Kent State University‘s College of Nursing and Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation are collaborating on a program that seeks to reduce nurses’ job-related stress and burnout through yoga and other Eastern practices.
The program, called Urban Zen Integrative Therapy, includes training in yoga, essential oil therapy, Reiki, nutrition and contemplative caregiving.
“In order to provide care for others, you’ve got to first care for yourself,” said Dave Pratt, director of advancement for the College of Nursing at the Kent, Ohio, school. “That’s what we’re trying to drill into our students.”
The new plans will expand on a pilot project that began in September, in which 30 students in Kent State’s accelerated nursing program participated in the first “Care for the Caregiver” program, according to a statement from Kent State.
Students met with the Urban Zen Foundation’s Ed Dailey, himself a registered nurse, on a monthly basis and also participated in weekly webinars.
About 38 percent of hospital nurses in a 2008 study in the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing reported experiencing “high” or “problematic” burnout. The problem is more acute with nurses under the age of 30, nearly 44 percent of whom reported “high” burnout, compared with slightly less than 38 percent of their older counterparts.
“The stress, danger, exhaustion, and frustration that have become built into the normal daily routine of hospital nurses constitute [the] single biggest factor driving nurses out of the industry,” the study said.
The College of Nursing is offering the program again this semester, with about 30 accelerated nursing students participating. Kent State hopes to eventually roll the program out to all of its undergraduate students, which currently number about 1,100, Pratt said.
Part of the value that Kent State can bring to the collaboration will be to conduct research into the program’s ability to reduce nurses’ stress, and whether the program leads to nurses providing better patient care, Pratt said.
The collaboration with Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation came about through personal connections. A member of Kent State’s foundation board who knew Karan set up a meeting between the fashion icon and representatives of the university, according to the statement.