Blog Post #3: Progress of The Use of Lavender Aromatherapy to Reduce Test Anxiety and Improve Sleep Quality in Nursing Students

With the middle of the Spring Semester coming in full swing Dr. Greenberg and I have made a lot of progress in our research project. In my last post I discussed how we were considering incorporating Sophomore Nursing students into our study. However, when we met at the start of the Spring semester we concluded that it would be best to only focus on Freshmen nursing students as it is seen that they experience more anxiety and sleep problems. As soon as we decided on our targeted population we immediately implemented our plan of action and started with the recruiting process. This involved going to all of the Freshmen Nursing classes with my mentor, Dr Greenberg, to try and recruit as many Freshmen as possible.

The recruiting process was somewhat of a difficult task. Initially when going into these classes to talk about the project, many students raised their hands indicating that they were interested in participating. However, about only half of the students who raised their hands actually acted on participating and contacted us to fill out consent forms, scales, etc. After meeting with these students and consenting them to the study we then handed them the lavender inhalers with instructions on how to use the inhalers over the course of the next six weeks.

This week of March 11th marks the coming up of 6 weeks since the students  have gotten their inhalers to use. The plan is for me to meet with all the participants and have them fill out the scales they filled out in the beginning, again. Then following this data collection I will collaborate with Dr. Greenberg to start on the research project poster, etc.

I have learned a lot through the journey of this research project up until this point. I have learned how to properly recruit people to participate in a study and the proper steps to take in order to make the study as valid as possible. I have also learned a lot about aromatherapy and how much it is used as a tool and alternative therapy today with many different types of people in order to reduce anxiety  and improve sleep quality. I look forward to finishing up this research project with my mentor and to see what the results conclude.


Blog #2: Continuation of The Use of Lavender Aromatherapy to Reduce Test Anxiety and Improve Sleep Quality in Nursing Students

In the continuation of my undergraduate research project, The Use of Lavender Aromatherapy to Reduce Test Anxiety and Improve Sleep Quality in Nursing Students we are in the midst of recruiting individuals for our research study. Initially we were going to focus our study on the population of freshmen nursing students, however after analyzing the freshmen and sophomore nursing curriculum we have decided to also open up the study to sophomore nursing majors. Sophomore nursing majors face a lot of stress in this year of nursing. It is their first year of real nursing classes and many of the students have a hard time managing their time in order to study and get all of their projects/ papers done in time. This raises their anxiety levels and many of the students stay up all night due to this anxiety and workload. Therefore, we have officially decided to recruit sophomores in addition to freshmen nursing students for our study.

Through the course of this semester I have also learned more about the use of lavender and its effects on anxiety and sleep quality. Lavender works as an anxiolytic and as a sedative to increase relaxation and calm and help bring about sleep. It has been shown to increase time spent in deep, slow wave sleep thus improving insomnia and sleep quality. In terms of stress, lavender has been shown to reduce the physical and emotional signs of stress. This includes: lowering blood pressure and heart rate, and increasing feelings of relaxation and calmness. In addition, Lavender can also function as a pain reliever or analgesic and as an anti inflammatory agent.

The only questions in our study that we had so far was regarding our population of students that we were focusing on. However, my mentor and I discussed which population of students to focus on and decided on sophomore and freshmen nursing students.



Blog Post # 1, The Use of Lavender Aromatherapy to Reduce Test Anxiety and Improve Sleep Quality in Nursing Students

My name is Hayley Giblin and I will be working with my mentor, Dr. Martha Greenberg during the 2018-2019 session of the undergraduate research program. Throughout the course of this school year we will be doing research focused on aromatherapy, specifically lavender. The purpose of this project is to see how lavender has an effect on reducing test anxiety and improving sleep quality in nursing students. We have decided to conduct our research primarily on freshman nursing students. As a freshman nursing major you are getting a lot of tests every semester along with papers, reading assignments and homework for other classes. It is a big adjustment for these students to make and along with this comes anxiety about passing tests and staying up late at night to study and trying to finish all the other work you are assigned. The goal of this research project is to see how much of an impact lavender has on reducing test anxiety and improving sleep quality in these students.

From this project we hope to achieve an overall decrease in the amount of test anxiety seen in freshmen nursing students and see an improvement in sleep quality. The tools we will be using to test this are: the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and the Westside test Anxiety scale. We will be conducting this project by going to freshman nursing University 101 classes and recruiting students to participate in our research. Students who volunteer to participate in the study will fill out the above tools and be given lavender in a small container to use throughout the year. We will also be conducting our research using databases such as Pubmed and Cinahl.  Our research proposal has been submitted to the IRB and I am very excited to see how this journey plays out. Throughout this journey I hope to learn more about lavender and its many effects on the body and how it can be used to produce this calming effect to reduce anxiety and improve sleep.