Job Stress Amongst Nurses

job stress

Every day, we go on duty. Every day, we care for the sick. Every day, we endure difficult situations. Nurses, just like other healthcare professionals, are known to be modern-day superheroes. We may not know how to fly, but we do run as fast as we can during emergencies. We may not have jaw-dropping super powers just like that of superman’s, but we do have a special thing that we’re good at, we help save lives. But even those do not make us invincible.

We get tired, too. No matter how much we love our job, no matter how passionate we are, there just comes a point in our nursing careers when it all becomes too much. Even nurses who promote health and wellness become stressed out, too.

Stress among nurses

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines job stress as “the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker.” Others define it as an adverse reaction to excessive job pressures and demands.

Nursing is considered as one of the most stressful professions. Nurses, are exposed to a lot of stressful demands and pressures in the clinical area, and are therefore at heightened risk for an array of health, safety, and other problems. For example, nurses are challenged by different work tasks and working hours (especially nightshifts), working conditions which include understaffing and stress related situations, and also the suffering and death of patients.

Furthermore, studies indicate that, in addition to nursing itself, organizational and management characteristics influence the stress nurses experience at work.

In relation to these, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after studying about health disorders in stressful jobs has declared that among 130 studied jobs, nurses in visiting doctor about their mental condition are at 27th place. Like patients, nurses experience stress too, and some of them cannot adopt themselves with the present stress. According to estimations (1997) in USA, the average of absences because of intense stress is about 4 times more than other nonprofessional damages and professional disorders.

Job stress among nurses makes itself shown in the form of tiredness, harsh behavior, anxiety, increase of blood pressure, lack of self-confidence, lack of job satisfaction, and decrease in efficiency. Research reveals that stress in nurses can cause depression, isolation from patients, absence and decrease in their qualification.

How to deal with it

                Job stress may be unavoidable in nursing, but there are some strategies that nurses can take to manage, reduce and cope with it:

  • Strive to communicate well at all levels.

Communication is one of the best ways nurses can decrease stress, may it be communicating with patients, co-workers, doctors or other members of the healthcare team.

  • Maintain a routine of regular exercise and good nutrition.

Just because you’re busy, it doesn’t mean that you can neglect your health. Exercise whenever you can, may it be by doing hardcore workouts, or by simply taking a walk or climbing the stairs during break times. Maintain a healthy diet with regularly scheduled meals whenever possible, stay hydrated. It will not only boost stamina but it can also be of great help when it comes to improving efficiency and patience levels. Always find time to take care of yourself while taking care of your patients.

  • Take advantage of the mentors or preceptors provided.

A mentor cannot only help your development and career path, but he/she can also help you cool down when it comes to dealing with certain issues. By having a mentor, you will have a guide on what to do and how best to deal with challenging situations.

  • Participate in hobbies for recreation.

It doesn’t always have to be all work. Make time for things and activities that help you relax and recharge. Always try to strike a balance between work and play.

  • Get organized.

It’s been said that “staying on top of your game and keeping yourself and your workplace organized can help decrease stress.” Learn how to organize things, set your priorities for the day straight. By doing so, you will be able to formulate plans on how to complete everything effectively.

  • Think positive

Always attract positive vibes. Set high expectations and work toward them. Avoid negative people whenever possible and spread a positive outlook to colleagues and patients. Try to change negatives into positives.


Liane Clores, RN MAN

Currently an Intensive Care Unit nurse, pursuing a degree in Master of Arts in Nursing Major in Nursing Service Administration. Has been a contributor of Student Nurses Quarterly, Vox Populi, The Hillside Echo and the Voice of Nightingale publications. Other experience include: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Obstetric, Emergency and Recovery Room Nursing.

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