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Self-Care Initiative Helps Nursing Students Manage Stress Better

Kent State University College of Nursing Associate Professor Barbara Drew, Ph.D., traveled to Prague in July to present the findings from two studies that evaluated the effect of a self-care module for nursing students.

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Self-Care Initiative Helps Nursing Students Manage Stress Better

Posted Sept. 23, 2013 | Shannen Laur
enter photo description
Kent State University College of Nursing students participate
in meditation exercises to clear the mind and relax the body.
Associate Professor Barbara Drew, Ph.D., evaluated the
effect of a self-care module for nursing students and found
that it helps them cope better with stress.

Kent State University College of Nursing Associate Professor Barbara Drew, Ph.D., traveled to Prague in July to present the findings from two studies that evaluated the effect of a self-care module for nursing students.

Drew was principal investigator for the studies that focused on the investigation of self-care practices, including yoga, aromatherapy, Reiki and mindful breathing.

The first study Drew presented in Prague was a pilot that evaluated the effect of the self-care module on undergraduate, accelerated nursing students. The module was in the form of a once-a-week class and compared the perceived stress levels and mindfulness of accelerated nursing students who participated in the self-care module with those of traditional students who did not.

“We found that the students in the self-care group were significantly better able to manage their stress over the semester. Their level of mindfulness was higher, but the difference was not significant,” Drew says.

The second finding Drew presented compared only accelerated students, some who participated in the self-care module and some who did not. Nursing students from Kent State, Ursuline College and Cleveland State University participated.

“These were all accelerated students and collaborating with two other nursing programs gave us a larger sample,” says Drew. “Essentially, we had the same findings as our pilot. Students who participated in the self-care module were better able to manage their experience of stress. Mindfulness was again higher, but not significantly so.”

Drew presented her findings at the Research Congress of Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing. Drew says the conference had 900 attendees from various countries.

“This was a wonderful experience,” says Drew. “It was interesting to get international perspectives on our research.”

The self-care module was based on fashion designer Donna Karan’s self-care initiative, Urban Zen Integrative Therapy. Urban Zen was created after Karan realized that informal caregivers, like family members, and formal caregivers, like nurses, need encouragement to care for themselves so they are more able to care for others. Drew stated that the founders of Urban Zen were interested in promoting self-care early in the education of health professionals and the College of Nursing at Kent State was a perfect fit.

For more information about Kent State’s College of Nursing, visit www.kent.edu/nursing.