Assessment of autonomic nervous system function in nursing students using an autonomic reflex orthostatic test by heart rate spectral analysis

Language: English
Published: 2015
Source: PubMed Central (PMC)
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Nursing students experience academic demands, such as tests, theoretical and practical coursework, research activities, various aspects of professional practice, and contact with health professionals and patients. Consequently, nursing students face numerous types of stress, and increased stress levels contribute to physical and psychological distress in nursing students. The aim of the present study was to investigate the autonomic nervous system function of nursing students by assessing active standing load using the autonomic reflex orthostatic tolerance test, which enables quantitative analysis of dynamic autonomic nervous system function. The autonomic nervous system activity in the resting state was low in fourth-year students, they had parasympathetic hypotension, and there was a tendency towards higher sympathetic nervous system activity of fourth-year students compared with first-, second- and third-year students. In the standing state, there was a trend towards a higher autonomic nervous system activity response of fourth-year students compared with first-, second- and third-year students. These results suggest that stress may influence autonomic nervous activity in fourth-year nursing students. By correcting stress in fourth-year nursing students, it may be possible to prevent the development of health problems.