Stress is a common mental health issue among college students that can affect their overall academic performance.
Dr. Deborah Morgan, associate dean for graduate nursing in the School of Nursing, along with her graduate students set out to research self-care strategies to combat stress among nursing students.
The students must balance a variety of responsibilities including clinical practice, rigorous course requirements, employment, social commitments and family obligations. Balancing such an immense amount of responsibilities can cause stress and effect performance level in the classroom and nursing practice, Morgan said.
“Caring for one’s self by living and modeling a healthy lifestyle has the potential for the nurse to better educate and encourage their patients to engage in healthier behaviors and improve their quality of life,” she said.
Through Morgan’s elective nursing course, Christian Nursing and Complimentary Alternative Medicine, the researchers looked at the students’ lifestyle activities including health responsibility, physical activity, nutrition, spiritual growth, interpersonal relationships and stress management.
Over the course of the semester, students journaled about the strategies they implemented in their daily routine to reduce stress and improve their overall healthy lifestyle. The strategies varied from going to sleep earlier, reserving time for meditation or exercising more.
Jessy Geenen ’15, master of science in nursing student from Palm Beach Gardens, explained that the self-care steps educated her on alternative care options for patients that may not respond well to medication.
At the conclusion of the semester, Morgan conducted a post-survey and noted a significant increase in the student’s health. She explained that by educating nursing students on healthy self-care behaviors, it could enhance the students’ understanding and valuing of self-care, which then may promote healthier lifestyles prior to entry into practice.
Morgan presented this research at the Florida Organization of Nurse Executives state conference.