Ep 106: The Impact of COVID 19 on Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs with Erin Martin, CRNA, DNP

The wide-ranging effects of COVID on the healthcare system have been well-documented, but what impact is this pandemic having on nurse anesthesia students and educational programs? Erin Martin, CRNA, DNP, is the Program Director at the Mayo Nurse Anesthesia Program and has seen the changes first-hand. She joins the show to share her experience this year and tell us what it could mean for the future of the profession.

Click the timestamps below to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

On This Episode:

This year has been tough on all of us but healthcare professionals have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic. We’ve spent a lot of time on this show examining the impact it’s had on work, mental health, and finances, but what about the future of our profession?

Erin Martin, CRNA, DNP, is the Program Director at the Mayo Nurse Anesthesia Program, and we wanted to bring her on the podcast to discuss an overlooked area of the COVID pandemic. While we’ve been focusing on the current state of healthcare and nursing, the future is where we want to pay attention to now. 

That’s why we’re spending time discussing nurse anesthesia programs on this show. After all, education is the future of the profession and the way students are learning and training now is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.

Martin took over the role in the middle of the pandemic, which made for an interesting transition. The biggest challenge, as she explains, has been how quickly everything has happened. Programs all over the country have reacted and adapted to this unique set of challenges.

We’ll discuss many aspects of these programs and what it could mean moving forward. The bar can’t be lowered so they’ve had to be flexible while maintaining that standard. But it’s also important that employers are are that these students come in with a different clinical experience. We don’t completely know what they are but we know that there will be differences.

It’s a very important topic that many aren’t even thinking about yet and we hope to bring it to your attention on this episode.

So as you get started on the episode, keep an ear out for these topics:

  • These educational changes will impact the profession
  • The admissions process
  • How they pivoted so quickly
  • PPE challenges
  • Mental health assistance for students
  • Good that’s come out of this
  • The next class of nurses will enter workforce will different educational experience
  • So much is virtual right now

Check it out the interview at the top of the page and use the timestamps to help you navigate through the many topics we discussed.

2:33 – Welcome in Erin Martin 

3:52 – Why this is an important topic

5:27 – Program admissions

8:27 – What’s been the biggest challenge?

10:20 – Dealing with the lack of PPE

12:31 – How she helped students on the mental health side

16:06 – Repercussions for being out of clinical for six weeks

21:21 – Experiences that students are missing out on 

26:13 – New students haven’t ever been in a room together

29:26 – What happens after this all stops?

31:31 – What would you tell someone thinking about applying to an anesthesia program?

34:53 – Showing empathy to these students 

37:37 – Final message from Erin 


“The changes that COVID 19 have imparted on even minor things within our educational programs has the potential to have a pretty big downstream impact on the future workforce.”

Erin Martin, Program Director at Mayo Nurse Anesthesia Program

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