Doctorate Degree Programs in Anesthesiology

This article focuses on the Doctor of Nursing with a focus in anesthesiology (DNAP). Here we see what is required to get into such a program and what sort of course materials one may expect from such a program. Schools offering Anesthesia Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What May You Take in a Doctoral Anesthesiology Program?

There are a few degree options if one wants to work in anesthesiology, such as Doctor of Nursing Anesthesia Practice (DNAP), Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). The two latter programs focus on anesthesia in the later years of medical school, such as in residencies, and are not considered true doctorates but professional degrees. We primarily focus on the DNAP, for which programs typically take between one and three years to complete, depending on what previous education you have already attained, with the following courses being typical.

Principles of Anesthesiology

This area of study offers you both the theoretical and practical knowledge you need to be ready for the field. It may introduce you to the physics and the chemistry surrounding anesthesiology, including the different types of anesthesiology available and when to use each type. You are likely to be given an introduction into the practices, equipment, and the ethical and legal considerations that surround the practice.

Perioperative Practices

These kinds of courses will likely walk you through what can be expected of you before an operation is performed. These courses can also define your scope, as in what you can or cannot do, legally or professionally. This can include any pre-operative exams you may have to do of the patient, any information or confirmation you may need to give to the patient, and the operating room procedures and practices you may be expected to uphold.

Health Care Ethics

The idea often behind this type of course is to provide you with the tools you may need to navigate ethical dilemmas. You may look at the various influences of ethics including race, gender, sexual orientation and autonomy, working your way through common scenarios that may arise and what responsibilities you may have. You may also learn about any professional code of ethics that may exist and the general ethical practices and principles that exist in the profession.

Human Anatomy

Here you can cover many of the systems of the human body and their interactions with one another. This may also be where you cover the effects anesthesiology can have on the body. You may also consider how the patient's physiology may affect anesthesiology use.


You are likely to cover both the general principles of pharmacology and the ways that anesthesia can affect certain medications or how certain medications can affect anesthesia. You can learn about the biochemical reactions that may take place and how these affect anesthesia. This education can allow you to figure out how to adjust anesthesia doses to fit a patient's medication needs and/or to figure out whether a patient can use their medication in the lead up to surgery.

Patient Safety

These kinds of courses can give you the tools to optimize patient care and safety. You may explore the basis of human error, including where and why these incidents occur. You can learn about crisis management and act out simulations to work your way through possible situations that occur in a low-risk environment. These courses can give you tools to become a better patient advocate and to recognize when the patient may be entering an unsafe situation.

Getting Into a DNAP Program

Admittance requirements vary slightly between the programs. For a DNAP, you will generally require an active nursing license with at least a bachelor's degree in nursing; however, having a master's can often get you into shorter programs. However, unlike an MD or DO program, you will not need to pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). You will likely be required to submit any post-secondary transcripts you may have. You may also have to collect letters of recommendation, and for a DNAP program they generally want at least one reference from a professional source. If you pass this first round of the admission process, you may also be asked to come in for an interview.

If you want to earn a doctoral degree in anesthesiology, you can expect to take courses concerning anesthesiology and its possible effects on the body, along with some general health courses including ethics and human anatomy. When applying for the program of your choice, be sure to have letters of reference, and if you make it through the first application round, be ready for an interview.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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