Meeting with the College Nurse

Today I met with Margaret Rushe, the college nurse here at ITB as part of my research. I contacted her on Friday and gave her an idea of my project. She thought it was a great idea and asked to meet on Monday.

When I met with her, I gave her a brief idea of the app and its aim. I wanted to talk to her to learn more about panic attacks, the symptoms, etc.

Firstly, she asked what group am I aiming for – I told her students, but she advised that I focus on a specific group of students, whether that be students who deal with panic attacks occasionally, ones who have mild panic attacks, or students who get severely bad panic attacks. She noted that people who experience mild panic attacks are the most common. This kind of gave me an idea of when you begin the app you rate the attack/anxiety out of 10, and based on the number you give and the severity of the attack, you get different ways of stopping the attack.

Margaret mentioned that when she first read the email the first thing that came into her head was regulating breathing. She has experience in emergency departments and she said if anyone was experiencing a panic attack she would just keep telling them to breathe in and out to regulate their breathing. She explained to me that when you experience a panic attack, carbon dioxide builds up inside you and that leads to the physical symptoms experienced during a panic attack.

She advised me to speak to the counsellor in the college as she would have a lot more info about panic attacks. She was looking up stuff online about the topic while I was with her, and came across a person called Harry Barry who specializes in anxiety – she advised me to speak to him too. She also said talking to Niteline and Jigsaw would be beneficial, as well as researching student health centres in America and Canada online as they have a lot of great information.

Another feature she feels would be good is a tracker for your panic attacks – so after you experience one, you write down the triggers, symptoms experienced, the rating out of 10, etc. She noted that she gives these to students when they experience seizures and to look at apps that have this feature.

She gave me a book called When Panic Attacks by Aine Tubridy – all about panic, what it is, how to treat it, etc. It comes with a CD that has breathing exercises, meditation and more. I’m going to read this over the next week.

I found my meeting extremely beneficial. She gave me some good tips and also some good people that I should talk to. I also learned more about panic attacks and I’m sure the book she gave me will be very helpful too.

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