animal-assisted interactions, nursing, nursing education, pet therapy stress



  1. Bellflowers, Lois A.
  2. Ruttencutter, Gwen Scott


ABSTRACT: Research supports the use of animal-assisted interactions and pet therapy in various settings. Undergraduate nursing students experience high levels of stress and anxiety which often continue as they become professional nurses. Entering the workforce equipped with positive coping strategies may help newly licensed nurses to combat stressors. This qualitative descriptive study examined the experiences of undergraduate nursing students with the presence of a therapy dog. Four major themes regarding the role of therapy dogs were identified: as a coping strategy, as a mood moderator, as a positive distraction, and for community building.