More training on extreme clinical situations should be included in nursing curricula, say experts

Thanks to research led from Lleida with funding from the Official College of Nurses of Lleida

Research led by Lleida identifies the need to introduce changes in nursing curricula to instruct students to be able to cope with extreme clinical situations, such as pandemics. "The programmes should include broader coverage of epidemics and pandemics and the management of emotional aspects such as resilience," explained the article's last author, Erica Briones, professor at the University of Lleida and principal investigator of the GRECS group at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine of Lleida (IRBLleida). The article has been published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Student nurses had an overall positive experience when entering the world of work during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (May-June 2020). However, they had an emotional impact in the form of stress caused by excessive responsibility, academic uncertainty, lack of personal protective equipment and the possibility of infecting their family members with the virus.

"Excessive responsibility, academic uncertainty, lack of personal protective equipment and training in its use, and the possibility of spreading the disease were aspects that caused the nursing students who worked during the first wave of COVID-19 to suffer from dysfunctional mental health symptoms, which caused them stress and anxiety," added Briones.

Research staff from the research groups Society, Health, Education and Culture Studies (GESEC) at the University of Lleida and Health Care (GRECS) at IRBLleida (Esther Rubinat, Filip Bellon, Joan Blanco and Erica Briones) have participated in the research, the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (with links to the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Gregorio Marañón and the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Puerta de Hierro-Segovia de Arana), the Hospital Clínico de Santiago de Compostela, the Universidad del País Vasco (with links to the Instituto de Investigación Biocruces Bizkaia) and the Universidad de Murcia.

The research involved 92 third and fourth year nursing students from three Spanish universities (University of Lleida, University of the Basque Country and Autonomous University of Madrid), who entered the workforce during the pandemic. Data were collected between May and June 2020. In the quantitative phase, data were collected using an online questionnaire containing validated anxiety and stress scales. In the qualitative phase, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 participants.

The research was made possible thanks to funding from the Colegio Oficial de Enfermeras y Enfermeros de Lleida (COILL) through the 29th edition of the Josep María Camps Balagué award. Funding was also provided by the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) for the publication of the article.

Article: Robledo-Martín, J., Acea-López, L., Pérez-Urdiales, I., Alcolea-Cosín, M. T., Bellon, F., Oter-Quintana, C., Blanco-Blanco, J., Pastor-Bravo, M. d. M., Rubinat-Arnaldo, E., & Briones-Vozmediano, E. (2023). From students to nurses under pressure: Nursing students' entry into employment during the first COVID-19 wave. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 00, 1- 18.

The GRECS research group has been leading the research