Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Myrna Olson


The purpose of this study was to better understand the way Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students perceive stress and during which period of their program they tend to encounter the most stress, compared to students enrolled in a Master’s program. As each nurse anesthesia program transitions to a DNP curriculum, it will be beneficial to determine how DNP students perceive stress, and during which period of their program they encounter the most stress, in comparison to those students who are enrolled in a master’s program.

Participants for this mixed methods online study included a convenience sample of 237 nurse anesthesia students currently enrolled in a nurse anesthesia educational program in the United States. Measures in this study explored how nurse anesthesia students perceived stress and how they coped with stress in their academic career. The Pearson Chi-square test, Cramer’s V association index and thematic analysis were utilized to analyze data. An alpha level of .05 was maintained for all statistical analyses.

How master and doctoral students experience stress and cope with stress was not found to be significantly different. However, both master and doctoral students indicated they were exposed to a tremendous amount of stress with school being the major stressor. They identified several factors that they believed contributed to their stress. This study provides suggestions for nurse anesthesia programs to implement in their curriculums to decrease the amount of stress experienced by students.