Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The purpose of this descriptive, survey study was to identify intrinsic and extrinsic factors that motivate critical care registered nurses (RN’s) in entering a graduate nurse anesthesia educational program. The intent was to identity specific motivators to provide information helpful in increasing the number of anesthesia educational program enrollments to alleviate the shortage of certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs).

A pilot study was conducted. Program directors were contacted for permission to approach the students. A convenience sample of fifty-one first year nurse anesthesia students from three different northcentral educational programs were surveyed. Data were collected via a researcher developed questionnaire which was distributed and collected on site by the researcher during a pre-scheduled time.

The survey instrument contained demographic items as well as intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors using a five point Likert scale. A descriptive data analysis of demographic and univariate factors was accomplished. Other reasons for entering a graduate nurse anesthesia education program were also included for ranking by the subjects. Data were quantitatively analyzed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and categorization.

Subjects were fully informed on the nature, length, and purpose of the study. Participation was on a strictly voluntary basis and anonymity and confidentiality was guaranteed. Human subject approval was obtained.

A major finding of this study was most nurse anesthesia student subjects were motivated by higher level needs. It was found that overall intrinsic factors were more important than extrinsic factors in motivating a critical care nurse to pursue an education in graduate nurse anesthesia. Major motivational factors reported in this sample included increased individual responsibility and autonomy, which may help to promote feelings of self-actualization. Inconsistencies were found in relation to increased financial rewards when comparing the eight subscales to the twelve reason rankings (projected and self). The only demographic factors reported as making a difference were that, in general, females scored lower on the autonomy scale than males, and subjects who had two nr more children tended io give the lowest ratings on all scales except increased level of competence.