The Minneapolis School of Anesthesia enjoys the advantages of several hospitals working together toward common purposes. The institutions that participate in this joint venture are Hennepin County Medical Center, University of Minnesota Medical Center, North Memorial Medical Center, Fairview Southdale Hospital and Methodist Hospital in Minneapolis; and United Hospitals and HealthEast in St. Paul. HealthEast facilities, used by the School, include St. John’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and Woodwinds Health Campus.
It is difficult to determine the early history of this School. It evolved from the School established by Dr. Ralph Knight in 1928 at the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis General Hospitals. Six months were spent at each hospital by students in the school. Affiliations were developed with St. Mary’s Hospital in Minneapolis and Miller Hospital in St. Paul. Alice Anderson, CRNA, was Supervisor of Anesthetists.
Eventually the program was moved from the University of Minnesota to the Minneapolis General Hospital and in 1948 the program was renamed Minneapolis General School of Anesthesia. Affiliations continued. Mrs. Martha Lundgaard, CRNA, was the Supervisor of Anesthetists from 1940 to 1951.
Dr. Christine Furman, MD served as Director of the School from 1950 through September, 1968. The School received full accreditation from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists in 1952, when the accreditation program became available. The program has remained accredited since that time. The date of last review by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs was May of 2015; the next review date is Spring, 2025.
Affiliations with St. Mary’s Hospital and with Miller Hospital were discontinued. St. Mary’s Hospital formed its own school of nurse anesthesia in 1953. Other affiliations were formed with Asbury, Abbott, Fairview, North Memorial, and Swedish Hospitals. The affiliation with Abbott Hospital was terminated during the 1950s. In October, 1971, Swedish Hospital and St. Barnabas Hospital merged to form Metropolitan Medical Center, and Fairview Southdale Hospital became a member hospital. Metropolitan Medical Center resigned from the Corporation in October, 1976 and United Hospitals of St. Paul became a member of the program in September, 1977. The Baptist Hospital Fund, Inc., with Midway Hospital and Mounds Park Hospital, both of St. Paul, as clinical sites, was an Associate Member from August, 1980 through September, 1985. In June, 1988 HealthEast became a member. Hospitals involved include St. John’s Hospital Northeast and St. Joseph’s Hospital. In 2006, Woodwinds Health Campus became a HealthEast member. Fairview Ridges Hospital was an associate member from 1991 until 2004. In 1953, the program was lengthened from twelve to fifteen months; and in 1960, from fifteen to eighteen months. In 1975 the program was lengthened to twenty-four months and in 1995 to its current twenty-seven months.
Ownership of the School changed from the Minneapolis General Hospital to a cooperative arrangement between the participating hospitals in 1957, and the name was changed to Minneapolis School of Anesthesia for Nurses. At that time, Dr. Furman was authorized to admit students from Saint Mary’s Hospital School of Anesthesia; and later, students from Bethesda Hospital School of Anesthesia, St. Paul. Also, those attending the Minnesota State Board of Health’s six-week refresher course for graduate nurse anesthetists could attend the lectures.
Although the quality of the teaching program was excellent, the organizational structure, as provided by the five participating hospitals, needed improvement. To remedy this, the School was incorporated in May, 1967. Articles of Incorporation were filed and bylaws were drawn outlining the purpose and objectives of the school.
The School is governed by a Board of Directors, composed of two CRNAs elected by the Board, an administrator and an anesthesiologist from each hospital. The Program Director is an ex-officio voting member of the Board. The Board elects officers from its members on an annual basis.
On October 7, 1968, the Board of Directors appointed Dr. Sandra J. Kilde, CRNA, EdD as Program Director. Dr. Kilde served the profession in numerous capacities at both the state and national level. She was President of the Minnesota Association of Nurse Anesthetists from 1975-1976. In 1977, Dr. Kilde was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. She served as Director of Region 4 from 1977-1979, Vice President from 1979-1980, President-elect from 1980-1981 and President of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists from 1981-1982. She also served as the Chair of the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. Dr. Kilde resigned from the Program Director’s position on June 30, 1996.
