Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Systems Change Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice



First Advisor

Alice Swan


Graduate nurse anesthesia school is extremely challenging and includes long hours of study and clinical performance. A multitude of stressors can impair the ability of students to think, learn and be successful in school. A literature review was conducted to study the threats to anesthesia students’ wellness. This review yielded evidence based knowledge that guided a systems change project to implement a wellness curriculum. The curriculum included three components. The first was to provide three wellness classes that included the topics of sleep, stress and substance abuse, and fitness and nutrition. The second was to create an environment more supportive of healthy lifestyles. The final component was to provide the students access to a healthy lifestyle questionnaire that revealed individual strengths and weaknesses. The purpose of the project was to increase the wellness knowledge of 35 first-year graduate nurse anesthesia students to enhance their ability to be successful in anesthesia school. The central question for the project was: In graduate nurse anesthesia students, how does implementation of a self-care wellness curriculum affect wellness knowledge? The results of the pre-test and post-test scores for the wellness classes follow. The sleep post-test mean score demonstrated a 50.3 percentage point gain over the pre-test mean score. The stress and substance abuse post-test mean score demonstrated a 59.4 percentage point gain over the pre-test mean score. The fitness and nutrition post-test mean score demonstrated a 44.3 percentage point gain over the pre-test score. Finally, the overall mean post-test score demonstrated a 51.3 percentage point gain over the pre- test mean score. The gain scores for all four tests were statistically significant at p<.001. These results indicate that a self-care wellness curriculum significantly affected graduate anesthesia student knowledge. Wellness content should be integrated into the curriculum for nurse anesthesia students.