Nursing involves activates and interpersonal relationships that are often stressful. Some of the activities identified as highly stressful are:

  • Assuming responsibilities for which one is not prepared. often novice beginners in nursing face this.
  • Working with unqualified persons. Seniors face the stress when accountable for the actions of novices or unprepared nurses.
  • Unsupportive working environment, where seniors, supervisors or administrators do not support workers.
  • Caring for critically ill patients, terminally ill patients.
  • Conflict among peers.
  • Financial and family responsibilities.
  • Disharmony and conflicts at home.
  • Staff shortage, long working hours, inadequate time off, work load, fatigue, lack of sleep.
  • work-life imbalance.
When one is overwhelmed with stress it results in burnout a complex of symptoms of stress. Burnout can be compared with the exhaustion stage of anxiety and characterized by wide range of behaviors.

Reporting sick, frequent absenteeism, frequent errors, withdrawal, overactive, irritable and easily angered are some common behaviors. In extreme cases alcoholism, drug addiction or leaving the nursing profession may be seen.
Physiological burnout symptoms are fatigue, headache, sleeplessness, repeated gastric disturbances, irritable bowels etc.

Coping Strategies
Coping needs to focus on prevention, early identification and support. These need to be built into the nursing curriculum early, and part of regular appraisals at work places in order to retain nurses in the profession.
  1. Self-care behavior are the best means of preventing burnout. Being realistic in achievements as against trying to be a super nurse. Self-awareness of stress and anxiety is essential when caring for patients. Reflective nursing, reflective
    journaling and self-reflection are important steps to building strong nurses. These need to be started early in the career, even during the student period.
  2. Counseling session for novice nurses by introducing buddy system or preceptorship
    program to reduce the reality shock and ease into the work environment. Support by all level seniors for nurses. Provision of professional and family counseling facilities in case required by an staff. If a staff been identified as undergoing stress, provision of leave to recover or transfer by request to a less stressful work area are also helpful.
  3. Appraisal of work load reasonable work distribution equally among staff and as per individual capacity. 
  4. Use of humor at work goes a long way in reducing stress. Making work place enjoyable through the provision of facilities for games, fun, sports, picnics.
  5. Educational opportunities must be provided to build capacity and improve self confidence and also provide a break in the monotony of routine work. This can be in the form of attending workshops, seminars or short courses sponsored by the institution.
  6. Regular exercising adequate rest and sleep, healthy diet and appropriate meal breaks are necessary group meditation, breathing exercises, help in maintaining balance.
A nursing force strong in emotional quotient is a healthy force for any institution. Emotionally healthy nurses can provide excellent nursing care to the patients.


Post a Comment