A new initiative offered to support nursing students’ well-being has received an official ‘stamp’ of approval from one of them, following the team’s first virtual well-being festival – ‘Vibrance and Peace’.
Students gathered online to put their studies aside for a day and relax, recharge, reflect and reconnect. The themed ‘tents’ and pop up activities included advice on how to de-stress, lecturers sharing their favourite ‘food for the soul’ recipes, storytelling and poetry and free-to-view, classic comedy clips.
Nursing students already receive mindfulness and well-being events and products to help them cope with the demands of academic study and working on placement in busy clinical environments.
These include confidence boosting ‘words of wisdom’, advice to deal with stress and how to support each other during busy times and, when the University is open for face-to-face activities, access to physical activity sessions such as yoga.
During the festival – held last week – a new well-being initiative was launched. Called ‘Keeping Me Safe’, it provides bespoke emotional support with live webinars about maintaining mental health and well-being from expert Dr Mike Scanlan and UON nursing lecturers Emma Dillion and Dr Peter Stuart.
One of the students taking part was Anne-Marie York, who is in the first year of her degree in Adult Nursing. A keen amateur kickboxer, she found herself unexpectedly taking part in the day’s activities. She said: “I sometimes experience anxiety and wanted to use physical exercise as an outlet to deal with that.
“I know it’s not the most traditional way to ‘vent’, but some days when I am down I feel instantly better after kickboxing. It helps me stop over-thinking and helps maintain my emotional balance.
“I really enjoyed the festival, it was fun and nice to have a break from studies, but I didn’t realise I would end up being part of the programme! One of the lecturers saw a photo of me in my kickboxing gear and asked me to demonstrate some of the moves.
“I showed them the basics, how to hold the right stance as well as some different punches and kicks. I loved doing it and hope it helped a few of the other students, but I had to warn them to be careful. Like me, they may have been doing it in their living room and I didn’t want anyone to kick their TV over – I haven’t been told about any accidents, so I think the demo went well!”
Erica Birch-Abban is a first-year Mental Health Nursing student and added: “The festival was well thought through and organised. It was fun and relaxing and I must say the highlight of the event was the welcome dance by the lecturers. I couldn’t get enough of it; just brilliant! Hopefully, we will be able to translate all the highlights into a physical form next year. Thank you so much!”
Lauretta Ofulue is in the final year of her degree in Learning Disability Nursing and said: “I was very impressed with the level of activities put together. There was a surprisingly wide-range and number of very interactive and user-friendly events to engage with. I liked the nature tent as this encouraged us all to get out and about and take a ‘walk on the wild side’. Essentially it was all about having fun and relaxing after the challenging past few months and I’d say our lecturers more than delivered on that basis.”
See our website for all of the Nursing courses on offer at UON.