Emily Rice Published

WVU Celebrates First 15 CRNA Graduates


West Virginia University is celebrating the first 15 graduates from the Nurse Anesthetist program after Dr. Aaron Ostrowski arrived at WVU in 2017 to build the Nurse Anesthetist education program from the ground up.

“The first cohort of 15 took a chance by interviewing for this new program in early 2019,” Ostrowski said. “They exceeded in their practice of going through this vigorous, very demanding curriculum where they have studied physiology, pharmacology and completed a doctoral project and were challenged by clinical practice, requiring them to endure 2,000 hours of clinical practice and to achieve at least 600 cases.

Ostrowski said they exceeded the minimum case numbers by as much as 40 percent. They provided care to nearly 13,000 patients over a cumulative 37,000 hours of clinical practice.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse Anesthetist program at WVU is one of two programs of its kind in the state. Ostrowski said he’s proud of his students and grateful for the faculty that made this achievement possible.

They learn how to be the best trained (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists) CRNA that can take care of anyone in this wonderful state of West Virginia and across the country,” Ostrowski said. “It has met the demand in a time when it has been critical and then across the state there are 51 centers where anesthesia is provided and that is also a need in those locations as well, so we are meeting the needs, not just in Morgantown, but across the state.”

As more health care professionals retire in West Virginia, they leave openings. Ostrowski and his colleagues aim to fill those spaces with qualified providers to care for an aging population.

“They’re learning from the experts that have not just read about this topic, but they’ve done it,” Ostrowski said. “And that is a very important piece that I want to convey to any applicants, or public members out there, we want to provide the best training for one of the best states in the country.”

To complete their Nurse Anesthetists certification, students must pass their National Certification Exam. Ostrowski received word Tuesday morning that two of his students had already passed their exams.

To learn more about WVU’s nursing opportunities visit their website at nursing.WVU.edu.