On April 1, 1970, Mrs. Mabel R. Wilson, CRNA, was appointed Assistant Director. Mrs. Wilson resigned from the school on February 20, 1976 and on May 17, 1976, Mr. Raymond Jung, CRNA, MA was appointed Assistant Program Director to fill the vacancy. He resigned March 2, 1984. On May 23, 1977, Richard Schaffer, CRNA, BSNA, was appointed Educational Director. He resigned February 8, 1980.
At the time of Mr. Schaffer’s resignation, CRNA positions at the School were redefined. Mr. Jung became Education Director, but retained his Assistant Director responsibilities. The third CRNA position was completely changed to that of Clinical Director and on March 10, 1980, Mr. Glen Ramsborg, CRNA, MA, assumed that position. Mr. Ramsborg left the School March 15, 1984.
The School employed Dr. Norman F. Paradise, PhD, as Associate Director, August 6, 1984. Dr. Paradise’s primary area of responsibility was the didactic program, teaching biophysical sciences and advising students in their Research Preparation and Presentation. He brought years of nurse anesthesia education experience to the Program. Dr. Paradise moved to Akron, Ohio, leaving the School, December 31, 1989.
On July 1, 1996, Dr. Rebecca L. Madsen Gombkoto, DNP, APRN, CRNA, was appointed Program Director. She had been employed as the Associate Director since January 8, 1990. Dr. Gombkoto was a graduate of the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia and had participated in classroom instruction for three years prior to being employed by the School. She was also Clinical Coordinator at Hennepin County Medical Center for two years. Dr. Gombkoto served as an on-site reviewer for the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) from 1995-2005 and as a consultant to the COA from 2002-2005. From 2005-2011, she was an educator member on the COA. Dr. Gombkoto served as Vice-Chair of the COA from 2007-2008 and as Chair from 2008-2010. Additionally, she was a member of the AANA Task Force on Doctoral Preparation of Nurse Anesthetists. Dr. Gombkoto served as the Chair of the COA Standard Revision Task Force from 2011-2014. Dr. Gombkoto resigned from the Program Director’s position on January 8, 2016.
Vicky Hill, CRNA, MS, became Clinical Director April 29, 1991. Ms. Hill was a graduate of St. Mary’s Hospital School of Anesthesia in Minneapolis. The School contracted with Fairview University Medical Center for Ms. Hill’s service on a half-time basis. Ms. Hill resigned in October, 1998.
Dr. Michael P. O’Donnell was employed as Didactic Director on January 1, 1997. Dr. O’Donnell has his PhD in Physiology. He had been a didactic instructor at the School for 14 years prior to his appointment. Dr. O’Donnell was also a Senior Investigator at the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation. Dr. O’Donnell served on the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists (CCNA) Self Evaluation Committee from 2000-2003, a Certification Examination item writer from 2006-2008 and a member of the Certification Examination Committee from 2008-2010. Dr. O’Donnell resigned his position as Didactic Director on December 31, 2012; however, he continues to teach the basic science and research portions of the curriculum.
In February, 1999, Dr. Mary Anne Krogh, PhD, APRN, CRNA was hired as Associate Director. Dr. Krogh graduated from the Minneapolis school of Anesthesia in 1995. She had served as the Clinical Coordinator at Hennepin County Medical Center since 1996 and had taught Principles of Anesthesia Practice IV and VI. Dr. Krogh served on the CCNA Certification Examination Committee from 2003-2007. She was elected to the CCNA in 2006. Dr. Krogh retired from the School in April, 2011.
Dr. Lisa Maw, DNP, APRN, CRNA, was appointed as the Program Director on January 9, 2016. She had been employed as the Associate Director since April 14, 2011. Dr. Maw graduated from the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia in 1993. She had worked as a clinical instructor for the School in her capacity as a CRNA at hospitals served by Associated Anesthesiologists, P. A. She had served as the Clinical Coordinator at both St. Paul Children’s Hospital and Maplewood Surgery Center. Dr. Maw taught a Principles of Anesthesia Practice course from 1993-1995.
