits) Anesthesia – Principles of Practice I:

This course introduces the student to basic principles of drug actions and the application of various drugs in anesthetic pharmacology. Basic principles of pharmacology are discussed in relation to anesthesia and the autonomic nervous system. An overview of anesthesia drugs and adjuncts is undertaken and associated with anesthesia modalities. The pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of common anesthetic agents is introduced. Practical clinical applications of anesthetic agents provide the student the pharmacological foundation to formulate the anesthetic plan in a variety of clinical setting. The course is offered in an asynchronous online format.

NURST680 (2 credits) Introduction to Clinical Practicum:

This course is the companion course to Principles of Practice (POP) I course. It provides the clinical forum to introduce concepts learned in POP I. Clinical objectives are reflective of didactic material presented within the course to prepare the student for the clinical setting in the dependent role under continuous supervision. This course is truncated into two components- theory and clinical.

In the classroom, anesthesia equipment is thoroughly described and explored from a functional perspective. Emphasis is given to equipment check-out, skills, and safety. To reinforce vigilance in the OR setting, common monitoring modalities are reviewed. Students are introduced to the anatomic and physiologic basics of airway management. The applications, benefits, and risks of a variety of airway management modalities are discussed. Common airway challenges are discussed. Perioperative anesthetic considerations are explored including positioning, OR set up, daily drugs, and fluid management. Nurse anesthesia students examine positioning of patients in relation to surgical requirements, position changes, physiologic challenges, and neurovascular and musculoskeletal risk.

In the clinical setting, the student is introduced to basic anesthesia principles including OR room set-up, the anesthesia machine, placement of basic monitors, use of the OR bed, positioning of the patient, insertion of peripheral intravenous access, and basic airway management utilizing mask ventilation. The student functions primarily as an observer, giving assistance when appropriate in the operating room. The student will begin to formulate a basic plan of care, including fluid requirements and calculations. Basic skills learned in theory are reinforced in simulation and the clinical environment. The student role in this level is dependent with continuous supervision.

NURST680 (1 credit) Introduction to Anesthesia Practice:

This course prepares the beginning student for the specialty of nurse anesthesia by providing practical foundation to facilitate socialization into the practice of nurse anesthesia. The laws governing nurse anesthesia practice are introduced. Students are presented with a practical overview of nurse anesthesia, from historical, professional, ethical, organizational, political, and clinical points of view.

NURST680 (3 credits) Principles of Practice II:

This course builds on previous course work in concepts of pharmacology. Pharmacological agents are explored in relationship to the anesthetic plan of care. This includes agents for induction, maintenance and emergence phases of anesthetic management. Practical clinical applications of anesthetic agents provide the student the pharmacological foundation to formulate the anesthetic plan in a variety of clinical settings. The course is offered in an asynchronous online format.

NURST680 (3 credits) Clinical Practicum II:

This course is the companion course to Principles of Practice (POP) II course. It provides the forum to introduce concepts learned in POP II. This course is truncated into two components- theory and clinical.

In the classroom, this course presents the principles and practice of planning the care of a patient for anesthesia and surgery as an advanced practice nurse. Clinical Practicum II explores issues that include choice of anesthetic modality and discusses how the anesthesia plan is individualized to optimize care. Advanced principles of monitoring are reviewed in detail including risk-benefit issues of invasive monitoring of the patient. Pharmacological agents are explored in relationship to the anesthetic plan of care. Anesthetic techniques, both regional and general anesthesia, are described and analyzed. Topics in obstetrical anesthesia are presented. Introduction of regional anesthesia and implementation of epidural and spinal anesthesia will be occurring.

In the clinical setting, integration of pharmacological concepts is introduced. The student has limited clinical responsibility at this time. Clinical objectives are reflective of didactic material which will allow the student to progress from the previous dependent role in the clinical setting to the novice assisted role. Tiered learning levels are designed to prepare the student practitioner for the role of the Advanced Practice Nurse (APN), as an independent practitioner. Students expected level of performance in this course is novice assisted. The student will develop care plans for ASA I and II cases, and provide anesthetic management with assistance. Intubation of patients with uncomplicated airways will be performed. Assisting faculty members with the completion of pre-anesthetic assessments is expected and encouraged. Successful clinical return demonstration of the operating room basic skills checklist and participation in the regional techniques skills lab is required to complete this quarter term. Students will gain experience in management of anesthesia, both general and regional, and pain management modalities. Off-campus rotations commence. The “on-call” experience begins to enhance the student’s clinical experience. Supervision remains continuous at the novice assisted level.

