Luther College student researches resilience and stress levels in the nursing profession

September 21, 2017

Currently, there is a shortage of Registered Nurses in the United States due to changing retirement rates and an increased rate of burnout in nurses. Mariah Olson, Luther College senior of Lewiston, Minnesota, researched how shift rotation and length affect resilience and stress levels in the nursing profession for her summer research project at the college.

Olson, the daughter of Dave and Susie Olson of Lewiston, is a 2014 graduate of Rushford-Peterson High School. She is majoring in nursing at Luther.

“The most challenging part of research was choosing a topic to focus on! I have so many interests within nursing that it was difficult to pick one. The effect of shift rotation and shift length on nurses grabbed my attention and after talking with faculty and staff nurses, it was clear that this is an area that needs more research,” said Olson.

Olson worked with LaDonna McGohan, Luther associate professor of nursing, and Loren Toussaint, professor of psychology, on her project “Perceived Stress and Resilience Related to Shift Rotation and Length in the Nursing Profession.”

By studying the factors that can affect stress and resilience levels, the trio attempted to discover what is causing burnout and nurses to have elevated stress levels and decreased resilience in their profession. Through this research they hoped to create strategies that can be implemented to increase resilience and improve stress levels. This includes considering whether 12-hour hospital shifts are safe for both the nurses and their patients

The group’s collaboration was one of 26 summer student-faculty research projects funded through Luther’s College Scholars Program and Dean’s Office. The Student-Faculty Summer Research projects provide students an opportunity to research topics of interest alongside Luther faculty. This program is one of a wide selection of experiential learning opportunities at Luther intended to deepen the learning process and that are part of Luther’s academic core.

The results of the project will be presented at Luther’s Student Research Symposium in 2018.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college’s website: