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FGCU nurse anesthesiologists will be doctors for first time

Dr. Robert Bland
Andrea Melendez/WGCU
Dr. Robert Bland

Florida Gulf Coast University has been training nurse anesthesiologists since about 2006, but it’s still not a well-known specialty.

Dr. Robert Bland teaches in the program.

“Nurse anesthesiology is basically the same as medical anesthesiology in that we provide perioperative care to any patients needing surgery or anesthesia for procedures,” he said.

This year is the first year that all graduates of this program will have a doctorate of nursing practice (or DNP).

Students enter the 3-year program with at least a four-year BSN degree and at least a year of practical critical care experience.

They learn the art and science of nurse anesthesiology through simulation.

“We have a fairly state of the art  simulation center where we have  mannequins that not only can breathe and have a pulse they can actually talk to you,” said Bland.

Students continue their training on real patients, working together with medical teams in local hospitals.

Editor's note: WGCU received several letters concerned over the use of the title “nurse anesthesiologist” in the above article. In clarification of that we offer the following:

"A final order filed by the State of Florida Board of Nursing on Sept 13, 2019, states in part:

“A review of the allopathic and osteopathic medicine practice acts (Chapters 458 and 459, Florida Statutes, respectively) does not reveal that the term “anesthesiologist” is protected and requires licensure from either of the two Medical Boards. The only time the term “anesthesiologist” is used in either practice act is when describing the duties of an anesthesiology associate (Section 458.3475 and Section 459.023, Florida Statues) and both statutes specify that the definition of the term “anesthesiologist” applies only as the term is used in that particular and specific section of each of the medical practice acts. Therefore, it is not a protected term to be used exclusively by a physician licensed pursuant to either Chapter 458 or 459, Florida Statutes.”

Furthermore, the order goes on to say that petitioner who brought the motion before the board, Dr. Christopher McDonough, “… should be able to use either the phrase ‘nurse anesthetist’ or ‘nurse anesthesiologist’ to describe him or his professional duties.”

WGCU stands by the use of “nurse anesthesiologist” in the above article.

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