NURST680 (2 credits) Chemistry and Physics for Nurse Anesthesia:

Nurse anesthesia students examine physical phenomena relevant to anesthesia and anesthesia equipment. Measurements and waveforms utilized in anesthesia management are reviewed. Specific technologies as applied to patients undergoing anesthesia are discussed as relevant to APN practice. Safety in the provision of anesthesia is emphasized through explanations of physical laws. Principles of organic chemistry will be presented for the student to acquire a working knowledge of organic chemistry as relevant to anesthetic agents.

NURST680 (3 credits) Principles of Practice III:

This course presents the student with a comprehensive background specific to obstetrical, pediatric and geriatric populations, emphasizing comparative anatomy and physiology, and the implications for anesthetic planning and management. Physical assessment of special patient populations is presented and analyzed. Clinical application of physical assessment findings are discussed in detail. The anesthetic management of common ophthalmologic, orthopedic and laparoscopic procedures is examined, with an emphasis on planning, decision-making and anesthetic modalities.

NURST680 (3 credits) Clinical Practicum III:

This course is the companion course to Principles of Practice (POP) III. It provides the forum to introduce concepts learned in POP III. Clinical objectives are reflective of didactic material which will allow the student to progress from the previous novice assisted role in the clinical setting to the intermediate assisted role. Tiered learning levels are designed to prepare the student practitioner for the role of the Advanced Practice Nurse (APN), as an independent practitioner. Successful intubation with a MAC 3 blade is expected, along with proficiency in gaining peripheral IV access. Students will provide anesthetic management of primarily ASA I, II, and III patients with assistance. Participation in the anesthetic management of obstetrical patients with laboring epidurals and management of cesarean sections is expected. Insertion of epidural catheters for uncomplicated laboring parturient begins. By the end of this level, competency in treating the obstetric patients receiving epidural and intrathecal anesthesia is achieved. Completion of the obstetrics basic skills checklist is required at the end of this level. During this level, the student is taking a more active role in the management of anesthesia. Upon completion of Clinical Practicum III, the expected level of performance is at the intermediate assisted level with intermittent supervision. The student should begin to demonstrate organization of skills and thought processes in preparation for moving to the next level of performance in level IV- advanced assisted. Off-campus rotations will continue. Students will receive a Pass/Fail grade for this clinical course.

NURST680 (3 credits) Advanced Pathophysiology I:

A functional approach to renal anatomy and physiology is presented. Factors influencing distribution of water and solute across body fluid compartments are identified. The physiology of filtration and reabsorption is examined. Control of solute concentration and fluid volume are assessed. The influence of renal pathophysiology relative to surgical renal and non-renal procedures and anesthetic management is explored. Cardiovascular agents are introduced in relationship to the autonomic nervous system. Practical clinical applications of cardiovascular agents provide the student the pharmacological foundation to formulate the anesthetic plan in a variety of clinical settings. A portion of this course is offered in an asynchronous online format.

NURST680 (2 credits) Principles of Practice IV:

Principles of Practice (POP) IV addresses the physiology and pathophysiology of the immune system. The effects of anesthesia on the immune system are identified and the anesthesia management challenges and risks on patients with immune system alteration, dysfunction, and suppression are explored. Standards of care are inventoried and critiqued according to the role of a CRNA, as an advanced practice nurse. The information presented facilitates the application and integration of previous didactic material, continues development of psychomotor skills and clinical judgment. Students will implement the role of an advanced practice nurse as it applies to patient populations requiring increasingly complex anesthetic interventions.

NURST680 (3 credits) Clinical Practicum IV:

This course is the companion course to Principles of Practice (POP) IV course. It provides the forum to introduce concepts learned in POP IV. Clinical objectives are reflective of didactic material presented within the course to assist the student with progression from the intermediate assisted to an advanced-assisted role in the clinical setting. This course builds upon materials previously taught in earlier levels and clinical experiences previously gained. Students will provide anesthetic management of ASA I, II, and III patients with faculty supervision. They will assist with the assessment and care of more complicated cases. The student should be proficient in peripheral IV insertion and will attempt insertion of invasive lines. The student will delve into more advanced airway management in selected populations. Students will continue to participate in the care of obstetric patients and should increase their proficiency in the insertion of regional anesthesia techniques. The use of ultrasound techniques is introduced in the Ultrasound Workshop. Off campus rotations will continue. The expected level of performance in this level is advanced assisted. A pass/fail will be given for this course.

