Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship -- For CRNAs only

As the only fellowship of its kind for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) in the United States, the Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship (ASPMF) meets the growing need for an evidence-based approach to optimize patient care throughout the perioperative continuum. The goal of this post-graduate certificate program is to provide CRNAs a path to expand their current regional anesthesia skillset in the treatment of acute perioperative pain.

ASPMF Application Cycle and Deadlines for Fall 2024

  • Application open Sept. 1, 2023 – March 1, 2024
  • Interviews begin following application period
  • Semester starts Sept. 3, 2024

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Program Overview»
Application Checklist»
Program Faculty»
Evaluating and Awarding Academic Credit Policy»


Program Overview

CRNAs = Part of the Solution to a Growing Need

The management of acute pain is an ever-evolving specialty. The opioid crisis has highlighted the need to better manage patients throughout the perioperative period. The ASPMF at MTSA equips CRNAs with the advanced skills needed to address pain, from multimodal therapies and opioid-sparing strategies to advanced regional anesthesia techniques including continuous catheter placement and management.

The Format
The Fellowship uses a hybrid format, with a combination of on-campus intensives, online (didactic) education, cadaveric workshops, and clinical experiences with experienced preceptors to teach providers the necessary skills to manage acute surgical pain and improve patient outcomes throughout the perioperative period.

The Curriculum
The program is divided into three semesters over 12 months. Each semester includes a didactic and concomitant clinical course that builds upon the previous one. Fellows begin with an overview of pain assessment and introduction of essential regional anesthesia techniques while practicing skills at cadaveric workshops. This is followed by an advanced regional anesthesia techniques course and clinical rotations where fellows can hone their skills. Finally, fellows learn how to evaluate the literature, develop and implement protocols to optimize patient outcomes, and incorporate educational, legal, professional, and business applications into their acute pain practice.

Topics of Study

  • Psychosocial, spiritual, and cultural dimensions of acute surgical pain
  • Non-allopathic considerations for acute surgical pain management
  • Neurophysiological response to pain
  • Assessment and evaluation of the patient with acute surgical pain
  • Advanced regional anesthesia techniques
  • Implications of pharmacogenetics on acute surgical pain management
  • Nonsurgical Pain Management Applications
  • Legal, ethical, and professional issues of acute surgical pain management
  • Implementing your own acute pain service


ASPMF Course Sequence

Semester Course # Course Name and Description Credit Hours
1 ASPMF 600 Principles of Pharmacology and Acute Pain Management 3
  ASPMF 610 ASPMF Clinical Practicum I 3
2 ASPMF 620 Techniques of Acute Pain Management 3
  ASPMF 630 ASPMF Clinical Practicum II 3
3 ASPMF 640 Acute Pain Management Education, Business and Evidence Practice 3
  ASPMF 650 ASPMF Clinical Practicum III 3

Course descriptions can be found in the ASPMF Student Handbook (coming soon).

The Fellowship relies on an internationally recognized group of content experts who serve as didactic lecturers and clinical preceptors. Learn more about them here: Fellowship Faculty»

Fellowship Highlights:

  • An international, multidisciplinary faculty
  • Instruction in over 50 regional anesthesia techniques
  • Clinical sites nationwide offering a wide range of experiences
  • Development and incorporation of ERAS protocols into practice
  • Essential Point-of-Care Ultrasound Education (workshop included)
  • Specialty clinical rotation in transitional pain management option

Admission Requirements
Applicants must be a CRNA with at least two years of experience with an active, unencumbered license. In addition, prospective fellows must attend one Essentials ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia cadaveric workshop within one year of applying. Candidates should work in a practice where they perform ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia.

Request Information
Our offices are open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. CST. To request more information or schedule a campus visit, please call us at 888-353-6872 or email Mandy Kelly, the program coordinator, at

The Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), 222 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge, IL 60068; (847)655-1160. The fellowship’s term of accreditation is October 2021-October 2026 at which time it may choose to seek continued accreditation. This certificate is not an education prerequisite for an advanced practice nursing license.

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The Acute Surgical Pain Management Fellowship is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), 222 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge, IL 60068; (847)655-1160. The fellowship’s term of accreditation is October 2021-October 2026 at which time it may choose to seek continued accreditation. This certificate is not an education prerequisite for an advanced practice nursing license.

Start Your Application

Application Checklist

  • RN License
  • APRN License
  • NBCRNA Certification
  • AANA Membership
  • Current CV
  • Essential Cadaveric Workshop Certificates
  • Personal Statement Video
  • Three references (completed in NursingCAS)
  • Proof of Health Insurance
  • ACLS and BLS Certifications

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many years of experience are required to apply?
Prospective candidates should have at least two years’ experience practicing as a CRNA. In addition, applicants should have some experience performing basic ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia procedures.

How much is tuition?
Tuition can vary/increase year to year, so please refer to the Current Tuition and Fees section of the Acute Surgical Pain Management Handbook for the most current tuition costs.

How many weeks of clinical must I complete to receive my certificate?
A minimum of one week of clinical training at an affiliated ASPMF site is required to receive a certificate of completion. If necessary, fellows can rotate to multiple clinical sites in order to complete the regional anesthesia requirements. However, the applicant must consider the additional time and added expenses involved.

What are the prerequisites to be admitted to the program?
In addition to an active clinical practice, candidates must attend a basic and advanced ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia workshop prior to admission into the Fellowship.

Does one size fit all, or is the program individualized based on the applicant’s experience?
The didactic curriculum is designed to prepare the CRNA for advanced training in acute surgical pain management. The clinical component offers fellows flexibility to determine how much time is needed to perfect their technique, as well as receive additional clinical training in specialty areas not available in their own practice.

I have some experience performing ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia, will that be considered in the application process?
Candidates are expected to have basic ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia skills when they start. The Fellowship teaches advanced regional anesthesia techniques and acute pain management practices. The clinical sites in the Fellowship are fast-paced environments that perform a wide variety of acute pain services for a large volume of patients. Fellows rotating through these sites are expected to work as part of the anesthesia team.

What is your class size?
The Council on Accreditation has approved a cohort of 25 fellows every year.

Are fellows able to choose their clinical sites?
Yes. However, final determination of dates and clinical sites is at the discretion of the program director.

Are online classes available?
Most of the content in the Fellowship is presented in an online format using the BrightSpace learning management system. In addition, there are two on-campus intensives held at Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia that fellows are required to attend. These sessions include cadaveric instruction which fellows must complete prior to attending clinical rotations.

Do I have to attend required ultrasound workshops prior to entering the Fellowship?
Yes. Completion of a basic and an advanced ultrasound-guided regional workshop is a requirement to apply to the ASPMF (courses must be completed within two years prior to enrollment). A basic course consists of didactic and hands-on ultrasound scanning instruction for common upper and lower extremity regional anesthesia procedures with or without a cadaveric component for a minimum of 8 hours. An advanced ultrasound course qualifies as a prerequisite if the course involves didactic and hands-on instruction in advanced truncal procedures using a cadaveric model. The workshop should be a minimum of 8 hours.