Calming and Focusing: Students’ Perceptions of Short Classroom Strategies for Fostering Presence

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Abstract

Purpose: Presence is the essence of professional nursing in the nurse–patient connection. Nursing students have little exposure to strategies fostering presence. This pilot study explored students’ perceptions of strategies to encourage presence in the classroom. Design: A three-question survey was distributed to students in the last week of classes. Faculty not teaching that course administered the survey. Method: Four faculty used strategies aimed at encouraging presence. These strategies included starting class with a mindfulness minute, mindful movement, singing bowl, peace and power check in, and a discussion of a current event. Each class used only one strategy consistently through the semester. Participants were undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in one of seven classes taught by these faculty. Findings: Overall the students found strategies to be beneficial. In reflecting on the experience with the strategies, four themes emerged: calming/relaxing; focusing/centering; setting aside distractions; and feeling community and connection. Conclusion: These brief strategies were acceptable to most students and were helpful to the students in preparing for class. The response to mindfulness minute was most positive. Further research is needed on the introduction of strategies that help students in the classroom and may also increase presence at the bedside.

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