Update on Attrition in Nurse Anesthesia Education: A National Survey

Dosch, Michael P., Rebecca S. Kremsreiter, and Rebecca R. Graham

Aim/Purpose The purpose of this study was to report the results of a national survey of nurse anesthesia educational program administrators about the rate and reasons for attrition in the cohort who graduated in 2007.

Background: The attrition rate in nurse anesthesia educational programs is of interest to educators, nurse anesthetists, and the public, as an important outcome of the educational process.

Methods: A survey was distributed to all 108 US programs. The response rate was 91%.

Results: Of 2,129 students enrolled with a projected graduation in 2007, 189 (8.9%) did not complete the program. The most common reasons for attrition were withdrawal, dismissal for poor classroom performance, leave of absence, and dismissal for clinical reasons.

Conclusion: The attrition rate for graduate students in nurse anesthesia educational programs is low. However, every loss represents a waste of individual and institutional resources. Understanding attrition will guide improvement of admissions and curriculum.