Impact of PACE on anxiety

Title of Research Study:

The effect of PACE on self-reported anxiety and Performance in first-year nursing students.

Study carried out by Jan Irving, Ph.D. for her doctoral thesis. 1995

Chemetketa Community College, Salem, Oregon, U.S.A.

Research and design supported by Dr. Tom Evans, chairperson for Jan’s

Doctoral thesis and research expert.

Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.

Purpose – To determine the effect of the PACE process on self-reported anxiety and on performance during weekly skill tests in first-year nursing students. The fourteen technical-motor skills tested were similar in complexity and involved nursing procedures routinely used in nursing settings.

A multiple baseline design was used for this research investigation. A five-week baseline in the students’ usual setting established that there was a high anxiety level before skill-performance tests, and that some students were indeed failing these tests.  In the study, subjects were randomly divided into three groups.  Group 1 did PACE activities, while

Groups 2 and 3 received no special treatment.  After three weeks, a consistent behavior change was noted in Group 1 (the PACE group) only. Groups 2 and 3 were still self-reporting high anxiety and were having a higher failure rate on skill performance test than were Group 1.

Group 2 then started the PACE activities. After three weeks a consistent behavior change was again noted, this time in Group 2. The improved behavior continued in Group 1.  Group 3 was still self-reporting high anxiety and experiencing a higher failure rate.  Eventually, Group 3 started the PACE process, and the data evidenced the same behavior changes as in Groups 1 and 2.

The design used the three separate groups as controls during the different phases of the study.

The overall results were a 69.5% reduction in self-reported anxiety and an 18.7% increase in performance on skill tests.

It was recommended that PACE be implemented in both years of the nursing program at the Community College.

As summarized by Jon Bredal.