Background: Orientation is one of the most stressful times in a registered nurse's career. Little information is available regarding the efficacy of stress management approaches among new nurses. The purpose of this study was to examine outcomes of the implementation of a brief Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) program within a nurse orientation program.
Methods: In this randomized controlled pilot study, self-reported measures of stress, mindfulness, anxiety, and resilience were measured at baseline and 12 weeks following the intervention. For each group, the mean change from baseline to week 12 was evaluated using the paired t test. The change from baseline was compared between groups using the 2-sample t test. Feasibility of integrating the SMART program into the nurse orientation program was also analyzed.
Results: Of the 55 participants enrolled, 40 (73%) completed the study. Mindfulness and resilience scores improved in the intervention group and declined in the control group, while stress and anxiety scores decreased in the intervention group and increased in the control group. The between-group change in each outcome, however, was not statistically significant.
Conclusions: Integrating the SMART program within the nurse orientation program is feasible. While changes between groups were not significant, trends in the results indicate that the program has the potential for efficacy. Future research with larger numbers is indicated with a revised version of the program to increase its effect size.
Keywords: Anxiety; education; mindfulness; nurses; resilience–psychological; stress–psychological.