Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.)

College: College of Nursing and Health Professions

Department: Nursing

Pending COA approval, the program plans to enroll its first doctoral cohort of students in 2021.  We are now accepting applications for the 2021 cohort.  


The Master of Science in Nursing in Nurse Anesthesia is a 28-month, 88-credit hour, full-time program that prepares registered nurses for entry into nurse anesthesia practice.

Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification and Re-certification of Nurse Anesthetists. Satisfactory performance is necessary in order to practice as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.

The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) requires that all students matriculating into a Nurse Anesthesia educational program on January 1, 2022 or thereafter be enrolled in a program approved by the COA to award a practice doctoral degree. The program submitted its application to the COA for approval to award the DNP degree.  Pending approval by the COA, the program plans to enroll its first doctoral cohort of students in 2021.  Further information regarding this transition may be obtained by contacting the program at czitzelberger@astate.edu.

Policies and other information are available in a guide for graduate nursing students, entitled "Graduate Information Guide (GIG)".  Knowledge of the policies and information in the GIG, A-State Nurse Anesthesia Student Handbook and A-State Graduate Bulletin are required following admission.

  • Prerequisites

    Admission Criteria

    In order to be considered for admission, applicants must meet the following criteria:

          1. Successful admission to the Arkansas State University Graduate School

    1. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an ACEN or CCNE accredited program of nursing from a regionally accredited college or university. 
    2. Current unrestricted/unencumbered (clear/active) license as a Registered Nurse in one of the states/compact states or one of the protectorates of the United States, with eligibility for Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Missouri RN license.
    3. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on undergraduate course work or 3.0 on the last 60 hours of undergraduate work on a 4.0 scale.
    4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) on application within 5 years of application demonstrating:
    • A combined verbal and quantitative score of 300 preferred.
    • An analytical writing section score of 3.5-4.0 preferred
    1. A minimum of one (1) year full-time work experience as a Registered Nurse in a critical care setting at the time of admission. Critical care experience must be within two (2) years of application. Critical care setting examples include but are not limited to: Surgical Intensive Care, Medical Intensive Care, Neuro Intensive Care, Cardiothoracic or Cardiovascular Intensive Care, Burn/Trauma Intensive Care, Neonatal or Pediatric Intensive Care. A-State Nurse Anesthesia Program does not accept Emergency Room, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, Operating Room or Obstetrical – Labor & Delivery Unit experience.
    2. Completion of an approved graduate level statistics course with a grade of "B" or higher.  The A-State approved online graduate statistics course is ELFN 6773 Intro to Stats and Research.  Please contact Dr. Christie Black or Dr. Todd Hammon for additional information on other courses accepted to fulfill this requirement.  
    3. Three references, which should be current and/or former supervisors and/or faculty, completed on the program’s recommendation forms.
    4. Current BCLS, ACLS and PALS certification by American Heart Association (AHA) 
    5. CCRN 
    6. Successful completion of interview process.  Interview is by invitation only and is not guaranteed on application.
    7. Admission decisions are not grievable.


    English Proficiency Requirements

    The School of Nursing requires a high level of proficiency in English so that all students will be able to fully meet academic and clinical objectives as well as meet criteria for professional licensure. All foreign born students and Registered Nurses must take one of the following tests: 

    1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 83 on the preferred internet-based test (iBT), 570 on the paper-based test, or 213 on the computer-based test. 
    2. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a score of at least 6.5 and a spoken band score of 7. 
    3. Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) with a score of 56. 

    The TOEFL is available at the ASU Testing Center.  When taking the exam off campus, the report code for ASU is 6011.   

    Who does this apply to?

    The term foreign born refers to people residing in the United States who were not U.S. citizens at birth. The foreign-born population includes naturalized citizens, lawful permanent immigrants, refugees and asylees, legal non-immigrants (including those on student, work, or other temporary visas), and persons residing in the country without authorization. In contrast, the term native born refers to people residing in the United States who were U.S. citizens in one of three categories: 1) born in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia; 2) born in United States Insular areas such as Puerto Rico or Guam; 3) born abroad to at least one U. S. citizen parent. 


