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Building Resilience in Undergraduate Nursing Students: Evaluation of Changing Minds, Changing Lives

Background: Undergraduate nursing students report experiencing high levels of stress, which may negatively affect academic, personal, and professional outcomes. Resilience has been found to mitigate the effects of high, prolonged stress. Specifically, nursing students who engaged in a program to enhance resilience had positive outcomes related to themselves, others, and their nursing program. Purpose: The purpose of this project was to implement and evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and value of an evidence-based resilience program, Changing Minds, Changing Lives, designed to reduce nursing student stress levels by building resilience and increasing use of positive coping strategies. Methods: Junior baccalaureate nursing students at one university participated in the project to evaluate a strength-based resilience program. Students completed a 17-question post-intervention survey and presented on their experiences. The survey data was analyzed using descriptive statistics, and content analysis was used to analyze student presentations. Results: Fifteen students completed the 10-week course. All participants reported an increase in resilience, identified coping strategies, and perceived an increased connection to peers. Additionally, four themes were identified from the participant presentations: enhanced self-awareness, greater connection with peers, improved self-efficacy, and use of stress management skills. Conclusions & Implications: Participants accepted and valued the resilience program and found it feasible. However, student attrition in program attendance indicated the program may not be practical for all students. Instead, nursing programs should consider integrating resilience training into the nursing curriculum to teach nursing students to build resilience and use resilience skills for stress management during educational programs and into their nursing careers.