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Educational Opportunities

School of Nurse Anesthesia History

The School of Nurse anesthesia was founded to address the chronic shortage of nurse anesthetists in Cleveland. The program was founded in the winter of 1968-1969 by Marietta "Del" Porter CRNA, Audrey Spence CRNA, with the support and encouragement of Carl Wasmuth MD, Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology. Dr. Wasmuth appointed Del Porter, a dedicated and respected CRNA, to become the school's first director. In January 1969 the program had its' first students enrolled; and by the following year 17 students were being trained to become nurse anesthetists. Upon graduation, Cleveland Clinic employed many of the first graduates. The school continued as a 24 month hospital based certificate program until 1989 when the School of Nurse Anesthesia affiliated with the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University. This new affiliation brought together a nationally recognized School of Nursing and a nurse anesthesia program set in an internationally recognized health care institution. The program's length was increased to 28 months. The graduates continue to receive their certificates from Cleveland Clinic and their Master of Science in Nursing degree from the Case Western Reserve University.

The program has over 400 graduates to its credit and it continues to flourish. In 2011, the Nurse Anesthesia Graduate Program was ranked #7 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. The graduate students, on average, administer 800 anesthetics and obtain 1800 hours of clinical time in the operation room during their time at Cleveland Clinic. In addition to clinical training at Cleveland Clinic main campus, graduate students also rotate to Cleveland Clinic facilities throughout the health system, Fairview Hospital for obstetric anesthesia, and Marymount Ambulatory Surgical Center for outpatient anesthesia.

The nurse anesthesia program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Nurse Anesthesia educational programs through 2013.

Financial Support

Cleveland Clinic's Anesthesiology Institute provides financial support to the graduate students in the form of a stipend. Students are paid $1000 each month for 28 months, are employed by Cleveland Clinic, and are provided healthcare and malpractice insurance at no cost. For this support, Cleveland Clinic requires each student to sign a contract for a 2.5 year employment commitment after graduation in one of Cleveland Clinic's hospitals or surgery centers. Graduates are paid a competitive wage based on annually reviewed salary surveys. This is an ideal opportunity for nurses to not only receive an education at Cleveland Clinic, but to apply their knowledge and skills post-graduation in a supportive, Cleveland Clinic, environment.


Applicants to the program must meet the following criteria:

  • Registered nurse with Ohio licensure
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • A minimum of one year's experience as a registered nurse in an acute care setting (acute care defined as nursing experience in an intensive care unit, post-anesthesia recovery unit (PACU), or emergency room (ER)

How to apply

To receive an application for the program, candidates should first contact the School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University at All applications will be processed through the university. Applicants must first be admitted to graduate school at the university to be granted an interview for the nurse anesthesia program. The number of applicants to the program always exceeds the number of available clinical positions.

Professional links

The scope of practice of Cardiothoracic Anesthesia Respiratory Therapy requires the therapists to remain knowledgeable, forward thinking and aware of current therapeutic options and treatment regimens. Cardiothoracic Anesthesia Respiratory Therapy offers many opportunities for the continuing education of the lifelong learner. Currently, therapists are offered many CEUs at no cost to the practitioner. Topics are evolving continually and include but are not limited to:

  • The clinical application of evidence-based medicine
  • Creating patient-centric process maps
  • Adventures in cardiopulmonary simulation
  • Lung-protective ventilation
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia and ventilator associated event reporting
  • Intubation and airway management
  • Current thought in weaning from mechanical ventilation
  • Advanced pulmonary mechanics
  • Care of the lung transplant recipient
  • Enterprise guided classes in personal and professional development

The Cardiothoracic Anesthesia Respiratory Therapy Clinical Ladder Program allows for individual career advancement and the dissemination of departmental policy and practice in a consistent fashion.

Educational possibilities continue to expand with the ever-changing landscape of clinical practice. The Cardiothoracic Anesthesia Education Team will continue to meet the challenges of these increased clinical demands with new educational programs and opportunities.

The Cardiothoracic Anesthesia Respiratory Therapy department wants the experience of new employees to be one of enthusiastic adaptation to a dynamic and innovative practice model. All new employees are teamed with preceptors who act as both mentors and facilitators of the orientation process. The preceptors work with our new employees as they are welcomed to the department, the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute and the Cleveland Clinic health system. This one-on-one teaching and mentoring eases the orientation process and provides new team members with experienced guides and advocates.

School Affiliations

Cardiothoracic Anesthesia Respiratory Therapy is affiliated with seven Respiratory Care Programs. During their clinical rotations, students from affiliated programs gain an understanding of advanced ventilator modalities, hemodynamic monitoring, chest x-ray interpretation, lung transplantation as well as countless other innovative therapies. The students also have the opportunity to attend lectures, view open heart surgeries and pursue individual areas of interest.

Should you require further information, please contact Brittany Conley at

Current Clinical Rotations

*In alphabetical order

Cuyahoga Community College
  • Two-year Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy
  • Full-time affiliation
  • 15 week clinical rotation
  • Case study presentations
Kent State University Ashtabula Campus
  • Two-year program Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy
  • Full-time affiliation
  • 15 week rotation
  • Case study presentations
Lakeland Community College
  • Two-year Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy
  • Full-time affiliation
  • Five-week clinical rotation
North Central State University
  • Two-year program Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy
  • Full-time affiliation
  • 15 week rotation
Ohio State University
  • Four-year Bachelor of Science in Allied Health Professions
  • Elective rotation
University of Akron
  • Four-year Bachelor of Science in Allied Health Professions
  • Elective rotation
  • Full-time affiliation
  • 15 Week clinical rotation
  • Case study presentations
Youngstown State University
  • Four-year Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Care
  • Optional Sleep Diagnostics Program
  • Full-time affiliation
  • Eight-week clinical rotation
  • Case study presentations