Local program aims to prepare young nurses for healthcare crises

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A local research project aims to make sure new nurses are prepared for the stresses of doing their job during a healthcare crisis.

Flowing from interviews with local nurses during the pandemic, the project will yield a 10-week training program for senior nursing students. 

First, it will be offered at UWindsor’s Faculty of Nursing, then rolled out at the University of Ottawa and Queen’s University.

Dana Ménard is a UWindsor Psychology Professor. She says the interviews that are the basis of the project show just how heavy the pandemic has weighed on nurses.

“People in 2020 who were telling us that they were so committed to being nurses, and that they were so wrapped up in their professional identity, a year later, were saying ‘I’m burned out, I can’t cope, I’m looking for a way out,’ and it really concerned us,” she said.

Ménard talks a bit about some areas the project aims to cover.

“How to manage your own mental health, how to cope appropriately, how to deal with things like patients’ families, the stress that’s particular to being a racialized person, all that sort of thing.”

She adds, one key pillar of the program is hearing about what nurses need from nurses who have lived through healthcare crises.

“So, one of the first things that we’re going to do in developing this program is set up an advisory committee," she began. "It will be the nurses themselves who help us figure out what senior nursing students need to make the transition successfully.”

Ménard has received a $406,000 grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to develop the training program.

The program will be called STRONG— short for Simulated Training to improve Resiliency Of Nursing Groups.