Q&A with MTSA President Chris Hulin

Oct 02, 2015 at 05:26 pm by Staff

On July 1, Christopher P. Hulin, CRNA, DNP, became the fourth president in the 65-year history of the Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia. Previously, he served as dean and program administrator for the school. Hulin earned his undergraduate degree in Nursing Administration from Vanderbilt and holds an MBA from Regis University. An MTSA alumnus, he earned his master’s from the program in 2006 followed by a doctorate at Samford University in 2010.

Settling into his new role, Hulin shared insights on issues and solutions facing the advanced practice nurses MTSA trains. Below is an extended version of the interview that appeared in the October issue of Nashville Medical News.


Q: As former dean, and now president, what are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of at MTSA, and what are some of the changes to come?

A: “We have successfully recruited talented staff to our team that possess the specific skills we need to further advance our education initiatives and differentiate MTSA as the leader in nurse anesthesia education. We provide high-fidelity simulation instruction with a focus on improving patient outcomes, and we collaborate with fellow advanced practice nursing programs to strengthen our curriculum.

“Our future plans include the development of the nation’s first nurse anesthesia post-graduate fellowship program in Acute Pain Management. We also are in the midst of planning joint activities with neighboring educational and healthcare leaders in Nashville.”


Q: How is MTSA preparing students to face the challenges of working as a nurse anesthetist in the field?

A: “MTSA has a very rigorous academic and clinical environment. Our Master of Science with a focus in Anesthesia degree is a 28-month program. The clinical instruction is something in MTSA’s history which is very unique. With benchmark requirements by our accrediting body of 550 cases and 850 case hours required, our students will regularly get two to two-and-one-half times the requirements. For example, the 2014 graduating class performed (on average) 1,064 cases and 1,812 case hours.

“We believe this is extremely important due to the heavy dependence upon CRNA’s in the rural communities across the country. In fact, approximately 70 percent of all anesthesia provided in the United States (including Tennessee) is performed by CRNAs, while 39 out of 96 Tennessee counties do not have a single physician anesthesiologist. We are determined to provide a robust educational environment and broad clinical experiences to prepare the next generation of CRNAs to serve patients throughout Tennessee, the region, and nation."

Q: How does MTSA work with other stakeholders in the community?

A: "MTSA keeps in close contact with the other Advanced Practice Nurse education institutions. We have been 'Nashville’s' school of nurse anesthesia for more than 65 years. Additionally, we educate nurse anesthetists from across the nation to improve peri-operative satisfaction, outcomes and accessibility in our country’s health systems."


Q: What are your thoughts on how advanced practice healthcare professionals fit into our evolving delivery system?

A: “We need to continue to look for better ways to provide healthcare that is efficient, effective and accessible to all patients. Advanced practice nurses, specifically nurse anesthetists, will have a major role in the future of healthcare in the U.S. By communicating with healthcare leadership and furthering research efforts in our practice, we can meet the demands and needs of today’s patients.”

Q: What is your clinical and educational background, and how did it prepare you for your new role?

A: "Prior to joining the full-time academic and administrative staff of Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia in 2009, I held a series of leadership positions in teaching, nursing and hospital administration. Most recently, I served as the Dean/Program Administrator of MTSA.

"I began my career working in healthcare administration. My journey started at Kettering Medical Center in Kettering, Ohio. Then, I moved to Adventist Health System’s Ormond Beach Division to assist with a hospital merger and continued to serve as vice president of operations for Florida Hospital’s Oceanside and Memorial Medical Center campuses.

"After eight years of working in hospital administration, I decided on a career change that would bring me back to direct patient care. I left my administrative job and became a bedside nurse in the intensive care unit at Skyline Medical Center. After completing CRNA training at MTSA, I joined the anesthesia team at Crockett Hospital in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., for three years.

"I believe my diverse clinical and administrative experience has helped prepared me to become president of MTSA. It has not only given me a deep understanding of the operations at the school, but also the ability to relate to our students’ needs."

Q: When you aren't leading MTSA, what do you like to do?

A: “I like to ride my adventure motorcycle, fly fish, travel and spend time with my kids."


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