Dr. Yordy started noticing an interesting trend during her Zoom lectures with her nursing students – lots of cats and dogs in the background. “I thought it would be fun to have my dog, Daisy, “host” a Zoom session and invited my students to join with their pets as well. It was a great way to relieve stress and take our minds off the current situation.”
Dr. Yordy’s research focuses on the health and wellness associated with the human-animal bond as it relates to students in the K-12 and higher education settings. Daisy is part of the CAREing Paws program established in the School of Nursing 10+ years ago and Dr. Yordy serves as her handler.
“When we were on-campus, students were always visiting the dogs so I felt they might be missing that interaction. Having the dogs on campus has been great because it allows students to interact with faculty without pressure. Students will often come by to play with the dogs (in the office next to mine) and then ask me something like ‘Dr. Yordy, can you talk to me about the patho of…’ Their visit to my office seemed informal, but really, they needed answers and were worried to come by.”
Just like they do outside her office, eventually the students got sidetracked on the Zoom call and the dogs fell asleep. Dr. Yordy had an open discussion with her students about class stress, bad at-home haircuts, and living back home with their parents.
“We know the human-animal bond is a real thing. There’s been lots of studies and the research out there continues to grow. Some benefits of this bond include health and well-being, companionship, walking/exercise, and mental wellness.”
The nursing program is one of Auburn’s most rigorous. Nursing classes are a segway into a career where you will be saving lives. The importance of class content can be stressful because it affects others and not just the students. In addition to the hard coursework, students also participate in clinicals in various hospital settings working hand-in-hand with professional nurses and physicians. “So much pressure is put on nursing students because whatever they are doing in the classroom they have to quickly apply to real-world scenarios,” Dr. Yordy noted.
Because of the simulations and clinicals often employed in coursework, nursing is an area with unique challenges related to switching to remote instruction. However, the School of Nursing’s simulation team was quick and developed and recorded virtual simulations to help fill the void of clinical time.
“Nursing is a field that must be quick to combat any kind of change. We know that things can change in an instant and it was amazing to see how quickly we adapted to the switch to remote instruction.”
Last modified: April 28, 2020