Self-Care Practices of Nursing Students in an Online Program


Beverly W. Dabney, Carmen Stokes, Mary Linton, Chelsea Duncan, Linda Knecht, Jamie Koonmen


University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, Michigan



The American Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics indicates that nurses have a duty to self. However, little is known about the self-care practices of registered nurse to bachelor’s degree of science in nursing (RN-to-BSN) students.


This study aimed to explore the self-care practices of RN-to-BSN students during the COVID-19 pandemic.


A descriptive cross-sectional survey design was used. Students were surveyed during Fall 2020 semester. Their reports related to diet, exercise, rest, family and personal relationships, leisure and recreational activities, and attending to spiritual or religious needs were measured using the Self-Care Behavioral Inventory.


Most students reported that they did not spend enough time on self-care. Students reported the least amount of self-care activities in the area of spirituality (M=2.85, SD=.87). Of the individual practices measured, those scoring the least included taking time off when needed (M=2.51, SD=.92), exercising (M=2.73, SD=.90), seeking out rewarding projects (M=2.93, SD=1.00), spending time with nature (M=2.96, SD=.96), and making quiet time to complete tasks (M=2.97, SD=.86). All self-care activities averaged less than four on a scale of one to five, with five indicating the highest self-care level.


The findings support the need for student interventions addressing self-care.

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