The purpose of this study is to find out to what extent sleep deprivation affects the didactic and clinical performance of student registered nurse anesthetists (SRNAs) and to identify measures that can be introduced into nurse anesthesia programs to alleviate the negative effects of sleep deprivation. Research has shown that sleep deprivation impairs cognitive performance, decreases vigilance, impairs memory, prolongs reaction time and contributes to poor communication. Sleeping 6 hours or less per night over 2 weeks results in cognitive performance deficits equivalent to 2 nights of total sleep deprivation. It has also been cited that extending work shifts beyond 17 consecutive hours increases the likelihood of errors. Though much has been written on the effects of sleep deprivation in the surgical resident, data is lacking on the effects this has on the nurse anesthesia student and its relation to clinical and didactic performance.
Data will be collected through the use of self-report instruments completed by SRNAs enrolled in accredited programs currently in clinical rotation. These tools include both an open-ended questionnaire and the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). Stability reliability of the ESS has been demonstrated in a sample of medical students with the Pearson correlation coefficient of .82 and the homogenitiy reliability through a Chronbach's alpha score of .88. Data collection will also occur from program administrators which includes completion of an open-ended questionnaire. It is expected that this study will have an important impact on future nurse anesthesia program policies concerning clinical hours and the overall well-being of the SRNA.