Nursing Society implements virtual wellness group for nursing students

Facebook group discusses mental health, burnout, clinical, and COVID-19

The group launched Feb. 11 on Facebook.
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The Nursing Science Society (NSS) has introduced a new avenue for nursing students to connect with one another on the topic of wellness.

The NSS launched the Nursing Student Wellness Group on Feb. 11. It’s a Facebook group intended to provide additional support for students in the School of Nursing, in which they can post about issues they’re experiencing and receive support from 
their peers.

Students can also use the anonymous submission form to present a topic or issue to the group. 

“It is without a doubt that this has been an incredibly difficult year for nursing students all across Canada. The solutions being discussed come from how Queen’s nursing students have chosen to confront these issues,” Emma Harris, NSS vice-president (university affairs), wrote in a statement to The Journal.

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Discussions in the group include topics like mental health, coping mechanisms, burnout, and emotional help, as well as tips and advice for specific situations students are facing. The group is also meant to function as a community for nursing students, as in-person events aren’t possible during the pandemic.

The initiative has been “well received” so far, according to NSS President Nathaniel Gumapac, and students have been posting multiple kinds of content including memes, Q&As, and polls. There are currently 90 members in the group. 

“Wellness topics, such as burnout and mental health, are not new to the nursing world,” Azra Jeraj, NSS vice president (operations), wrote. “It is a common problem in nursing that leads to attrition.”

She added that nursing students face “unique stressors” compared to other Queen’s students, like the clinical setting.

“In the clinical setting, there is the known fear and possibility of causing risk to patients or being deemed incompetent,” she wrote. “This fear coupled with the nursing course load can contribute to great mental strain for students.”

Many students in the group have raised issues regarding the clinical setting, Jaraj said, especially in the context of COVID-19.

“With COVID-19, nursing students are also held to extremely strict standards about their social bubbles and COVID-19 protocol,” she wrote. “Therefore, many students feel isolated and miss their friends and family.”

However, Gumapac acknowledged that wellness issues aren’t unique to Nursing students.

“While nursing students face immense stress due to the professional nature of the program, students in other faculties also encounter stress,” he wrote. “We encourage students and faculty in all departments to support their peers and to engage in an act of kindness. It costs nothing to be kind to one another.”

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