Nursing school is stressful and can lead to issues that plague the nursing workforce as a whole—burnout, compassion fatigue, anxiety, depression (not to mention fear, extreme stress, and isolation). While the nursing faculty does an excellent job preparing future nurses to take care of patients, evidence-based tools and processes are needed to help prepare students to take care of themselves.
We continually speak to our students about burnout, compassion fatigue, self-care, and work-life balance. But we need to give them more evidence-based tools and processes to manage those issues. That way, they're taking better care of themselves—and each other—as they embark on a journey (nursing school) and career full of challenges.
To address this situation, Dena Klineline is working with the Next.IU team to develop a two-way communication tool for promoting the physical, mental, and social well-being of nursing students. Basically, she envisions it as a hub for building community among students and helping them develop coping strategies focused not just on surviving but on actually thriving.
The ultimate goal is to build a strong support base through:
- Check-ins (Klineline calls them pulse checks) to see how students are coping and provide faster interventions
- Direct, real-time communication (both identifiable and anonymous) with clinical faculty
- Student groups for communication, support, and cohort-building
- Shared resources, from test-taking tips and strategies to motivational messages and healthy habits
- Learning activities, including journaling and self-reflection, related to stress, coping, and wellness
Klineline and the Learning Technologies team supporting her project are currently in the design phase of the project, engaging with student, faculty, and staff stakeholders and considering possible technologies to meet the needs of the project. They are exploring the use of Microsoft Teams as the foundational technology to create this hub.
By taking advantage of these tools early in their nursing career, Klineline hopes students will feel better supported and less isolated as they transition to practice, which may help keep nurses at patients' bedsides instead of leaving the profession.
Ways to get involved: Dena Klineline and the Next.IU team are hoping to pilot this concept later this academic year. Contact us if you're interested learning more and potentially scaling up a similar solution for students in your area.