School of Health Professions

History of the DNP Program

Media Component

The Baylor College of Medicine Doctor of Nursing Practice Program-Nurse Anesthesia has historic roots dating back to the 1960s. In 1968, the Harris County Hospital District, Baylor’s primary clinical partner, opened a School of Nurse Anesthesia. The program was designed as a 23-month course of study awarding a certificate of completion and eligibility to take the national certification examination for nurse anesthetists. The majority of the clinical learning experiences were offered at Ben Taub Hospital, a Level 1 Trauma Center and the primary hospital in the HCHD. In 1976, Baylor assumed administrative responsibility for the HCHD program and agreed to provide the majority of the instruction to the students. 

In 1983, the HCHD certificate program transitioned to a Master of Science framework under the auspices of BCM. The College became the sixth nurse anesthesia program in the country to move to the master's level. The program was designed as a 30-month program awarding a Master of Science degree in nurse anesthesia. The clinical learning experiences remained primarily at Ben Taub but also included the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center, Houston Methodist, and Texas Children's Hospital.

In 2011, the Master of Science program transitioned to a Doctor of Nursing Practice program. Baylor continued to lead this national trend, becoming the fifth program in the country to transition to the entry-into-practice doctoral framework. The program is designed in two tracks including a BSN-DNP track for RNs desiring to become CRNAs and an MS-DNP track for masters-prepared CRNAs desiring to obtain the DNP degree. The BSN-DNP track is 36 months in length and the MS-DNP track is 24 months in length. All graduates receive a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

On Aug. 1, 2011, the Baylor DNP Program opened its state-of-the-art high-fidelity simulation center. The simulation center includes a METI Human Patient Simulator, the most technologically advanced simulator on the market. In addition, the center includes a Sonosite ultrasound machine and anatomic ultrasound models for teaching peripheral nerve blocks, neuraxial techniques, and central vascular access. The Olympus videoscope tower provides the opportunity for students to develop competency in the management of difficult airways. The Laerdal pediatric and infant simulation manikins, in combination with the METI HPS, provide opportunities to simulate anesthetic scenarios across the lifespan. The center also contains a variety of task trainers for other anesthesia related skills such as airway management.

The combination of didactic, simulation, and clinical experiences have allowed Baylor's Doctor of Nursing Practice Program-Nurse Anesthesia to become one of the most respected programs in the country.