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Tampa Bay’s First Graduating Class of AA's

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    Posted: 26 Aug 2011 at 10:08pm
Tampa Bay’s First Graduating Class of Anesthesiologist Assistants Will Receive Their Degrees from Nova Southeastern University

Released: 8/15/2011 11:00 AM EDT
Source: Nova Southeastern University

Newswise — TAMPA, Fla. — The first ever Anesthesiologist Assistants (AA) students from Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) Tampa Student Educational Center will graduate on Aug. 28, helping to meet the healthcare needs of Tampa Bay residents.

“The Tampa area, Florida, and the nation in general has a need for more providers of anesthesia,” said Richard E. Davis, EdD, PA-C, dean of NSU’s College of Allied Health and Nursing which runs the AA program. “With only seven AA programs in the nation, we educate and provide quality AA’s who are ready to work.”

Anesthesiologist Assistants allow doctors to perform additional surgeries which is needed in areas like Tampa where the demand is high. They are highly trained allied health professionals who provide top-quality patient care under the medical direction of a doctor of anesthesiology. AA’s work in a care team format with a physician anesthesiologist to render complete anesthesia care.

The 25 NSU graduating anesthesiologist assistant students began their 27- month program in 2009. Because the field is in high demand, all of these graduates are guaranteed jobs that offer a starting salary between $120,000 and $150,000 according to William Orr, M.M.Sc., AA-C assistant professor and department chair of the anesthesiologist assistant program at Tampa’s NSU campus.

According to Orr, most of the students will begin jobs immediately upon graduation. “Many of our students will be staying in Tampa at Brandon Regional Hospital and New Port Richey Community Hospital, said Orr. “Others are going to Shands in Gainesville, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and Capitol Regional Medical Center in Tallahassee.”

“Approximately 50 percent of the class are from outside of Florida and have jobs secured in their home states,” Orr added.

NSU professor and department chair Robert Wagner, M.M.Sc., AA-C, past president of the American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants, said the more anesthesiologist assistants NSU can matriculate and educate, the greater the chances are for Americans to get access to health care.

Of the five universities nationwide that offer the anesthesiologist assistant program, NSU is the only university to offer it in multiple locations: Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale. “Increasing the number of anesthesiologist assistant will open up more access for patients to have surgery,” said Wagner.

The university has been offering quality programs in the Tampa area for more than 30 years. NSU is the fifth university in the United States to offer an AA program and the only university in Florida to have the program. Florida is one of 17 states that allow anesthesiologist assistants to practice their trade.

About Nova’s College of Allied Health and Nursing: The College endeavors to train health care professionals in the art and science of improving the quality of life and health of their patients and communities. Through undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degree programs, its goal is to produce highly motivated and well educated practitioners who will be integral members of the healthcare team. The college is composed of students in nursing, occupational therapy, physician assistants, anesthesiologist assistants, vascular sonography, audiology, health science and cardiovascular sonography.

Anesthesiologist Assistants (AAs), also known as an anesthetist, are highly educated and skilled allied health professionals who work under the supervision of physician anesthesiologists to develop and implement anesthesia care plans. AAs work exclusively within the anesthesia care team environment as described by the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). AAs possess a premedical background, a baccalaureate degree, and also complete a comprehensive didactic and clinical program at the graduate school level. AAs are trained extensively in the delivery and maintenance of quality anesthesia care as well as advanced patient monitoring techniques. The goal of AA education is to nurture the transformation of qualified student applicants into competent health care practitioners who aspire to practice in the anesthesia care team.

About Nova Southeastern University (NSU): The main campus is located in Davie, Florida and one of its seven Student Educational Centers is located in Tampa. NSU is a dynamic is a dynamic fully accredited Florida University dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs of distinction from preschool through the professional and doctoral levels. NSU has more than 29,000 students and is the seventh largest not-for-profit independent institution nationally. The University awards associate’s, bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, specialist, and first-professional degrees in a wide range of fields, including business, counseling, computer and information sciences, education, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, dentistry, various health professions, law, marine sciences, early childhood, psychology and other social sciences. Classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU was also awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification in 2010 for the University’s significant commitment to and demonstration of community engagement. For more information about NSU visit


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PaulineT View Drop Down

Joined: 01 Nov 2011
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  Quote PaulineT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Nov 2011 at 4:31pm
That's good to know that Nova guarantees that their students will have a job as an AA upon graduating. If I go to school there but decide to work in another state, do I have to get a medical license from that state? Or are there certain states that don't recognize someone with an AA degree?
Pauline - looking for short term insurance plans for between college and a job
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