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Home > Majors and Programs > Master in Nurse Anesthesia
  • Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing
    and Excela Health School of Anesthesia

    Master's Degree in Nurse Anesthesia

    Saint Vincent College proudly offers a Masters in Health Sciences in Nurse Anesthesia in collaboration with Excela Health. In order to apply to this program, prospective students must apply first through Excela Health.  We enroll approximately 30 students each year for our 27 ½ month program, admission is highly competitive. Students come from a wide variety of settings, including CCU, ER, ICU, NICU, PACU, PICU, TICU and SICU.

    Students work closely with the faculty, as well as with the CRNAs in clinical areas to develop their skills. Faculty advisers are provided, as well as mentors from the senior class to offer a supportive learning environment.  Students develop a cohesive and family-like relationship with staff, clinicians and their cohort. However, competition is driven from within the individual, not among students, which makes this program unique to the field.

    We currently offer 23 clinical sites, ranging from small community facilities to large trauma hospitals. The variety of settings allow students to become familiar with multiple ways of administering an anesthetic in a wide range of situations. Students are required to perform 550 total cases by graduation, with most of our graduates completing well over 800 cases.

    Excela Health anesthesia students are well recognized in the field as professionals who are well-prepared and ready to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s health care world.

    A new class of graduate students will begin the fall of each year.  Students will be accepted to the program by February of the same year they plan to enter the program. To download application materials please see the "tools" on the left hand side of the page.

    All application materials should be sent to:
    Excela Health School of Anesthesia
    One Mellon Way
    Latrobe, PA 15650
    Located within Excela Latrobe Hospital, first floor, walk past the "Little Shop" and continue through the History Corridor, take first left before parking garage exit. Please check in with the administrative assistant.

    If you should have questions, please call:
    724-539-7608 (FAX) 

    Admission Requirements:   

    1. Current licensure as a registered professional nurse.
    2. Minimum of one year of nursing experience in an acute care setting.
    3. Baccalaureate degree in nursing or  diploma or associate degree in nursing plus a baccalaureate degree other than a BSN,
    providing the program considers it appropriate.

    Because of the time spent in nursing, our students should presumably be more mature and, hence, capable of coping with the stresses inherent in the anesthesia situation. In addition to having the above requirements, applicants must have an overall QPA of 3.0 or above in their undergraduate degree. Applicants need only to apply to Excela Health School of Anesthesia; they do not need to apply to Saint Vincent College. 

    Selection Criteria
    As with any school of higher education, to be accepted and successfully complete the program, applicants should have a mature attitude, a pleasant personality, and good health. All applicants will be considered without regard to race, gender, color, ethnicity, creed, marital status, age, sexual orientation, disability, or any other factor protected by law. After review of the applicants completed file he/she may be selected for a personal interview with the admissions committee. The Excela Health School of Anesthesia reserves the right to interview only those candidates who show potential to succeed. Selection will be made based on academic and clinical qualifications and recommendations of the admission interviewers.


    Excela Health School of Anesthesia will perform random drug testing and alcohol screening.  The screening will be administered fairly and consistently for all students in the program.  

    Required Application Materials (to be sent directly to school) 

    • Anesthesia School Application 
    • Application Fee ($65 yearly)
    • Photocopy of current RN Licensure (display portion, if applicable)
    • Photocopy of current BLS card
    • Photocopy of current ACLS card
    • Photocopies of other professional certifications (PALS, CCRN, etc.)
    • Three (3) letters of reference from individuals able to evaluate clinical performance (one reference must be from your current nurse manager)  
    • Professional Resume
    • Official nursing school transcripts/college transcripts from every institution of higher learning you have attended, even if you only took one class at that institution. (Transcripts are to be sent directly from institution of higher learning and are not to be included with the Application Packet.)  
    Please review this checklist to ensure you have successfully completed all components of the application.

    A complete application, including transcripts and fee, is required every year that you apply. The only exception is that WES transcripts may be used indefinitely, due to cost.  

    GRE Scores are preferred but not required. School DI Code: 0767.