    You may be exempt for the English proficiency testing if you are foreign born but attended school in the United States since kindergarten.  For the exemption you must provide official school records showing continuous enrollment in U. S. schools since kindergarten.  

    English as a Second Language

    Students who do not meet the required English language proficiency may enroll in ASU’s English as a Second Language (ESL) program in the International Center for English. Potential nursing students enrolled in the ESL program must maintain an average of 85 or higher in levels 0 through 4. In the final or 5th level of the ESL program an average of 90 or higher must be maintained. On completion of the ESL program, the potential nursing student must take the internet based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Upon successfully meeting the proficiency requirement, potential students are eligible to apply to the School of Nursing. 

    For questions or equivalencies with other tests of English language proficiency please contact the School of Nursing at 870-972-3074.

  • Required Abilities and Skills

    Abilities and Skills for the Graduate Nurse Anesthetist Student

    The School of Nursing affirms that all students enrolled in the graduate, Nurse Anesthesia program must possess those intellectual, ethical, physical, and emotional capabilities required to undertake the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the faculty for safe professional practice.

    The Advanced Practice Nurse Anesthetist must possess the knowledge and ability to effectively assess his or her client's biophysical, psychological, social, cultural, and intellectual domains. Further, the advanced practice nurse must competently analyze the assessment data through intellectual processing to arrive at a definition of the client's status or problem, plan independently or collaboratively for full range of therapeutic anesthesia interventions, execute all or part of the anesthesia care plan through advanced practice nursing acts, and evaluate the care delivered and the client's responses to it.

    Candidates for advanced practice nursing must have the abilities and skills necessary for use of the nursing process. These skills and abilities include observations; communication; motor ability; conceptualization; integration and quantification; and behavioral/social acceptability. Technological compensation can be made for some handicaps in certain of these areas, but candidates must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner. The use of a trained intermediary is not possible.

    The following abilities and skills are necessary to meet the requirements of the curriculum:


    The candidate must be able to observe patients and monitors accurately at a distance and close at hand. Observation necessitates the functional use of vision and tactile sensation. It is enhanced by the functional sense of smell.


    The candidate must be able to speak, hear, and observe patients in order to elicit information; describe changes in mood, activity, posture, mentation, and consciousness; and perceive nonverbal communications. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech but reading and writing. The candidate must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written form with all members of the health care team.


    Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other assessment maneuvers. A candidate must have sufficient motor skills to gain access to clients in a variety of care settings and to manipulate the equipment central to the treatment of patients receiving anesthesia care. Such actions require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision. Examples of required fine motor skills would include, but are not limited to, preparation and administration of medications, assessment of vital signs, administration of general, regional, and monitored anesthesia care anesthetics, and insertion invasive monitoring lines. Examples of required gross motor skills would include, but are not limited to, positioning clients, transferring clients and maneuvering in confined spaces. In addition, the candidate should be able to lift and carry a minimum of 35% of his or her own body weight. Also, the candidate should be able to sit, bend, reach and/or walk and stand for most of the day.

    Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities

    These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of nurse anesthetists, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

    Behavioral and Social Attributes

    A candidate must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of his or her intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and all members of the healthcare team. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, and appropriate interpersonal skills, interests, and motivations are all personal qualities necessary for professional nursing.

    The citations for these guidelines are as follows:

    • Section 504 of the 1973 Vocational Rehabilitation Act and 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
    • Bower, D., Line, L., & Denega, D. (1988). Evaluation instruments in nursing (pp. 71). New York: National League for Nursing
  • Admission Process

    How to Apply

    1. Apply to the Graduate School

    Complete and/or gather the following documents:
    • Application to Graduate School Accompanied by Application Fee
    • Official Transcript of all Undergraduate and Graduate Work
    • Graduate Record Examination Score (must be within 5 years)
    • Proof of MMR
    Submit one comprehensive packet to: 

    Graduate Admissions
    Arkansas State University
    PO Box 1570
    State University, AR 72467
    Telephone: (870) 972-2031

    2. Apply to the Nurse Anesthesia Program

    Complete and/or gather the following documents:

          1. Complete online application for admission to the A-State Graduate School.

    1. Provide Graduate Admissions with Official Transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work along with official GRE scores to:

                                  A-State Graduate Admissions

                                  PO Box 1570

                                  State University, AR 72467.

