Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Nursing (MAN)



First Advisor

Cheryl Leuning


Depression is an illness that affects millions of people around the world. The current medical regimen of care for patients with depression includes the use of anti-depressant medications, group therapy, and electroconvulsive therapy. These three treatments often come with unwanted side effects or can take weeks to take affect in decreasing the symptoms of depression. This paper describes the development of a physical exercise program intended to be implemented on an adult in-patient psychiatry unit as a treatment for depression. The project is guided by Margaret Newman's Theory of Health as Expanding Consciousness. A metaphor, "exercise is a brain smile," is used as a visual aid that will help guide patients and nurses in visualizing the positive results of exercise during implementation of the exercise program. Implications for the use of exercise in treating depression, proposed evaluation of the exercise program, and personal reflection about the pilot project will be discussed in this narrative. The paper concludes by emphasizing the concept of health as ever changing and nurses as the leaders needed to present new concepts of treatment to the world.


SC 11.MAN.2016.Brekke.FM