Wayne State University

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Complementary Therapies Graduate Students Present Aromatherapy Research Project at Conference
March 6, 2013

Dr. Judi Fouladbakhsh, and the College of Nursing at Wayne State University, recently developed a brand new Complementary Therapies in Healthcare certification program. The program is aimed at training healthcare professionals to integrate complementary and alternative healing therapies with conven-tional Western medicine. The students in the first cohort of this program are Julia Farner, RN, DNP candidate; Joanne Nassar, RN, BSN currently working on her Master’s degree in Adult Primary Care Health; Kimberly Shmina, FNP-BC, CLC, DNP candidate; Meghan Stenzel RN, BSN; and Dawn Bielawski, PhD, Sr. Institutional Review Board Specialist.
 
In the second course of this program, “Understanding the Evidence: Complementary Therapy Research,” Dr. Fouladbakhsh’s students were assigned to develop a research proposal encompass-ing the lessons learned on the challenges of researching complementary and alternative therapies. The above mentioned students developed a proposed study seeking to determine the effects of aromatherapy hand massage on test anxiety and self-efficacy in undergraduate nursing students. The proposed pilot is a quasi-experimental study in which nursing students are randomly assigned to receive aroma-therapy hand massage, unscented hand massage, or no intervention just prior to their midterm exams. Those in the intervention group will self-select whether they prefer to receive aromatherapy with either lavender or rosemary essential oils. Pre- and post-intervention measurements of test anxiety and self-efficacy will be used to determine the efficacy of the intervention. Although the effects of aroma-therapy on test anxiety has been studied before, this pilot study is unique in that no research has been published describing the effects of aromatherapy or hand massage on self-efficacy.
 
The students hope that their research will provide evidence on tools that undergraduate nursing students can use to decrease test anxiety and enhance self-efficacy, which could potentially lead to improved academic perfor-mance and increased retention rates.
 
With encouragement from Dr. Fouladbakhsh, the students in the first cohort of the Complementary Therapies in Healthcare graduate certificate program have decided to pursue further development of their proposed research. The students were elated to be invited to showcase their research poster at the 3rd annual St. John/Providence Holistic Nursing Conference featuring keynote speaker and leader in the field of holistic nursing, Dr. Jean Watson. This conference was held on March 1st in Troy, Michigan.
 
They plan to submit their proposal for funding in mid-March and hope to begin the study in fall 2013. The class believes their study can provide foundational evidence which can open the doors for additional research on comple-mentary and integrative care in nursing.