    1. Complete the following and mail in a comprehensive packet to: A-State Nurse Anesthesia Program at P.O. Box 910, State University, AR 72467.
    • Nurse Anesthesia Program application (available on website)
    • Personal Resume            
    • Professional goal statement consisting of 500-1,000 words with attention given to the applicant’s professional goals, past experiences and contributions the applicant expects to make in Nurse Anesthesia.
    • GRE Test Results taken within 5 years of application.
    • Three references, which should be former supervisors and faculty, completed on the program’s recommendation forms. All references must be sealed and signed over the seal by the person who wrote the recommendation. This may then be sent to you or sent directly to the program by evaluator. Recommendation forms are provided in the application.
  • Estimated Tuition and Expenses

    Nurse Anesthesia

    Total Tuition & Fees
    Payment of $7,650 due Spring and Summer of Year 1, Fall and Spring of Year 2
    Acceptance Deposit (applied towards tuition)
    Arkansas Assessment Fee
    $5.00 per term
    Additional Estimated Costs
    Application Fee
    AANA Associate Membership
    Professional Liability Insurance
    $275.00 per year
    Drug Testing
    $180.00 - $500.00
    Background Check
    Copying Fees
    Uniforms & Equipment
    NBCRNA Self Examination Evaluation
    Board Review Course
    ACLS, BCLS, PALS & RN licensure fees
    Certification Examination
    Travel Expenses
    Additional Housing
    Professional Anesthesia Meetings
    Arkansas State University Parking Fee
    Computer with Printer/Scanner
    This list is not exhaustive or all-inclusive for all fees and additional costs and may be subject to changes in items and/or costs.
  • Clinical Education

    Clinical Sites

    The Nurse Anesthesia Program offers a full scope of practice and educational experiences with clinical sites in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

    Arkansas Children's Hospital
    Little Rock, AR

    Baptist East Surgery Center and Urology
    Memphis, TN  

    Baptist Health
    Little Rock, AR

    Baptist Memorial Hospital-Desoto
    Southaven, MS

    Baptist Memorial Hospital-Collerville
    Memphis, TN

    Baptist Memorial Hospital-East
    Memphis, TN

    Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County
    New Albany, MS

    Conway Regional Health System
    Conway, AR

    Le Bonheur Children's Hospital
    Memphis, TN

    Little Rock Surgical Center
    Little Rock, AR

    Methodist Hospital of Memphis
    Memphis, TN

    National Park Medical Center
    Hot Springs, AR

    NEA Baptist Medical Center
    Jonesboro, AR

    Ortho AR Surgery
    Benton, AR

    Region One Medical Center 
    Memphis TN

    Saline Memorial Hospital
    Benton, AR

    St. Bernard Medical Center
    Jonesboro, AR

    St. Francis Hospital-Bartlett
    Memphis, TN

    St. Francis Hospital-Memphis
    Memphis, TN

    St. Judes Children's Research Hospital
    Memphis, TN

    St. Vincent's - Hot Springs
    Hot Springs, AR

    St. Vincent's - Little Rock
    Little Rock, AR

    Veteran's Affairs Hospital
    Memphis, TN 

    White County Medical Center
    Searcy, AR

  • Coursework Overview

    This integrated clinical didactic program combines academic and clinical anesthesia courses taught at Arkansas State University with many clinical sites listed in the A-State Student Nurse Anesthesia Handbook.

    Students spend the first and second semester in courses on the A-State-Jonesboro campus. During the third semester, students spend three days in clinical and two days in class per week. During the last six (6) semesters, students spend one day per week in class and a total of not more than 55 hours in clinical time. Class time for each course is based on 45 hours of class time and exams, for a 3 credit hour course.

