Tayside and Central Scotland

Stirling University studies meditation's effect on nurse stress

nurses at workstation
Image caption The study will see if meditation can reduce the stress levels of student nurses

Researchers at Stirling University are to study the effects of meditation on the stress levels of trainee nurses.

The research, beginning in August, will involve student nurses undergoing a stress test and then carrying out four weeks of meditation training.

The participants will then take another stress test to find out if meditating has had any effect.

It is hoped the study will help new nurses adapt to the stressful working environments in hospitals.

Meditation is a technique which can be learned and helps individuals to relax and cope better with stressful situations.

The university said the student nurses would have guided meditation sessions and keep a journal about their own practice sessions at home as part of the research.

Researcher Jenny Jones said: "Hospitals can be a very stressful environment to work in.

"In my nursing training there was no mention of how to cope with stress, but this is something that nurses face on a daily basis.

"Student nurses are not prepared for the very emotional and sometimes traumatic events they may witness at work, or equipped with the tools to cope and carry on with their job effectively."

She said the team was hoping the research would change that.

Risk of stress

Ms Jones added: "We want to find out if mindfulness will impact on how nursing students cope with stress.

"If the results are positive, we want it to be introduced as part of nursing training."

"The ultimate hope is that this will make the nurses of the future more resilient to work related stress."

Data shows nurses experience high levels of work-related stress and are at risk of stress related illness.

At any one time up to 4% of trained nurses and up to 6% of health care assistants are off work with stress or stress-related illness.

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