By: 13 November 2015
First program of its kind offers advanced pain management fellowship to certified registered nurse anaesthetists

First program of its kind offers advanced pain management fellowship to certified registered nurse anaesthetists

As the first programme of its kind in the United States, an advanced pain management fellowship prepares Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) with the pain management skills necessary to meet the needs of Americans with chronic pain, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).

The fellowship is a partnership between the AANA, Park Ridge, Ill., and Hamline University School of Education, St Paul, Minn. It recently graduated its third class of nine CRNA fellows. The Advanced Pain Management Certificate Program is accredited by the council on accreditation of nurse anaesthesia educational programmes, and graduates are eligible to take a certification examination on non-surgical pain management offered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.

Since the beginning of the nurse anaesthesia profession, CRNAs have excelled at managing acute pain, such as the temporary pain from surgery. “The AANA-Hamline fellowship program is a natural progression of CRNAs learning to provide holistic care for chronic pain patients,” said AANA Senior Director of Education and Professional Development Bruce Schoneboom.

The post-graduate certificate fellowship in advanced pain management is just over a year in length and covers theoretical foundations of pain; imaging and radiation safety; assessment, diagnosis, and referral; pharmacology; interventional pain practice; spiritual aspects of health and illness; and non-allopathic aspects related to pain.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, “Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education and Research,” states that about 100 million American adults suffer from chronic pain, and the nation spends more than $600 billion annually in pain management medications.

The AANA also is an advocate and supporter of the PAINS Project ( and its four core messages:
• Chronic pain is a real and complex disease that may exist by itself or be linked with other medical conditions.
• Chronic pain is both an under-recognized and under-resourced public health crisis with devastating personal and economic impact.
• Effective chronic pain care requires access to a wide range of treatment options, including biomedical, behavioral health and complementary treatment.
• Denying appropriate care to people with chronic pain is unethical and can lead to unnecessary suffering, depression, disability and even suicide.

Under the guidance of experienced pain practitioners, the AANA-Hamline fellowship combines online classes with hands-on clinical work. There are 19 academic (didactic) credits and 240 mandatory clinical hours across four semesters.

The CRNAs who have graduated from the program practice primarily in underserved areas, including rural settings. The graduating CRNAs come from all over the United States to participate in this program, and upon graduation put their newfound knowledge and skills to work in their practices.