    A total of 45 hours of class work is scheduled for each 3-hour course with the exception of clinical practicum courses. Total committed time is less than 64 hours per week averaged over a four week period. The program is a 28-month program with 88 semester hours of academic credit.

    Curriculum, degree requirements, and course details can be found in the most current A-State Graduate Bulletin.

    Visit the bulletins page >>

  • Questions

    If you have questions regarding the A-State Nurse Anesthesia Program, you may email the Nurse Anesthesia Director, Dr. Christie Zitzelberger-Black at czitzelberger@astate.edu or  Dr. Todd Hammon at lhammon@astate.edu.  You may also contact the School of Nursing at 870-972-3074 or the Nurse Anesthesia Department directly at 870-680-8187.

  • Program Outcomes

    Expected Outcomes

    Nurse Anesthesia graduates will demonstrate knowledge, skills and competencies in patient safety, perianesthetic management, critical thinking, communication, and competencies needed to enter nurse anesthesia practice in culturally diverse population, and to fulfill professional responsibilities.

    The Educational Outcomes of the Program are as follows: 

    Patient Safety

    Graduates will demonstrate patient safety by their ability to: 

    1. Be vigilant in the delivery of patient care in culturally diverse populations. 
    2. Protect patients from iatrogenic complications. 
    3. Participate in the positioning of patients to prevent injury. 
    4. Conduct a comprehensive and appropriate equipment check. 
    5. Utilize standard precautions and appropriate infection control measures. 

    Perianesthetic Management

    Graduates will demonstrate individualized perianesthetic management by their ability in:   

    1. Providing care throughout the perianesthetic continuum. 
    2. Using a variety of current anesthesia techniques, agents, adjunctive drugs, and equipment while providing anesthesia. 
    3. Administering general anesthesia to patients of all ages and physical conditions for a variety of surgical and medically related procedures. 
    4. Providing anesthesia services to all patients, including trauma and emergency cases. 
    5. Administering and managing regional anesthesia including regional blocks for pain management. 
    6. Functioning as a resource person for airway and ventilatory management of patients. 
    7. Possessing current advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) recognition. 
    8. Possessing current pediatric advanced life support (PALS) recognition. 
    9. Delivering culturally competent perianesthetic care throughout the anesthesia experience 

    Critical Thinking

    Graduates will demonstrate critical thinking by:   

    1. Applying knowledge to practice in decision-making and problem solving. 
    2. Providing Nurse Anesthesia care based on evidence-based practice.   
  • Program Statistics

    Arkansas State University Nurse Anesthesia Option graduated its first class in 2005. Since then, the Option has graduated over >600 students. The most recent cohort completed the program in April of 2020, whose attrition rate was 6%.  The five-year attrition rate for the Option is 9%.  Every student that was scheduled for graduation in May of 2020 successfully graduated on-time, despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  100% of these May 2020 graduates have passed the National Certification Exam (NCE).  Prior to this, the most recent cohort that had graduated was in May of 2019. The NCE first time pass rate for this cohort was 89% with 100% on the second attempt.  One hundred percent of these graduates received offers of employment.

    *2019 Sources of Employment Data:  Sources include personal contact with graduates, clinical site visits, and state and national meetings.

    *2020 Sources of Employment Data: Sources include the following:  personal contact with graduates, clinical site visits, and state and national meetings. 1 year post graduate surveys will be distributed in March of 2021 to further validate.



Accredited by COA

COA_Accreditation_Seal_FNL_4C-2The Nurse Anesthesia program is accredited by the The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, 222 S Prospect Avenue, Park Ridge, IL 60068-4001, Telephone: (847) 655-1160.


The program's next accreditation review is scheduled for May 2024.

Accredited by ACEN

ACEN LogoThe MSN program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, 3343 Peachtree Rd, NE, Suite #850, Atlanta, GA 30326, Telephone: (404) 975-5000, http://acenursing.org/.

The MSN program is also approved by the Arkansas State Board of Nursing.