Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Nurse Anesthesiology Specialty (BSN-DNP)

The NMSU School of Nursing is launching a new DNP degree concentration in Nurse Anesthesiology with a focus on rural health and health disparities. Graduates will be qualified to take the national certification exam administered by the National Boards of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists to become certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). CRNAs complete a three-year doctoral program with rigorous didactic courses and a minimum of 2000 hours of supervised clinical training. New Mexico’s hospitals have a critical need for anesthesia providers throughout the state due to nation-wide shortages and difficulty recruiting providers, especially to rural healthcare centers.

This specialty track in the DNP program is designed for BSN-prepared RNs with at least one year of full-time critical care/ICU experience.  RNs with a master’s degree in nursing are also eligible for admission if they have the required critical care/ICU experience.

The NMSU Nurse Anesthesiology program is pursuing initial accreditation by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), 222 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge, IL 60068; (847) 655-1160, The Nurse Anesthesiology program is undertaking capability review and is planning for an accreditation decision in October 2023. Applying for accreditation does not guarantee that accreditation will be granted, and students cannot be enrolled in the program until accreditation is granted.

Applications for this will be open from October 1st 2022 to February 1st 2023

Degree Plan

A complete list of DNP courses can be found in  NMSU’s Academic Catalog.

General Program Information

The following are criteria for Nurse Anesthesiology DNP program enrollment:

  • First year DNP Nurse Anesthesiology (DNP-NA) students are required to attend a 2-day on-campus orientation during the first week of classes in Fall semester.
  • Second- and third-year DNP-NA students are required to attend advanced skills and simulation-based training held at the NMSU Las Cruces campus every semester.
  • Prior to starting clinical rotations, students will be required to submit a criminal background check and toxicology screen (medicinal marijuana is prohibited) and other clinical clearance requirements outlined in the   DNP and Post Graduate APRN Certificate Student Handbook. Failure to provide these items will result in a failure to progress or program dismissal. Positive toxicology results and/or criminal background checks that do not meet NMSU School of Nursing clinical clearance requirements can result in program dismissal. Individuals with potential criminal background issues should consult the New Mexico Board of Nursing for advisement prior to applying to the program.

The NMSU Nurse Anesthesiology program requires a minimum of 2550 hours clinical hours. Clinical hours are defined by COA as follows: “Clinical hours include time spent in the actual administration of anesthesia (i.e., anesthesia time) and other time spent in the clinical area. Examples of other clinical time would include in-house call, pre-anesthesia assessment, postanesthetic assessment, patient preparation, operating room preparation, and time spent participating in clinical rounds.”  Hours spent in simulation training or in DNP project practica do not count as clinical hours.

General policies for clinical practicum experiences:

  • Nurse Anesthesiology program faculty will assign students to clinical training sites and identify preceptors for clinical practica.
  • Please be aware that it can take 2-6 months to establish an affiliation agreement if one is not already in place.
  • If a student wishes to conduct a practicum or conduct their DNP program at an alternate site, they must first get written permission from the Nurse Anesthesiology program director and ensure that an affiliation agreement with the NMSU School of Nursing is in place with COA-approved nurse anesthesia education program language.
  • Students will receive additional information about clinical courses during the program orientation. 
To be determined. In addition to NMSU graduate tuition, this program will have a tuition differential.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Application Process and Admission Criteria

Apply to the Nurse Anesthesiology DNP program through the NMSU Graduate School (here):

  1. Create an account.
  2. Select the 2023-24 Graduate Admission Application.
  3. GR Enrollment Information:
    • Campus = NMSU – Las Cruces Campus
    • Enrollment Status = New Graduate from In-State or Out of State
    • Degree = Doctorate
    • Intended Major (Doctorate) = Nursing Practice (Nurse Anesthesiology)
    • Starting Semester = Fall 2023

Enter requested information and be prepared to upload the following documents to the web-based application:

  1. Current CV/resume
  2. Unencumbered RN license or APRN license
  3. Unofficial transcripts from nursing programs/degrees (official transcripts will be requested)
  4. Professional Essay: 1) Describe how your training and experience has prepared you for the role of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). 2) Discuss your aspirations and goals as a future advanced practice leader, including service to rural and/or underserved communities.
  5. A two to four (2-4) page essay describing an example of a problem in clinical practice that could be impacted by a quality improvement process and could be the basis for your DNP Project. For more information on the scope of the final DNP project, please refer to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing DNP Guidelines.
  6. Three letters of recommendation, one academic, two professional (one from direct supervisor and one preferably from anesthesia provider). References should be recent, written for the purpose of your application to this program and from professors who know you as a student or employers who know you as a professional in a job setting preferably in a supervisory role. Personal references from colleagues, friends, or family members do not meet the requirement. One letter should be from a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) who you had a shadowing experience.
  7. NMSU CRNA Shadow Experience Log(s) – compile into one PDF
  8. GRE scores are accepted but not required
  9. TOEFL or IELTS scores if English is not your first language (see NMSU Information regarding the TOEFL or IELTS for Graduate Students)

Request official transcripts from all prior college and universities attended to be sent directly to the NMSU School of Nursing and to the Graduate School (you will need to request 2 sets of transcripts).

Graduate School, MSC 3-GS
New Mexico State University
PO Box 30001
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001

NMSU School of Nursing
SON Advising Office
New Mexico State University
P.O. Box 30001
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001

The Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesiology (DNP-NA) is a limited-enrollment program with a rigorous admissions process. We anticipate that the number of applicants will greatly exceed the number of positions available.

NMSU Graduate School Admission Requirements:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree or an advanced degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education. The accrediting agency must be recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA in prior degree coursework

Program-specific Requirements

  • Certificate of admission from the NMSU Graduate School
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from a nationally accredited institution of higher education. Accrediting agency must be recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation AND a nursing program that is accredited by either the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
  • An unencumbered license as a registered professional nurse and/or an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in the United States or its territories or protectorates. Upon matriculation all students must have an RN license in the state of New Mexico (or a compact state).
  • A minimum of 1-year full-time work experience, or its part-time equivalent, as a registered nurse in a critical care setting at the time of the application deadline. The applicant must have developed as an independent decision maker capable of using and interpreting advanced monitoring techniques based on knowledge of physiological and pharmacological principles. Best qualified candidates have at least 2-5 years of critical care experience and are certified as a critical care registered nurse (CCRN).
  • Minimum of one (1) year experience as an RN in a critical care setting (ICU or Pediatric ICU units only) in a U.S. hospital at the time of application deadline.
  • ACLS, PALS and BLS certification prior to enrollment and that will remain current through the first semester.

Application admission scores are based on BSN (and if applicable MSN) GPA, science course GPA, relevant clinical experience, leadership experience, letters of reference, professional essay, and overall impression.

After an initial review of applications, selected applicants will be invited to attend an interview with Nurse Anesthesiology faculty via videoconferencing. 


Interested applicants should contact:

  • Anthony Castro, SON Graduate Advisor
  • PH: 575-646-2772
  • Email: