J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc. 2023 Nov-Dec;29(6):447-456. doi: 10.1177/10783903231205495.
BACKGROUND: A Mental Health Task Force (MHTF) was developed in a large public college of nursing in the Southeastern United States to address the urgent mental health needs expressed by growing numbers of nursing students related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
AIMS: The purpose of this study was to report on a needs assessment conducted by the MHTF.
METHODS: The needs assessment study design was a 16-item cross-sectional online survey and four “Town Hall” focus groups with nursing students, faculty, and staff (n = 1-8 participants per group). Survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and free-text questions from the survey and focus groups were analyzed using a qualitative descriptive approach.
RESULTS: Undergraduate and graduate students (n = 115) ranging in age from 17 to 50 years completed the survey; 95% female, 94% full-time, 56% employed, 77% White, and 81% in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Eleven students participated in the focus groups. The analysis of the free-text survey questions identified the students’ perceived needs. Mental health care was the most frequently requested, followed by faculty check-ins, stress management, and peer support.
CONCLUSIONS: The administration of the survey provided an opportunity for students to communicate concerns and make requests. To address the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on nursing students, multi-modal needs assessments should be conducted periodically to identify priority mental health needs.