Dissertation Title

Nurse anesthetists' perception of their rigorous training program A grounded theory study

Year Degree was Conferred

2009

Year PARDA Awarded

2009

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Johnson, Sandra

Abstract

There is no empirical understanding of the stressors that nurse anesthesia students encounter from their perspective as they negotiate a nurse anesthesia program. The initial research questions for this study examined what stressors these recent graduates encountered during their program and how they successfully negotiated those stressors. This study employed grounded theory methodology and the theory of symbolic interactionism. The data were collected from individual, semistructured, indepth interviews with 12 recent nurse anesthesia graduates who have been out of school for less than 2 years. The interview transcripts were analyzed using open, axial, and selective coding. The stressors discovered were divided into personal and curriculum themes, and the nurse anesthesia student stress and coping model was created from the results. The model articulates 3 phases of development as these students progressed through their respective programs: (a) transitioning in (first 9 months of program), (b) finding their way (months 10 through 18), and (c) transitioning out (last 9 months). The coping mechanisms employed by these participants were: (a) problem focused, (b) emotion focused, and (c) a combination of the two. This newly created stress coping model offers important implications for positive social change. The specific stress coping mechanisms identified among nurse anesthesia students can assist nurse anesthesia faculty to develop better didactic strategies for improving stress coping skills. Program retention of nurse anesthesia student may increase with early understanding of the stressful demands found in the rigorous anesthesia curriculum. Overall, patients and their families will benefit from nurse anesthetists who can effectively manage the stresses found in their roles.