    Policy for Transfer Students
    We do not accept transfer students at this time.


    Courses Required for Masters in Nurse Anesthesia ( 56 credits):

    HSC 001 Professional Aspects of Anesthesia Practice  0 credits
    HSC 500 Advanced Pharmacology I  3 credits
    HSC 501 Advanced Pharmacology II  3 credits
    HSC 503 Organic and Medicinal Chemistry  3 credits
    HSC 506  Biochemistry  2 credits
    HSC 505 Intro to Principles of Anesthesia  2 credits
    HSC 510 Methods of Research I  3 credits
    HSC 512 Medicinal Physics 3 credits
    HSC 515 Advanced Physical/Health Assessment 2 credits
    HSC 521 Advanced Human Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathophysiology I  5 credits
    HSC 522 Advanced Human Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathophysiology II  5 credits
    HSC 530 Anesthesia Didactics I  6 credits
    HSC 612 Methods in Research II  3 credits
    HSC 630 Anesthesia Didactics II  6 credits
    HSC 655 Advanced Theory and Practice of Anesthesia  4 credits
    HSC 660 Simulation Anesthesia Crisis Management 3 credits
    HSC 700 Leadership and Management for Nurse Anesthetists  3 credits 
    HSC 751 Clinical Hours 3 credits
    HSC 752 Clinical Hours 2 credits
    HSC 753 Clinical Hours 6 credits

    Michael A. DeBroeck, DNP, CRNA, Director
    Dr. DeBroeck joined the Excela Health School of Anesthesia as the education coordinator in October 2008. Mike graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, 1985. In 1995, he was awarded a Master of Health Science (Anesthesia) degree from Texas Wesleyan University, Fort Worth. Dr. DeBroeck received his Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Robert Morris University in 2011. He retired from the Air Force in 2005, where he held many anesthesia positions including director of anesthesia and director of perianesthesia services. His clinical experience includes a large amount of regional anesthesia in independent anesthesia settings as well as anesthesia in austere environments during deployments. Most recently he was employed as a CRNA at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital where he helped design the new anesthesia record, which is being used throughout the Excela Health system. He is on clinical staff at all Excela Health facilities and he currently teaches Anesthesia Didactics I & II and Introduction to Principles of Anesthesia as well as Capstone I, II, and III in the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice program. He is a frequent speaker at professional conferences.

     Susan M. Tranchine, CRNA, PhD. Assistant Director
    Dr. Tranchine is a graduate of the Excela Health School of Anesthesia and is a practicing CRNA in the Excela Health System. Having earned her MEd and PhD, Tranchine served as Director of Anesthesia Services at Citizen's General Hospital and Mercy Jeannette Hospital. In addition to her administrative and clinical duties, she has experience as an expert witness in anesthesia litigation and as a peer review consultant. She is an instructor in Didactics I & II as well as coordinator for Advanced Theory and Practice of Anesthesia and Capstone I, II, and III in the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice program.

    Saint Vincent College Faculty  

    James G. Barnett, PhD
    As a professor of biology, Dr. Barnett completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Animal Physiology at the University of California.  A former research fellow with the National Research Council/National Aeronautics and Space Administration, he came to Saint Vincent College in 1982 to teach biology.  His research interests include skeletal muscle biology and exercise physiology.

    Daryle H. Fish, PhD
    Dr. Fish is an associate professor of chemistry at Saint Vincent College.  He graduated from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  He joined the SVC faculty in 1992 and teaches a number of courses related to organic chemistry.  His research interests include chemical education, medicinal chemistry, synthetic organic chemistry, and polymer chemistry.

    Stephen Jodis, PhD
    Serving as the Dean of the Herbert Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Computing, Dr. Jodis was employed for 21 years at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Ga., where he held numerous leadership positions.  He is a graduate of Auburn University, Ala., with degrees in computer science and engineering.  His research interests have varied across the years from software transportation systems and software development environments to software metrics, computer science education, and, most recently, cyber security.  Dr. Jodis has participated in several National Science Foundation review panels.  He has also served as an ABET evaluator (ABET is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that accredits college and university programs in disciplines of applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology) for the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC) and is currently an ABET-CAC Commissioner.