NURST680 (2 credits) Advanced Pathophysiology II:

This course provides the nurse anesthesia student, as an advanced practice nurse, with a description and analysis of cardiac and pulmonary anatomy, physiology, and function. Each separate session (cardiac and pulmonary) are taught in an integrated process as the cardiopulmonary system exists in its natural physiological state. The impact of anesthetic intervention with cardiac and pulmonary function in a healthy person and those with pulmonary disease is explained. Physical assessment of the cardiopulmonary system is presented. In addition, this course provides the nurse anesthesia student, as an advanced practice nurse with the ability to analyze abnormal cardiac conduction and rhythms, especially with correlation to pathophysiology. The role of the renal system is expanded from CRNA5303 as it relates to systemic blood pressure control in conjunction with the cardiovascular system. Hypertension and medical treatment modalities are discussed. Students develop the ability to plan and implement anesthesia care for a variety of patients with cardiovascular pathology.

NURST680 (3 credits) Principles of Practice V:

This course reviews various populations of patients with high risk of presenting airway management challenges. The student, after mastering basic airway management, is now presented with populations requiring advanced knowledge, psychomotor skills, and clinical judgment. The relationship between thorough, effective, assessment and planning for patient safety is stressed. Emergency management for burn and trauma populations is presented. This course facilitates the application and reinforcement of didactic learning and continues development and integration of the role of advanced practice nurse as it applies to patient populations requiring increasingly complex anesthetic interventions. At the end of this quarter- term, students must obtain a passing grade on a comprehensive exam covering topics from Levels I-V.

NURST680 (3 credits) Clinical Practicum V:

This course is the companion course to Principles of Practice (POP) V course. It provides the forum to introduce concepts learned in POP V. This course facilitates the application and reinforcement of didactic learning and continues development and integration of the role of advanced practice nurse as it applies to patient populations requiring increasingly complex anesthetic interventions. Heart and pediatric specialty rotations commence.

This level builds upon materials previously presented and clinical experiences gained. Students will continue to provide anesthetic management of ASA I, II and III patients with faculty supervision. Students will be expected to begin to manage more difficult airways when intubating patients outside the OR setting. The student is expected to become more proficient in placement of regional anesthetic techniques and will continue to insert invasive lines. Off campus rotations will continue. The expected level of performance is the advanced assisted level with progression from continuous to intermittent supervision. A pass/fail will be given for this course.

NURST680 (3 credits) Advanced Pathophysiology III:

This course provides the nurse anesthesia student with an opportunity to apply previously learned concepts in CRNA5403 to formulate a plan of care for patient populations undergoing cardiac and non-cardiac surgery. Major categories of cardiopulmonary dysfunction are described. Specific pathophysiology impacting anesthetic management of patients undergoing cardiopulmonary procedures are presented and analyzed. Students develop the ability to plan and implement anesthesia care for a variety of patients with cardiopulmonary pathophysiology.

NURST630 (3 credits) Principles of Practice VI:

This course addresses issues related to the anesthetic management of the population of patients’ with gastrointestinal and accessory organ diseases. Special emphasis is placed on the function of the liver. The coagulation cascade and the role of the liver are explored. The unique anesthetic management concerns of specific coagulation disorders are examined. The upper level student is now presented with patient populations requiring advanced knowledge, skills, and clinical judgment as applied to patient populations requiring complex anesthetic interventions.

NURST680 (3 credits) Clinical Practicum VI:

This course is the companion course to Principles of Practice (POP) VI course. It provides the clinical forum to introduce concepts learned in POP VI. This course facilitates the application and reinforcement of didactic learning and continues development and integration of the role of advanced practice nurse as it applies to patient populations requiring increasingly complex anesthetic interventions. The students will commence with an optional month trauma rotation. Heart and pediatric rotations continue. Students are expected to function at the intermittent supervised level by the end of this course. This level builds upon materials learned in prior didactic lectures and previous clinical experiences. The off campus rotations continue. Students will receive a pass/fail for this course.

NURST680 (2 credits) Advanced Pathophysiology IV:

This course addresses physiology of the neuro-endocrine system. Emphasis is placed on the integration of neuro-hormonal control of physiological homeostasis. The neurological basis for perceiving and interpreting pain impulses is discussed. This course facilitates the application and reinforcement of didactic learning and incorporation of the role of the CRNA, as an APN, as applied to patient populations requiring increasingly complex anesthetic interventions.

