Background: Widespread reports of high stress levels and mental health problems among university student populations indicate the use of interventions to facilitate stress reduction and support student resilience and wellbeing. There is growing evidence that regular mindfulness practice may confer positive health benefits and reduced stress levels. Objectives: The aim of this pilot project was to explore the impact of a seven-week stress management and mindfulness program as a learning support and stress reduction method for nursing and midwifery students. Setting: The program was conducted at a large regional university in Australia. Participants: Fourteen first-year undergraduate nursing and midwifery students agreed to attend the program and to participate in a follow-up focus group. Method and Design: A descriptive qualitative design was utilised to examine the impact of the program. A semi-structured focus group interview was conducted with a thematic analysis undertaken of the transcript and process notes. Results: Ten students completed the research component of this project by participating in the focus group interview. Three main themes capture the participants' experience: attending to self, attending to others and attending to program related challenges. Data indicate a positive impact on sleep, concentration, clarity of thought and a reduction in negative cognitions. Participants also identified challenges related to timetabling, program structure and venue. Conclusions: Overall, this pilot program enhanced the participants' sense of well-being. Despite the challenges, benefits were identified on a personal and professional level. Valuable feedback was provided that will be used to further develop and expand stress management and mindfulness programs offered to students attending this university.
- Mindfulness program
- Stress management
- Undergraduate nursing students