Increasing Diversity in the Nurse Anesthesia Profession by Implementation of a Diversity-Based Educational Workshop for Michigan High School Students

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Implementation of a Diversity-Based Educational Workshop for High School Students

Background / Purpose: In the United States, our society continues to diversify, yet our healthcare profession is not keeping up with the demographics of the U.S. population. The nursing profession is falling short in relation to having a diverse workforce, as persons of color represent only 16.8% of all nurses, and, only 11% of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) (AANA, 2019). The gap in racial and cultural representation in the health care system is evident: there is not a diverse CRNA healthcare workforce. The current representation of the nurse anesthesia workforce for the individuals and communities they serve emphasizes Method: This was a proof-of-concept workshop to educate a diverse group of high school students on all aspects of the nurse and nurse anesthesia profession through a lecture-type informational presentation, hands-on simulation / skills lab experience, and participation in a CRNA led discussion panel. A resource tool kit was provided for each student encompassing information on financial aid and scholarship information, contacts for in-state nurse anesthesia programs, local and national diversity-focused nursing organizations, and a time-framed guide called, “My Path to Becoming a CRNA” that lists the steps from high school to entering a nurse anesthesia program. Results: Statistical analysis was performed through comparison of pre- and post-event surveys. A total 34 surveys were completed by the workshop participants and utilized as part of the sample size. Basic descriptive statistics, frequencies, means and standard deviations were calculated. In addition, a t-test was used to compare the means of pre-and post-test data. There was statistical significance found (p<0.01) for 9 out of 10 questions asked. The survey results indicated that upon completion of the workshop, students felt they had a better understanding of the role of a CRNA and had an increased awareness of scholarship and financial resources that are available in nursing. Additionally, 79% of students (n=27) agreed that they were interested in a career in nursing and 73% of students (n=25) agreed that they were interested in a career in nurse anesthesia. Discussion / Conclusion: This workshop was successful in enlightening diverse high school students about the careers of Nursing and Nurse Anesthesia. We were able to not only describe and show some of the skills related to nursing and nurse anesthesia, we were also able to give valuable resources to guide those interested in how to pursue this career path. If repeated in other areas of the state and country, workshops like this can help to decrease the cultural gap we have in the CRNA profession within the next 7 – 10 years.



diversity, anesthesia, nursing, workshop, CRNA