    Michael E. Rhodes, PhD
    An associate professor of biology, Dr. Rhodes is a graduate of Saint Vincent College and Duquesne University with advanced degrees in Pharmacology.  He has served as a postdoctoral research fellow at Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, with continuing employment in the Department of Medicine as a research professor.  At obtained additional fellowship training at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.  Over the past 17 years, he has taught numerous pharmacology courses at Carlow University, Duquesne University and Saint Vincent College.  His laboratory focus encompasses sex differences and cholinergic regulation of stress-responsive hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal cortical axis.  He has published more than 35 peer reviewed, scientific articles, reviews, and book chapters, and has presented his findings at over 45 conferences.  He holds a U.S. patent.

    Dr. Matthew L. Hillwig, PhD
    An assistant professor of chemistry, Dr. Hillwig is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University – Behrend College and Iowa State University. Dr. Hillwig was awarded the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Fellowship for his doctoral research work. His work elucidates the biosynthesis of valuable, not readily synthesized, drug-related natural products. Prior to joining our faculty, Dr. Hillwig was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Pittsburgh. He teaches Biochemistry in the Nurse Anesthesia program

    John J. Smetanka, PhD
    Dr. Smetanka has been a member of Saint Vincent's full time faculty since 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean.  The Latrobe native earned his Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Carnegie Mellon University, a master of science and doctoral degrees in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Chicago.  Prior to joining the staff at SVC, Dr. Smetanka served as Vice President for Research and Development for On Target Mapping, a Pittsburgh-based software company specializing in the development of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  As part of the Math and Science Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania, Dr. Smetanka has taken part on a number of local workshops through the partnership as well as at the National Academy of Sciences on the evaluation and implementation of best practices for undergraduate science and mathematics education.  The recipient of many honors, he has authored/co-authored many publications and presentations.

    Adjunct Faculty  

    Howard Armour, CRNA, MS
    Armour is the former Program Director of the Excela Health School of Anesthesia, a position he held for nearly 30 years.  A graduate of St. Francis School of Nursing and the UPMC School of Anesthesia, he received a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree in counseling from California University of Pennsylvania.  He has co-authored two books, chemical dependency articles for PANA Tidings for several years, and a booklet on the Physics of Anesthesia.  He is the recipient of the PANA Program Director of the Year - 2003, and the 2004 Sister Marie Fiest Award for Academic Excellence in Teaching from La Roche College, Pittsburgh.  As past president of PANA, he has served on several state and national committees, is a U.S. Army veteran, and has served as a member of the Military Intelligence.

    Deana Guastaferro, CRNA, MHS
    Guastaferro knew she wanted to become a nurse at age 3 when her grandmother taught her how to administer insulin injections.  She received her bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Pittsburgh and worked in intensive care at UPMC Shadyside.  Following a traveling nurse assignment in California, she returned home to continue her education with the Excela Health School of Anesthesia and received her Masters of Health Science degree from Saint Vincent College.  Employed by the Western Pennsylvania Anesthesia Associates, she is a staff CRNA at Excela Westmoreland Hospital.

    Renee Harvey, CRNA, DNP
    Dr. Harvey graduated from Westmoreland-Latrobe Hospital School of Anesthesia in 1996 and is a staff CRNA at Uniontown Hospital.  She also served as Uniontown Hospital's clinical coordinator for the School of Anesthesia for many years.  She received her Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree from Robert Morris University in May 2011.

    James Wasnieski, CRNA
    A lifelong Pittsburgh resident, Wasnieski earned his Bachelor of Nursing degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Health Science degree from La Roche College.  The 2005 graduate of the Excela Health School of Anesthesia is employed at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital and considered a trauma/transplant specialist in nurse anesthesia.  A frequent guest lecturer, he is a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and an Iraq war veteran.  Beyond his service in Iraq, he was deployed to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he practiced solo anesthesia.  He is a representative to the bioterrorism committee at UPMC Presbyterian