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FGCU nurse anesthesiologists will be doctors for first time

 Dr. Robert Bland
Andrea Melendez
Dr. Robert Bland teaches in Florida Gulf Coast University's doctorate of nursing practice program. He holds the DNP degree and is a certified registered nurse anesthesiologist.

All graduates of the nurse anesthesiologist program at Florida Gulf Coast University will have doctorates for the first time.

Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers has been training nurse anesthesiologists since about 2006, but it’s still not a well-known specialty.

“Nurse anesthesiology is basically the same as medical anesthesiology in that we provide perioperative care to any patients needing surgery or anesthesia for procedures,” says Dr. Robert Bland, who teaches in the program.

This is the first year that all graduates of the program will have a doctorate of nursing practice.

Students enter the three-year DNP program with at least a four-year bachelor's degree in nursing and at least a year of practical critical care experience.

They learn the art and science of nurse anesthesiology through simulation.

“We have a fairly state-of-the-art simulation center where we have mannequins that not only can breathe and have a pulse, but they can actually talk to you,” says Bland, who holds the DNP degree and is a certified registered nurse anesthesiologist.

Students continue their training on real patients, working together with medical teams in local hospitals.

Copyright 2023 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Cary Barbor is the local host of All Things Considered and a reporter for WGCU. She was a producer for Martha Stewart Radio on Sirius XM, where she hosted a live interview show with authors of new books called Books and Authors. She was a producer for The Leonard Lopate Show, a live, daily show that covered arts, culture, politics, and food on New York City’s public radio station WNYC. She also worked as a producer on Studio 360, a weekly culture magazine; and The Sunday Long Read, a show that features in-depth conversations with journalists and other writers. She has filed stories for The Pulse and Here & Now. In addition to radio, she has a career writing for magazines, including Salon, Teen Vogue, New York, Health, and More. She has published short stories and personal essays and is always working on a novel. She was a Knight Journalism Fellow, where she studied health reporting at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and followed epidemiologists around Kenya and Alaska. She has a B.A. in English from Lafayette College and an M.A. in Literature from the University of Massachusetts.