University of Calgary

Nursing students create stress-busting campaign for Calgary junior high

UToday HomeApril 10, 2013

A group of University of Calgary nursing studentsA group of University of Calgary nursing students designed a series of posters to look like text messages, after holding a parent information meeting at Tom Bains School in Edgemont. The posters, featuring QR codes, direct students to mental health resources for help with issues such as addiction and bullying. Photo by Riley BrandtA unique project by University of Calgary second-year nursing students that simulates the look of a text message may help junior high school students more easily find resources to cope with anxiety.

The “Stress Stranglers,” as the group named themselves, worked with staff and students as well as parents in the northwest community of Edgemont as part of their community health course.

“Our group did an assessment with the school community and identified that stress and anxiety were areas of concern for kids within the school,” says Mia Ortiz, one of the group members. “We sent parents a survey as well and the response indicated that they wanted information that would help their children.”

After holding a parent information evening and a lunch hour exercise session with 45 students, the end result is a resource campaign, listing hotlines and links to assistance for mental health issues like addictions to gaming, gender identification and bullying.

Ten posters, mimicking a text conversation, have been designed and include a QR code that links the student to the school website with contact information for support. The posters will hang on bathroom stall doors so students who may be self-conscious about their issues can maintain confidentiality.

“We are proud of our partnership with the nursing program and the work that we have all done together,” says Rick Petrowitsch, principal of Tom Bains School. “We pride ourselves in the Calgary Board of Education in partnering with other learning organizations.”

The hope is that other schools may adapt this initiative for their own students, says nursing instructor, Elizabeth Keys. “We have already met with the Northwest Community Health Centre and the registered nurses see ways to transfer this model to their communities which is very exciting. This is a win-win for education and for health care.”

It’s a win for students as well. Sunny Goojha says that when the Stress Stranglers initially started, they weren’t sure where the project would go. “As we worked through it and it started to expand and the ideas started flowing, it turned into a very positive experience.”

The Stress Stranglers is only one of 17 group projects to be showcased at a public student presentation today in the Faculty of Nursing. Included are four who worked with ECMap, a provincial project set up to promote early childhood development.

Nursing Practice instructor Carla Ferreira’s students learned about software mapping from the university library’s Spatial and Numeric Data Services, allowing them to map community resources (like libraries, schools, green spaces) that support EcMap’s initiative.

“Using the TFDL’s visualization room, the students were able to actually see what a community offers in terms of resources related to early childhood development and where they are located,” she says. “This is a wonderful example of collaboration and partnership from the province, the community and other areas of the university.”

The campus community is welcome to view the student projects between 1 and 3 today on the main level of the Professional Faculties Building.


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