20 students in program's first class

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Twenty students have been accepted into the first class of the nurse anesthesia program at the University of Southern Mississippi.

The group had orientation this week.

The 36-month program will lead to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.

The director of the program is Vickie Stuart, a certified registered nurse anesthetist in Hattiesburg since 1998.

Hattiesburg's Forrest General Hospital will serve as the primary clinical site for the students in the program.

Stuart says more than 60 students applied for the 20 spots in the new program.

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