Dr. Andrew Johnson-Cowley, DNP, APRN, CRNA, was appointed Associate Director on January 5, 2015. Dr. Johnson-Cowley graduated from the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia in 1999. He had worked as a clinical instructor for the School at Fairview Southdale Hospital. Dr. Johnson-Cowley serves as a professor for several didactic courses at the School and has taught courses at the school since 2001.
Dr. Travis Laffoon, DNP, APRN, CRNA, was appointed Associate Director on May 1, 2020. Dr. Laffoon graduated from Baptist Health/Murray State University with his MSN in 2015. He completed his DNP from Murray State University in 2018. Dr. Laffoon previously worked as a CRNA clinical instructor and university faculty at Baptist Health/Murray State in Madisonville, KY.
Dr. Beth Quaas, DNP, APRN, CRNA was appointed Associate Director on January 4, 2021. Dr. Quaas graduated from the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia in 1999 with a Master’s Degree in Nurse Anesthesia and she graduated from St. Scholastica in 2010 with a Doctor of Nursing Practice. Dr. Quaas works as a casual employee at several facilities in Duluth, MN. Dr. Quaas previously taught at St. Scholastica in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program from 2010-2012.
Kari Urness was hired as Administrative Assistant in May, 2019.
The admission policy of the School changed from a quarterly admission to an annual admission in October, 1968, at which time didactic changes were made. In April, 1969, St. Mary’s Hospital and Bethesda Hospital withdrew their students because they retained their quarterly admission. Students from Abbott Northwestern Hospital School of Anesthesia affiliated for lectures in 1973, and again in 1984 through May of 1992.
In October, 1972, representatives from the School met with Dr. Catherine Warrick, PhD, Dean of Learning Development, Metropolitan State University, to seek academic recognition for courses taught at the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia. In February, 1973, the School received a letter from Dr. Warrick stating that graduates who are certified will be admitted to the college as senior students, recognizing the program in nurse anesthesia and giving nurse anesthetists credit for one full academic year of work while students in anesthesia school.
In February, 1973, the student organization undertook a major project of conducting an educational seminar for students and graduates throughout the area. This was a successful endeavor and has become an annual event with over 250 students, graduates, and exhibitors attending each year. In August, 1978 the school relocated to St. Louis Park, Minnesota after having been situated in Minneapolis since its inception. Offices and classrooms are presently located in the Lenox Community Center Building.
In 1982, the School entered into an arrangement with Saint Mary’s College of Minnesota. In 1995 Saint Mary’s attained University status and the name of the institution was changed to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. The main campus is located in Winona, Minnesota, but the graduate program in nurse anesthesia is conducted at the Twin Cities Campus. Students co-enroll in the nurse anesthesia graduate program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. Upon completion of required courses, the University awards the Master of Science Degree in Nurse Anesthesia. Course work offered at the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia is awarded graduate credit by the University. In December, 1983, the first Minneapolis School of Anesthesia students to receive the Master of Science Degree were graduated from Saint Mary’s College. The cooperative agreement with Saint Mary’s University and the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia will end on July 1, 2019 with a teach out of the remaining Master’s students in the program.
On May 5, 2018, the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia entered into a cooperative agreement with Metropolitan State University to provide the remaining future Master’s cohorts and our future Doctor of Nursing Practice cohorts their respective degrees. This programmatic change was approved by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. The first Master’s cohort at Metropolitan State University matriculated in Fall 2019 and the first Doctor of Nursing Practice cohort will matriculate in Summer 2020.
In June, 2020, the Minneapolis School of Anesthesia received approval of its Doctor of Nursing Practice curriculum through our accrediting body, the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational programs.
The curriculum for the nurse anesthesia program is based upon the requirements of the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. Students are admitted in August of each year and receive class work in Principles of Anesthesia Practice, Chemistry, Physics, Anatomy, Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, Advanced Health Assessment, and Professional Aspects of Anesthesia. Clinical experience is provided at the member hospitals, where over 100,000 surgical procedures are performed annually in all specialty areas. Students are supervised and instructed by anesthesiologists and certified registered nurse anesthetists. Each hospital has appointed a clinical coordinator to help manage student clinical experiences. Special experiences include pediatrics and regional anesthesia.