SSTeMM – a new Erasmus+ project at UM FHS


University of Maribor Faculty of Health Sciences (UM FHS) researchers are partners in a new  Erasmus+ (Strategic Partnership for Higher Education) project ‘Student Stress Training e-Mobile Management (SSTeMM)’, coordinated by Waterford Institute for Technology The School of Health Science (WIT SHS)  from Ireland. Almost € 300.000,00 funding has been secured for a two year pan-European research project, which aims to develop an end-user accessible digital mobile platform providing stress management support tailored to the immediate needs of student nurses whilst they are in their clinical placement.

UM FHS will, in collaboration with WIT SHS and other partners in the project: University Pompeu Fabra, School of Health Sciences Tecnocampus from Barcelona, Spain, IBK Management Solutions from Wiesbaden, Germany and University for Business and Technology from Kosovo, implement the project with outsourced help of the Telecommunications Software Systems Group (TSSG), the School of Humanities at WIT and UPMC Whitfield Hospital in Waterford. It is anticipated that a minimum of 200 student nurses, as well as their internship mentors, will participate in this project across Ireland, Spain, Slovenia and Kosovo. It is anticipated that SSTeMM’s impact will extend beyond student nurses, providing lessons on student stress management and support for a range of disciplines where work placement forms a significant part of the curriculum.

Speaking at the project launch meeting, on September 23rd and 24th in Dublin, Ireland, project co-ordinator, Professor John Wells, PhD, said that “Mental distress amongst college attending young people has considerably increased over the last 20 years or so. We also know that work based stress is a major public health problem across Europe and that  the health care sector is one of the most significantly stressful employment environments. Student nurses have to attend college based and work in the health care environment to complete their nurse education. They are therefore subject to both college and work based stress at the same time during their education. The purpose of SSTeMM is to examine this potential double whammy faced by student nurses and develop supports for them to manage stress when it arises.”

SSTeMM will support student nurses to develop personal resilience to enhance their work engagement experience.  It will equip these student nurses and the clinical staff who support them when on placement with stress management skills and competencies that will develop and l support their personal wellbeing whilst in training and once they have qualified.

At UM FHS, we are proud of the newly acquired project and we congratulate the project team, led by Assist Prof Dominika Vrbnjak, PhD, RN, and Prof Majda Pajnkihar, PhD, RN, FAAN. Numerous research and data from the NIPH show that young people in Slovenia are increasingly exposed to stress. The nursing population is also considered to be a particularly disadvantaged occupational group, and the consequences are also reflected in the early exiting of the profession and, unfortunately, the increasing number of nurses working abroad. The project is therefore an additional confirmation that researchers at the UM FHS are actively involved in finding solutions to important societal challenges.