YSU introduces first doctoral nurse anesthetist program

Local News

In the program, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in every course -- not accumulative

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – On Monday, May 17, Youngstown State University’s nursing program began preparing students for what is considered to be the most lucrative career in nursing.

It’s YSU’s fifth doctoral program — a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) — that specifically prepares students to become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs).

Last week on YSU’s nursing floor, Hubbard native Alexis Cesene represented the 20 students who are part of the first doctoral class of nurse anesthetists.

“The first class is a memorable class. I’m pretty sure, don’t we get a plaque or something on the wall?” she said.

But as we talked amidst the simulator manikins in the nursing lab, Cesene was keenly aware of the intense workload facing her for the next three years. Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average in every course — not accumulative.

“My husband actually renovated our home to make me an office specifically for the duration of this program,” Cesene said.

“Extremely rigorous program. Our students have very high expectations from the faculty,” said Dr. Patti Kostelnac, of Bel-Park Anesthesia.

Dr. Kostelnac is the administrator of YSU’s new doctorate in nursing anesthesia program.

“Here at the university, I’m usually here a few days a week and then up at the office, I’m usually there every day,” Dr. Kostelnac said.

Dr. Kostelnac works out of St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital, which is where her YSU doctoral students will also do their training. When they’re done, they’ll enter a lucrative, high-paid profession.

“I would say, it’s safe to say that the average nurse anesthetist makes approximately $180,000 a year,” Dr. Kostelnac said.

“But from what I hear, the stress of it, you have to really love what you’re doing and you really have to want to help people to pursue this,” Cesene said.

The total cost of YSU’s program is $68,000, which is what we were told is one of the least expensive in Ohio.

Fifty-five students applied but only 20 were accepted.

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