Students participate in a self-care activity

Professional Well-Being Initiative

Preparing you to face the challenges of providing high-quality patient care in different clinical settings is our most important charge as a nursing school. But the demands of a career in nursing can take a toll on even the hardiest of us, which is why we must also cultivate resilience and self-awareness in the face of adversity and stress.

The Professional Well-Being Initiative is designed to develop knowledge and skills to help you cope with stress and adversity in a healthy, proactive way. You will be able to apply what you learn in this new initiative to manage the many tasks and deadlines of our program, then carry that knowledge and awareness with you well beyond this program in professional practice.


“We’re preparing our students to take on not only the challenges of providing high-quality care in different clinical settings, but also to tackle the issues of burnout and work-related stress that are causing so many nurses to exit the profession.”

Dean Pamela Jeffries


Training Resilient Nurses

Practicing resilience in the face of adversity can be challenging, given the rigorous demands of the nursing profession. Preparing nurses to deal with burnout, stress and other factors that cause them to leave the profession can be as important to their success in a nursing career as the clinical skills they learn.

By teaching specific coping strategies and the importance of seeing to your own well-being as well as that of your patients, we aim to train a generation of nurses that can face the stress and challenges of an ever-changing health care environment with resilience.

Completing at least six of the nine sessions will result in you receiving a notation on your official transcript stating you have completed the Professional Well-Being Initiative.

When and Where

Each of these hourlong sessions will be held in Room 105 in Innovation Hall on our Virginia Science and Technology Campus in Ashburn. You will cover three modules as part of your normal course progression: Transitioning to A Professional Role, Mindfulness and Self Care and Anxiety and Depression. Here, you can learn more about each session and how it can help you develop habits and practices that will improve your well-being not only in this program, but beyond into your nursing career.

Mindfulness and Self Care

September 11, 12 — Mindfulness and Self Care by Dr. JoAnn Conroy (covered during Transitions course)

Nursing care is patient-centered, where we meet them along their life journey. So often we give so much to others and forget to care for ourselves in the process. You must remember that this is your journey too. Providing safe, high-quality patient care is demanding and multi-faceted and a healthy nurse is one who mindfully and proactively creates self-care practices and support systems to support and protect themselves.

Balancing Multiple Tasks

September 12, 14 — Balancing Multiple Tasks by Jennifer Hayes-Klosteridis

As a nursing student, your goal is to complete the program successfully, but the journey can often be challenging. This workshop will introduce you to tools help you meet your goals while balancing the competing priorities that busy second-degree nursing students have to juggle.

Grit and Resilience

September 19, 21 — Grit and Resilience by Dr. Billinda Tebbenhoff and Dr. Jess Calohan

Health care professionals are pros at readiness; we train, drill and prepare to manage any situation. Yet how do we prepare ourselves for the emotional strain of caring for others? Resilience has a genetic component, but we can build our emotional reserve, enhance our grit and get back up when the strong winds of life knock us down.

Anxiety and Depression

September 25, 28 — Anxiety and Depression by Dr. Billinda Tebbenhoff and Dr. Jess Calohan (during Psychiatric Mental Health class)

You’ll review the various types of anxiety-spectrum disorders, diagnostic criteria, nursing and medical management and resources available to assist individuals with these disorders. The depression module types of depressive disorders, diagnostic criteria, nursing and medical management and resources available to assist individuals with these disorders.

Effective Communication and Conflict Resolution

October 3, 5 — Effective Communication and Conflict Resolution by Dr. Jess Calohan

Adaptive versus maladaptive communication strategies can often be misconstrued. This session will provide an opportunity to discuss constructive conflict resolution skill-building using an Interest-Relational Based approach. 

Transitioning to A Professional Role

October 10, 12 — Transitioning to A Professional Role by Dr. JoAnn Conroy (during Transitions course)

Transitioning into the demanding role of professional nurse requires discipline, courage, a solid moral and ethical foundation, compassion, and a commitment to lifelong learning. Nurses must be knowledgeable about the economic, political and workplace realities of today’s complex health care environment.

How to Manage and Cope with Stress

October 17, 19 — How to Manage and Cope with Stress by Dr. Jean Johnson

Managing stress is critical to managing the expectations of a fast-paced program as well as being an effective and compassionate nurse. This session will provide useful methods to safeguard against feeling constantly overwhelmed and provide insights into your specific ways of managing stress.

Grief and Loss

November 7, 9 — Grief and Loss by Paul Tschudi

Grief is the natural, normal, necessary and adaptive response to a loss or a life altering transition. It is a process that allows us to let go of that which was and to ready ourselves for that which is to come. It is perhaps our greatest teacher and makes us more fully human. As caregivers, we need to understand this process for the benefit of our patients and ourselves.

Self-care Through the Arts in Health Care

November 14, 16 — Self-care Through the Arts in Health Care by TBD

Achieving work-life balance can be tricky. Exploring your own creativity and self-expression through the arts can be a calming and self-revelatory, self-care practice. Even 15 minutes of “me time” spent writing a poem, dancing or playing a favorite instrument can soothe and restore a weary mind.