School of Nursing professors, students research factors that improve moral resilience of students


February 23, 2017

School of Nursing professors Lorretta Krautscheid and Laura Mood are co-investigators on an interventional research project that focuses on enhancing resilience to minimize moral distress among undergraduate nursing students. Krautscheid and Mood, along with researchers from University of Tennessee in Knoxville, hope to learn about educational strategies and ways to help student nurses develop moral resilience, to enhance well-being, to successfully adapt to adverse situations, and to prevent professional burnout.

"We are going to measure if moral resilience workshops influence both resilience protective factors and moral distress in students," Krautscheid said. "The UP students will receive the intervention of the interdisciplinary moral resilience workshops and the students from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville will be the control group and have no intervention."

In January, nursing students from UP completed two surveys: the Scale of Protective Factors and the Moral Distress Thermometer. Students will then participate in different educational strategies during the spring semester, including two nursing simulations and four resilience workshops. The workshops, which will be facilitated by researchers and experts, include topics such as effective communication strategies, developing moral agency and self-efficacy, and sustaining spiritual well-being. In April, participating students will complete the two surveys again to gauge the effectiveness of the simulations and workshops.

The researchers will then compare the pre-workshop results with the post-workshop results. The moral distress project has received funding from both the University's Dundon-Berchtold Institute and the Arthur Butine Faculty Development Fund.

School of Nursing seniors Taylor Mossman and Marie Wagner have been assisting the professors with the research project, including reviewing current literature, data collection, and writing the research article.

"Working with Dr. Krautscheid and Dr. Mood has been a valuable learning experience as a nursing student," Mossman said. "I am excited to see how the research turns out because I think it could potentially help future nursing students."

Another aspect of the project involves interdisciplinary education for nursing clinical faculty in clinical settings. Alongside other University professors, the group will be providing relationship-based communication strategies to the clinical faculty to promote educational continuity across the curriculum.

"Students spend more one-on-one time with clinical faculty than they do with academic faculty in the classroom setting," Krautscheid said. "Clinical faculty have a strong impact on how students learn effective communication strategies, applied ethics, and advocacy."

This aspect of the project is funded by the Dundon-Berchtold Institute and the Omicron Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau.


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