Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Nursing

Dissertation Committee

Ruth A. Bush, PhD, MPH, FAMIA, Chair; Eileen Fry-Bowers, PhD, JD, RN, CPNP, FAAN; Lorraine Jordan, PhD, CRNA, CAE, FAAN


Impostor Phenomenon, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist


Background: Imposter Phenomenon (IP) is an evolving, multidimensional construct defined as self-perceived intellectual phoniness and professional ineptitude frequently experienced by individuals working in high performance or competitive environments. IP consequences include psychological distress, role under-optimization, and professional paralysis. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologists (CRNAs) are at risk for impostorism; however, IP presence, intensity, and career effects are unknown.

Purpose: The study measured IP in CRNAs and determined the relationship between IP and select sociodemographic and practice variables.


Design: A descriptive, cross-sectional correlation design measured IP using an Internet-based survey from a random sample of 170 members of the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA).


Dependent Variable: IP prevalence was measured.

Independent Variables: CRNA age, gender identity, race/ethnicity, education level, clinical experience, anesthesia practice model, select clinical skills, decision-making, and state scope of practice were analyzed for significant relationships.

Instrument: The Clance Imposter Phenomenon Scale (CIPS) is a 20-item instrument that measures IP presence and intensity. The instrument demonstrates good reliability (Cronbach’s alpha ranged from 0.85 to 0.96) and content validity.

Data Analysis: Extensive descriptive statistics explored the relationships among the categorical independent and dependent variables

Results: Participants were mostly male (53.5%), White (93.5%), had a mean age of 55.5 years (SD = 10.4), and practiced for 18.3 mean years (SD = 11.1). These variables were significantly different from the AANA membership profile. IP prevalence was 55.9% with a mean CIPS score of 44.6 (SD = 14.4). Significant relationships were identified among race/ethnicity (p = .044), age (p = .033), and years of clinical practice (p = .012).

Conclusion: IP was highly prevalent in the CRNA sample and pervasive across multiple practice settings; however, significant relationships were only found between race/ethnicity, age, and practice years. IP antecedents were not elucidated but may include harmful messaging and other societal constructs involving nursing’s role in health care. Identifying IP early in the CRNA’s career and adopting healthy management strategies may help CRNAs optimize their health care role and lead to a more productive professional experience. Study limitations include the research design, small sample size, and divergent participant characteristics.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access