Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Capstone

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

First Advisor

Gayle Casterline

Abstract

Problem. The level of stress experienced by college students can be significant. It can be even more pronounced in nursing students as a result of the intense curriculum and clinical experiences. Stress can be the result of academic, personal, or interpersonal causes. It can affect physical, psychological, spiritual, and social well-being. Stress is not always avoidable but learning techniques to manage stress can improve overall well-being by decreasing the physical, psychological, spiritual, and social effects of stress. Learning to manage stress through holistic self-care with mindfulness stress reduction techniques could help alleviate the negative effects of stress, enabling the student to manage stress in a more appropriate and healthy manner.

Purpose. The purpose of the project was to determine whether education on stress and the use of mindfulness stress reduction techniques for stress management purposes in first semester nursing students would decrease the level of perceived stress. Background. Nursing students can experience a high level of stress as the result of both academic and personal stressors.

Project design. Students were recruited for voluntary participation in the mindfulness stress reduction (MSR) intervention. The MSR intervention took place over an eight week period with biweekly mindfulness practice sessions offered. Descriptive statistics and a non-randomized pre-test/post-test design were used to determine outcome measurements for the level of stress perception and mindfulness. The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) was used for data collection.

Sample. A non-randomized convenience sample was recruited from the undergraduate first semester nursing students in a pre-licensure traditional baccalaureate nursing program (BSN) in a private college.

Findings. The pre and post intervention scores of mindfulness (MAAS) and perceived stress (PSS) were not significantly different. In part, this might have been related to the small pool of participants. The post intervention questionnaire did reveal a number of positive effects of the MSR intervention.

Recommendations. Future studies could examine how to increase participation for a more effective MSR intervention in hopes of positively impacting nursing students’ levels of stress and mindfulness.

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