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Implementation of an Online Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Reducing Stress Amongst Undergraduate Nursing Students

Background & Purpose: Nurses and nursing students have notoriously high levels of stress, which can lead to burnout, depersonalization, deterioration of mental or physical health or exiting the profession. A pilot educational mindfulness-based intervention was implemented online amongst undergraduate nursing students to decrease stress and increase mindfulness. Mindfulness is an evidence-based self-care skill that has proven effective in reducing stress in student populations and amongst nurses. Methods: Students in an online nursing theory course engaged in the mindfulness-based intervention online. Stress and mindfulness were measured pre-, immediately post-, and 4 weeks post-intervention and were analyzed using linear regression. Students were also surveyed regarding feasibility and challenges with the program. Results: Sixty students participated in the 5-week training and completed pre- and post-test measurements. Students with the highest adherence to the program reported a decrease in stress with mild statistical significance in this sample (M=-1.678, SE=.943, p=.075), while an increase in mindfulness was observed across all adherence levels (M=3, SE=.846, p≤.001). Twenty-nine students participated at follow-up, and the results were sustained. After five weeks of exposure to mindfulness, a majority of students valued this new skill (58%) and would share it with a colleague (53%) or a future client (60%). Conclusion: Integration of an abbreviated, online mindfulness program is effective at decreasing students’ stress and increasing mindfulness. A slightly longer version of this intervention should be considered. Digital delivery addresses an important health equity concern for nursing students, who must be better equipped with self-care tools to effectively cope with stress.