Letter to the Editor

AAs can help offset shortages in anesthesiology

Friday, April 25, 2003

To the editor:

Scott Roth, a nurse anesthetist who opposes anesthesiologist assistants, claimed in a letter to the editor that there are no minimum grade requirements for AA applicants. The minimum grade-point average for the AA program at Emory University in Atlanta is 3.1. At Webster University in St. Louis, it is 3.0. The Graduate Record Examination is required for AA applicants. No comparable standardized testing is uniformly required of nurse anesthestist applicants.

Roth correctly states that AA applicants must have a bachelor's degree with the minimum course work required for admission to medical school, but he failed to state that these minimum requirements exceed the science and math requirements of a bachelor's degree in nursing.

The number of nurse anesthetists graduating this year will not solve the current shortage. The journal representing Roth's profession predicts the shortage will worsen over the next 10 years.

None of the above is intended to malign the reputation of nurse anesthetists, but AAs are also well-trained, competent providers. AAs would help to safely address current and future staffing shortages in the delivery of anesthesia services to Missourians.

DR. STEPHEN M. BRENNAN

Cape Girardeau