HeartMath®: A University Initiative

HeartMath®: A University Initiative

Beth M. King (Florida Atlantic University, USA), Charlotte D. Barry (Florida Atlantic University, USA), Jo Ann M. Bamdas (Florida Atlantic University, USA), Kimberly Bronner (Florida Atlantic University, USA) and Karethy A. Edwards (Florida Atlantic University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0640-9.ch003
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Abstract

HeartMath® is a program designed to build resilience and enhance coping skills in response to stress, challenges and adversity (Institute of HeartMath®, 2014) through self-regulation and the use of biofeedback technology. Many faculty from the Florida Atlantic University's Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing have become certified HeartMath® trainers and have committed to bring this program to their college community: Students, staff and faculty. This chapter describes HeartMath® and its implementation at the college. Exemplars are offered that explicate the value of the program and inspire the development of future initiatives within the University and broader community.
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As I sat in the meeting listening to the requirements of a new faculty member, I could feel my anxiety building – my headache was pounding, and I was having difficulty swallowing. Would I ever be able to meet all these expectations, publish all those articles, find research money, and be a great teacher? Then I remembered, HeartMath®, and to BREATHE, change my emotional response, and recall the feel of my daughter’s arms reaching around me and telling me how much she loved me. I continued to breathe and felt myself relax, bathed in the feeling of love that thinking about her gave me. I am a good teacher, I can write an article, I can get funding – my colleagues will help me.

Okay, I can do this – one step at a time. - Anonymous

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Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework guiding the introduction of HeartMath® into the CON’s approach to caring for self and others is guided by three distinct yet unifying approaches to caring: The FAU CON philosophic framework, Bandura’s (1991) social cognitive theory, and Grey, Schulman-Green, Knafl, and Reynolds (2015) self-management model. The usefulness of the three approaches provides a solid grounding and variable guidance for self-management interactions.

FAU CON Philosophic Framework

Nurturing the wholeness and well-being of others in caring is the focus of nursing at FAU (FAU, 2012). This definition guides the practice of nursing in which the nurse responds uniquely to the call for caring from the one nursed. This approach is patient/client focused, grounded in compassion, and draws on the broad knowledge base of the nurse, who provides care for the whole patient/client: mind, body, and soul. The nurse asks the patient/client “What matters most to you at this moment and how can I be helpful to you?” The verbal and/or written responses to the questions then form the essence of a plan of care directed toward nurturing the wholeness and wellbeing of the patient/client. In the authors’ experience everyone has hopes and dreams of caring for themselves and of living a balanced life. Tenets of social cognition and self-regulation are helpful in supporting an individual’s desire for living a coherent life in harmony with self, others, and the environment.

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