NURST680 (2 credits) Principles of Practice VII:

This course provides the student with critical thinking skills and problem solving techniques for various situations of special importance and concerns to CRNAs, in the role as an APN. The unique considerations for safe anesthetic management of patients’ undergoing major organ transplantation are introduced. This course addresses issues related to the anesthetic management of the population of patients with metabolic and/or nutritional diseases with an emphasis on obesity and its related disorders. The basic principles of radiology and anesthetic care for radiology cases are presented. Students will begin development of their senior capstone presentation.

NURST680 (3 credits) Clinical Practicum VII:

This course is the companion course to Principles of Practice (POP) VII course. It provides the clinical forum to introduce concepts learned in POP VII. This course facilitates the application and reinforcement of didactic learning. Clinical Practicum VII continues the development and integration of the role of advanced practice nurse as it applies to patient populations requiring increasingly complex anesthetic interventions. The expected level of performance is the supervised level with intermittent supervision. Students at this level are presented with cases that require critical thinking, advanced clinical judgment, and problem solving skills. The senior Capstone project begins in this level. Off campus rotations will continue including heart, pediatric specialty rotations and the optional trauma rotation. Students will receive a pass/fail grade for this course.

NURST680 (3 credits) Advanced Pathophysiology V:

This course addresses physiology and pathophysiology of the neuroendocrine system. Emphasis is placed on the integration of neurohormonal control of physiological homeostasis and metabolic function. Specific endocrine and neural pathologies are explored in detail. Pain management modalities are inventoried and trends are reviewed and critiqued. Unique considerations of acute and chronic neurological disorders are analyzed. This course facilitates the application and reinforcement of didactic learning and incorporation of the role of the CRNA, as an APN, as applied to patient populations requiring increasingly complex anesthetic interventions.

NURST680 (2 credits) Principles of Practice VIII:

This course focuses planning anesthetic management related to patient populations with psychiatric illness and of those with substance abuse challenges. This course also addresses issues related to the anesthetic management of the population of patients with skin and musculoskeletal disorders. Current innovations in surgical procedures and anesthetic management including advanced concepts in vasopressor therapy are explored and analyzed in depth. Students will complete their capstone presentation this term. National Certification Examination (NCE) preparation commences. Students will complete board prep quizzes and complete the Self- Evaluation Examination in preparation for their national board exams.

NURST680 (3 credits) Clinical Practicum VIII:

This level builds upon materials learned in prior didactic lectures and previous clinical experiences. The upper-level student is presented with populations that require critical thinking, problem solving skills, and clinical judgment in managing complex anesthetic interventions. This course facilitates the application and reinforcement of didactic learning and integration of the role of the CRNA, as an APN, in a variety of anesthetic modalities and techniques. Students will continue with off campus rotations. Fiberoptic intubation as a modality offering greater patient safety is presented. The expected level of performance is the supervised/independent level with intermittent supervision. Senior Capstone projects are presented during this level. The student will receive a pass/fail for this course.

NURST680 (1 credit) Current Professional Issues in Anesthesia:

Nurse anesthesia practice is explored from an ethical basis, and in relation to our present legal system, with an emphasis on professional and ethical standards of care and associated anesthesia case law. Nurse anesthesia students appraise federal, state and other legal implications and restraints on a nurse anesthetist’s practice, as it relates to advanced practice nursing, and the American legal system.

NURST680 (2 credits) Principles of Practice IX:

This course provides the student with critical thinking skills and problem solving techniques for various situations of special importance and concerns to CRNAs, in the role as an APN. Principles of crisis management of adverse events and complications are identified and implemented. A problem based learning format provides the student with an opportunity to assess critical thinking skills and provides a comprehensive review of relevant concepts in preparation for the certifying exam. Preparation for the National Certification Examination (NCE) continues during this course. Students will complete board prep quizzes and must obtain a passing grade on the end-of-program comprehensive exam.

NURST680 (3 credits) Clinical Practicum IX:

This level builds upon materials learned in prior didactic lectures and previous clinical experiences. The companion POP IX provides the students with critical thinking skills and problem solving techniques for various situations of special importance and concerns. Clinical Practicum allows the student to integrate aspects of the role of CRNAs as APNs. Students will continue rotating to off campus rotations. The expected level of performance is the supervised/independent level with intermittent supervision. The tiered levels in the program prepare the student for entry-level practice as an APN in Anesthesia. The student will receive a pass/fail for this course.

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