Blog Post #4: End of Year Report on The Use of Lavender Aromatherapy in Nursing Students to Decrease Test Anxiety and Improve Quality of Sleep

Upon the completion of our research study we had six undergraduate freshmen nursing students in total complete the study in its entirety. The results of these six participants showed a positive correlation between the use of the lavender aromatherapy and its effect on improving their test anxiety and their sleep quality. Our findings show that compared to the pre intervention scales to the post intervention scales there was a decrease in the scores of the two scales we used to test the participants test anxiety and sleep quality. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index scale that we used to determine the participants sleep quality had an average score of 6.17 pre intervention (lavender inhalers) to an average score of 5.33 post intervention. This supports our study that the use of the lavender inhalers improved the freshmen nursing students sleep quality. The other scale we used, The Westside Test Anxiety scale had an average score of 32.83 pre intervention compared to a score of 27.5 post intervention. These results and numbers also support our study in that the use of the lavender inhalers helped the freshmen nursing students decrease their test anxiety. Altogether, our research study results showed a positive correlation between the lavender aromatherapy inhalers and its effect on reducing test anxiety and improving sleep quality in this population of students. These findings support our initial prediction on how it would positively impact these students.

The initiative to start this project with Dr. Greenberg first stemmed from me taking her online nursing elective class on Healing with alternative therapies in nursing. I really enjoyed taking this class and learning about all the alternative forms of medicine in nursing today including aromatherapy. Dr. Greenberg could tell I was very interested in learning more about aromatherapy and reached out to me to do this research project with her. Starting up the process of the project was not easy as I was a beginning researcher and had to learn all of the things that needed to be done in order for this project to be successful. The initiative to begin the actual study started with the recruiting process of the students. This required a lot of time and patience. I had to go to all of the freshmen nursing classes and try to recruit as many freshmen as I could by explaining the project and hoping it would spark an interest in them to want to participate to help with their anxiety and sleep quality. Keeping the participants on task with what we needed them to do with the inhalers was not easy as well but out of the 11 participants we initially started with, 6 ended up fully completing the study which was a great outcome for our results. My mentor and I collaborated well together. We would meet at least once a month to discuss what has been done with the study and then plan for the next step  of the study process. These meetings of collaborative teamwork ultimately led to a successful completion of our research project.

Overall, I really enjoyed conducting this research study alongside my faculty mentor, Dr. Martha Greenberg. I learned so much from being able to do this project with such an experienced nurse and researcher. Not only did I learn about the positive effects aromatherapy has on our body but I also learned how to properly conduct a research study and all the steps and processes that need to be taken in order for the study to produce results without discrepancies. I am eager to continue on with my nursing career and hopefully engage and participate in any research opportunities that come my way along my career path.

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