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Curriculum

DNAP student in simulation operating room checking vitals

The scope of nurse anesthesia is growing and expanding. Our curriculum reflects the rapidly changing industry, and contributes to our program’s status as a leader in nurse anesthesia education.

As a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) Postgraduate Degree Program student, you receive education and experiences in:

  • Doctor of nursing practice "essentials," such as leadership, evidence-based practice, epidemiology, informatics, ethics, education, and health care policy and delivery
  • Investigational theory
  • A wide variety of required and advanced nursing practice courses with an emphasis in the nurse anesthesia profession*

*More than 50% of the coursework is completed using a hybrid distance education format. Courses provided via distance education are provided in a hybrid mode of online and face-to-face instruction and discussion. Two-thirds of course content is in a distance education format, and one-third is conducted in a face-to-face classroom setting.

Program schedule

The CRNA Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice Postgraduate Degree Program can be completed on a part-time basis over the course of up to five years. 

Mayo Clinic's program meets the Standards and Guidelines for Schools of Nurse Anesthesia published by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs. No transfer credits are accepted for the CRNA DNAP degree.

Course requirements

All postgraduate degree completion certified registered nurse anesthetist students must successfully complete these course requirements:

CourseTitleCredits
NA6004* Introduction to Technology and the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice 2
NA6120* Nursing Information Management and Data-Based Decision-Making 3
NA6130* Organizational and Systems Leadership 3
NA6140* Evidence-Based Practice 3
NA6150* Health Policy/Quality Health Delivery 3
NA6423* Research Methods 2
NA6005* Advanced Concepts in Pharmacology, Pathophysiology and Physical Assessment 2
NA6501* Scholarly Project I: Planning 2
NA6502* Scholarly Project II: Implementation 3
NA6503* Scholarly Project III: Analysis 3
NA6504* Scholarly Project IV: Conclusions 4
NA6510 Scholarly Project Dissemination 4
  Total 34

*Course is provided in hybrid distance education format.

Postgraduate plan of study outline examples

View a PDF of full-time and part-time course sequencing examples.

Teaching faculty

The Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) Postgraduate Degree Program draws its faculty from Mayo Clinic's research, clinical, scientific, and educational staff. Faculty members are chosen for their commitment to teaching as well as clinical practice and research. Many have published and lectured extensively and are highly regarded in their fields. Nursing faculty from Winona State University are contracted to co-teach, with CRNA core faculty, four DNAP “Essential” courses. These courses are taught during the first year of the program.

Mary Shirk Marienau, APRN, CRNA, Ph.D.

Mary Shirk Marienau, APRN, CRNA, Ph.D.
Program Director

Dr. Marienau, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine and a Career Educator Consultant, completed her nursing studies at Allen College, Waterloo, Iowa, in 1971 and then obtained her B.A. in science at the University of Northern Iowa in 1976. She completed Mayo Clinic’s Nurse Anesthesia Program in 1979, obtained her Master of Science degree from Winona State in 1985, and her Ph.D. in adult education from the University of Minnesota in 2011.

She joined Mayo Clinic in 1979 as a CRNA where she was a Mayo staff and supervisor CRNA for 20 years. While a full-time clinical nurse anesthetist, she had a special interest in the education of student anesthetists and providing anesthesia for the pediatric, craniofacial, and pediatric liver transplant patients. She helped to develop the initial pediatric anesthesia transplant protocols at Mayo. Throughout the past 40 years as a nurse anesthetist, Dr. Marienau has taught a wide variety of courses and topics, including Pharmacology, Pediatrics, Professional Dimensions, Advanced Pathophysiology, Research Methods, Case Conferences, and Orientation to Clinical Anesthesia. She was named Assistant Program Director of Mayo’s Nurse Anesthesia Program in 1991 and in 1997 became the Mayo Clinic Director of Post Graduate Education for CRNAs and the Master of Nurse Anesthesia Program. She graduated the first class of Master of Nurse Anesthesia students in 1998. She spearheaded the eight-year process that developed Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) degree. The program accepted its first DNAP students in 2014 and graduated its first DNAP class in January 2018.

