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Anybody Need a Hug? They're Free!

Posted by Ashley Bails Friday, Dec. 14, 2012

The students, faculty and staff at Nebraska Methodist College are second to none. We've always known that. But once again, they continue to amaze us with their kind hearts, compassion and love. This time of year is stressful and hectic for everyone, let alone for college students wrapping up a tough academic semester. But that didn't stop a few of our nursing students from reaching out and showing that they care.

It all started earlier this year...

Nursing instructors, Cathy Barnes and Echo Perlman attended the Jean Watson Introduction to Human Caring Program earlier this year. The program emphasized tactics to help nurses and healthcare professionals fully integrate the science of human caring into their day-to-day practices. As part of the course, the participants were shown a video called "Free Hugs in Italy" that really encompasses the art of human caring. (See video at right.)

Instructors Barnes, Perlman, Casey Frost and Jodi Jensen-Bassett felt compelled to incorporate the "small things" in the classroom to emphasize caring and decrease student anxiety before exams. So this semester before the first exam in the NRS 340 class, the instructors showed the "Free Hugs in Italy" video as the students were coming in the classroom. The faculty held up free hug signs and stood at the front of the room. The students enjoyed this and so it became a ritual before every NRS 340 exam; each time, more students partaking in the "free hugs" from their instructors.

Fast forward to the last day of the fall semester. The final exam. Knowing that the students would be filled with anxiety, excitement and nerves for their final day in this class, the instructors thought they were being clever by bringing Hershey Kisses and Hugs to wish the students well on the final exam. But what happened next, brought tears to their eyes...

Students asked to play the "Free Hugs in Italy" again as a little pep-talk before their exam began. As instructors were distracted getting things set up, the students all took off their coats and sweatshirts to reveal each and everyone of them wearing a purple t-shirt with the words "FREE HUGS" in large pink letters on the front. On the back of the shirt was "Nebraska Methodist College NURSING" with each of the NRS 340 students' and instructors' names. Each instructor was then presented with their own "Free Hugs" t-shirt.

"What amazing students to coordinate something so meaningful and we didn't suspect a thing," said Perlman. "It truly brought us all to tears."

As Jean Watson said herself, "Caring is the essence of nursing." It's safe to say that these students and faculty, fully grasp the meaning of care.

free hugs nrs 340

Nursing Instructors

NRS 340 intructors: Cathy Barnes, Casey Frost, Jodi Jensen-Bassett and Echo Perlman.

Topics: student achievements

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