Northern Kentucky University nurse anesthesia program gets off the ground

Posted at 7:03 AM, May 11, 2017

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. -- A new program at Northern Kentucky University is providing a fresh start for people who want to change career paths while also filling a void in local hospitals.

The first 15 students have entered NKU’s new three-year nurse anesthetist program, which includes 3,000 hours of clinical study. Graduates earn a doctor of nursing practice with a specialty in anesthesia.

“Sure, taking that leap can be scary, but all of us are here because we know we're hard workers. We know we're dedicated. We’re focused," said student Jena Bolte.

Student Tim McIntyre added that it was special they’re the first ones in Northern Kentucky to enroll in the program.

Only about 120 nurse anesthesia programs are available in the U.S., and NKU’s is only the second in Kentucky. The program helps address a national shortage of the specialized nurses and a growing need, according to Director Terry Ray.

“We're opening more outpatient centers. Hospitals are getting larger. People are getting older and getting sicker,” Ray said. 

NKU is investing heavily in this nurse anesthetist program. By this time next year, classes will be held in a new $100 million Health Innovation Center. The center will feature a fully functional operating room.

Applications open for next year's class of students on June 1.