Dr. Marienau has authored or co-authored numerous articles, which focused on multiple aspects of clinical practice. Her other areas of investigation and publication have highlighted education processes for both student anesthetists and CRNAs. Her original Ph.D. research resulted in the creation of a grounded theory, as described in her dissertation titled Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists’ Professional Recertification Process: A Grounded Theory. She has been involved in Mayo Clinic research instruction and as co-investigator for more than 100 research projects. These investigations used a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, including retrospective and prospective research, surveys, and focus groups.

Dr. Marienau was the national chair of the AANA Education Committee (1999-2000). She has also served as chair, vice chair, secretary/treasurer, and board member of the Council on Accreditation (COA) of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (2005-2015). She was an on-site visitor for the COA for more than 20 years. In addition to the nurse anesthesia program, MCSHS and Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine committee and taskforce memberships, she has also been a member of a variety of accreditation-related national committees and workgroups. She is a member of the Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. She has received the Mayo Karis, MCSHS Faculty Service, MCSHS Outstanding Educator, and Mayo’s Excellence in Leadership awards. She has also received the Allen College Outstanding Alumni and the MN Association of Nurse Anesthetists’ Outstanding Professional Achievement awards.

Beth Elliott, M.D.

Beth Elliott, M.D.
Medical Director

Dr. Beth Elliott, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, completed her undergraduate education in biology from Western Kentucky University in 1977. She completed medical school at the University of Louisville in 1981, and her residency in anesthesiology and fellowship in Neuroanesthesia and Regional Anesthesia/Pain Management at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Elliott joined the staff of the Department of Anesthesiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1985 where she currently holds the title of Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and has served as the Medical Director of the Nurse Anesthesia Program since 1991.

Dr. Elliott’s practice interests include anesthesia for thoracic, major spine, orthopedic, and trauma surgery. Her research interests include gender issues in medicine and medical education, latex allergy, and regional anesthesia. She has received numerous awards for her dedication to clinical practice and education, including the Faculty Service Award (1994), Outstanding Physician/Scientist Award (2005), Department of Anesthesiology Distinguished Clinician Award (2006), and Distinguished Mayo Educator Award (2006, 2009). She is a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Erin Martin, APRN, CRNA

Erin Martin, APRN, CRNA
Associate Program Director

Dr. Martin, Instructor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, joined the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Program faculty in 2010, and became the Associate Program Director in 2015. She is a 1999 graduate of Allen College, and a 2005 graduate of the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences Master of Nurse Anesthesia Program. She completed a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Winona State University in 2013, during which she spearheaded a project focused on patient education regarding analgesic options for labor and delivery.

Dr. Martin was intimately involved in the conversion of the Nurse Anesthesia Program from a master’s program to a doctoral program. She was part of the team that developed curriculum and research/project guidelines for the DNAP program. She has interests in curriculum and workshop development. She teaches Organizational and Systems Leadership and Statistics and Research Methods in the DNAP Program. Her research interests include obstetric anesthesia, complementary approaches in the field of anesthesia, and quality improvement. She is a member of the Mayo Clinic Values Education Committee and is involved in Values and Professionalism education in Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.

Dr. Martin is an on-site administrative reviewer for the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs and is a former abstract reviewer for the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists and is a member of the Professional Development Committee for the Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists. She received the Saint Marys Hospital - CRNA Educator Award from the graduating class of 2007, and the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences Outstanding Educator Award in 2017.

Grading or evaluation

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences uses evaluative tools and activities that include:

  • Written examination
  • Demonstration of leadership and education skills
  • Class and seminar presentations
  • Class participation
  • Referenced papers
  • Self-assessment exercises
  • Faculty reviews

Mayo's system of evaluation provides students and faculty with a comprehensive look at individual performance. This allows faculty and administrative staff to direct students who are experiencing academic difficulty to the appropriate support resources, including tutoring programs and counseling opportunities.

Grades are based on a percentage. Retesting may be required for test or assignment scores below 70%. A score less than 70% is considered a failure.

Curriculum enhancements

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is committed to developing and maintaining the best education programs. The curriculum of this program is assessed continually and changed as necessary to ensure the highest quality education.