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.

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.