Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


Zvart Onanian School of Nursing



Date of Original Version



High levels of stress have been documented in the student registered nurse anesthetist (SRNA) population and coping skills employed as student have been shown to endure after graduation. Heightened levels of stress, anxiety, and depression have been reported in American adults related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As classes transitioned online and clinical was suspended due to the stay-at-home orders, this stress was predominant for nurse anesthesia students. Research was not available and needed to be conducted to determine how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the stress levels of nurse anesthesia students. Studying how nurse anesthesia students respond to unforeseen events can help us develop additional preparation and coping strategies for future cohorts. The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on stress and wellness and coping mechanisms for student registered nurse anesthetists. A total of n=19 current and prior SRNAs were sent a Qualtrics survey with the COVID-PSS-10, Coronavirus Anxiety Scale, and three qualitative questions. Twelve participants (63%) completed the Qualtrics survey between March-April 2021. High perceived stress was reported in 33% of the participants (n=4). Dysfunctional anxiety symptoms were reported by 33% of SRNAs (n=4). Most responses to the qualitative questions reported uncertainty or stress relief, diminished physical and social wellness, and some form of maladaptive coping. The results display the importance of identifying students at risk for maladaptive coping. Additional stress management training should be provided to students and faculty and tailored according to students'™ academic progression. Updates to the Graduate Student Handbook, coupled with a dynamic resource toolkit, would guide students navigating the challenging phases of graduate level education.