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Mindfulness in the classroom

Upholding the College of Nursing’s initiative of supporting student mental health, Assistant Professor Rachel Bush implemented mindfulness-based peer learning labs in an undergraduate psych course.

Mindfulness encourages students to manage their anxiety and stress. Students learn by journaling their emotions before and after each mindfulness activity. They first learn to apply skills for their own well-being and then how to share as an intervention in any practice setting.

“We encourage students to practice mindfulness before exams or other stressful situations they might be in,” said Bush.

Having mindfulness-based peer learning labs engages students during the downtime on clinical days when they have no other clinical activities scheduled and allows course faculty to interact with them in smaller groups.

Mindfulness activities include:

  • Focusing on their surroundings
  • Listening to other students effectively
  • Taking a walk

Students found mindfulness to be a useful new skill in clinicals.

“The mindfulness learning labs were such a unique experience. They allowed us to practice an array of activities intended to sharpen our focus and bring awareness to ourselves and our present state of being. I believe they would be valuable for anyone who operates in high-stress environments, such as nursing students," said senior Haley Miller.

This course addition is funded by the Helen Gurley Wolford grant and the Center for Teaching Excellence Innovative Pedagogy grant.

Bush and members of the mental health task force strive to meet students’ mental health needs. “Students complain about being stressed but have trouble identifying the stressors. Practicing mindfulness helps students learn to cope with stress and improve their clinical skills,” said Bush.

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