New nursing program helps nursing students relax
DetailsCreated on Friday, 28 January 2011 02:42 Written by Yelena Tischenko Hits: 1342
Nurses are crazy stressed.
So the College of Nursing has created a series of classes to teach nursing students ways to reduce that overwhelming feeling from patients’ demands and long shifts.
David Pratt, director of advancement at the College of Nursing, said the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy program is offered this semester for 30 accelerated program students — students who already have their bachelor’s degree and are just taking nursing classes for 15 months.
“Practicing modalities will train the students in mindful awareness,” said Tracey Motter, senior undergraduate program director for the College of Nursing. “It is thought to improve students’ abilities to pay closer attention, improve their memory and improve their reaction to stress both mentally and physically.”
The therapy program is part of the introductory three-credit hour course nursing students can take in their first semester. One objective is to give students tools to be successful in the program and, eventually, successful nurses. It will help them cope with stress of the very rigorous program as well as decrease potential burnout in the future as a practicing nurse.
Pratt said because of the different patient demands, nurses can get overwhelmed and stressed to the point where they quit their jobs or change careers.
“We are trying to teach yoga concepts, breathing awareness and focusing on relaxing,” he said. “It’s healthy for the nurse, but the payoff is better care for the patient.”
For example, the program offers yoga classes to teach breathing techniques to keep nurses calm in stressful situations.
“If there will be an impact on nurses, the bigger impact will be on patient care,” Pratt said.
Donna Karan, a contemporary American designer, launched the Urban Zen Integrative Therapy program in 2009 to help patients by blending Eastern and Western medical treatments.
The idea for the program at Kent State resulted from a member of the university’s foundation board who told President Lester Lefton he might be able to create a relationship between Karan and the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising. University representatives set up a meeting with Karan in New York City.
A few days before the trip, Gene Finn, Kent State’s vice president for institutional advancement, found out about the Urban Zen Foundation. Finn asked Pratt to create a summary of what Kent State envisioned for alternative medicines and therapies. Pratt and a few members met with Karan at her Greenwich Village loft. Karan was very interested and the meeting resulted in the self-care curriculum at the College of Nursing last semester.
There are no fees for students now but if the program becomes an elective in the future, there might be a fee for yoga mats. Pratt said reaching out to alumni and donors could help sustain this program.
“The timing is right,” Pratt said. “We at Kent State are absolutely in position to be a leader in this program, especially at a nursing standpoint.”
Zachary Culler contributed to this report.