Nursing Students' Experiences of Gratitude Journaling during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Healthcare (Basel). 2021 Oct 30;9(11):1473. doi: 10.3390/healthcare9111473.


Gratitude journaling has been used to improve grateful disposition. However, there is only limited data available on its application experience. This study aimed to: (1) explore the experiences of nursing students who have participated in gratitude journaling; and (2) assess students' views of gratitude journaling as a nursing intervention. This study implemented an eight-week program of gratitude journaling with fourth-year nursing students who took a mental health psychiatric nursing course at a South Korean university. Following the eight weeks, students reflected on their gratitude journaling experience in a reflective essay. Using content analysis, 53 essays were analyzed. Five categories were identified from the reflective essay, as follows: "A new beginning", "The engine that motivates continued participation: gratitude sharing", "The process driving change", "Changes brought about by gratitude", and "Self-reflection". Based on this experience, nursing students believed that it is important to promote steady participation when administering gratitude journaling as a nursing intervention. The study findings suggest that the gratitude journaling not only helped with nursing students' perspective, emotional, and behavioral aspects and stress management, but also provided an opportunity to advance a step further based on self-reflection.

Keywords: gratitude journaling; nursing students; qualitative research.