Implementation of a mindfulness activity for nursing students with test anxiety

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University of Alabama Libraries

Undergraduate nursing students are voicing a high level of test anxiety related to the high stakes testing within their learning environment. Test anxiety has been well documented in nursing education (Bartlett, Taylor, & Nelson, 2016; Duty, Christian, Loftus, & Zappi, 2016; Gibson, 2014). Quinn and Peters (2016) noted that the “presence of high-stakes comprehensive examinations and the consequences of poor performance complicates test anxiety for nursing students” (p. 146). High stakes testing is not a new educational concept, yet test anxiety continues to escalate each year, especially in nursing (Quinn & Peters, 2016). Text anxiety interventions within the curriculum may prove helpful in nursing students’ success. Within studies pertaining to test anxiety, mindfulness has helped decrease test anxiety (Bamber & Schneider, 2016; Ratanasiripong et al., 2015; Spadaro & Hunker, 2016). Mindfulness is considered a strategy used in the third wave of behavioral change approaches; therefore, systematic desensitization was used in a mindfulness intervention for test anxiety. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to examine the impact a mindfulness intervention, using systematic desensitization, had on community college nursing students’ test anxiety levels and test scores. Data were collected and analyzed using a sample of 107 associate degree nursing students from a community college in Texas. The intervention group listened to a multimedia Confidence Training for Tests between nursing exams. Post-intervention test anxiety scores were significantly lower (p<.001) than in the group who did not participate in the mindfulness intervention. Test performance did not differ significantly (p=.729). Systematic desensitization is a type of mindfulness that nursing students can use to decrease test anxiety.

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Education, Nursing, Educational technology