Stress in Nursing

Over the years, nursing has been considered one of the most prestigious occupations and only its pros have been on the lime light. However, it is a field full of numerous challenges and the number of nurses suffering from work related stress is alarming. There are a number of factors attributed to cause stress among nurses in the United States of America (USA). The first contributing factor is understaffing. Over the years, even as some nurses have exited to retirement or due to other reasons, few or no replacements have been done( Montana nurses association[MNA] para.

3). The immediate consequence is low levels of staff as the years advance. The issue of replacement does not only apply to nurses, but the doctors as well. As a result there has been a “boundary shift” whereby nurses carry out tasks that ought to be carried out by doctors (Shea, Wynyard and Lionis 205). This implies that there will be overload on the nurses. Too much overload leads to “feeling extremely extended and depleted” (McHugh 4).

Continued overload may lead to fatigue and consequently stress and depression. The government and the other involved parties should come up with appropriate mechanisms to deal with understaffing hence curbing the overload on nurses.

Ratio of Nurses to Patients

Furthermore, the right ratio of nurses to patients should be strictly held. Implementation of a balanced nurse-patient ratio will effectively deal with the understaffing issue. Secondly, pressure due to the inability to meet work demands is also a contributing factor to stress among nurses.

There is a lot of pressure due to the high expectations and demands put on the nurses. For instance, patients demand a lot from nurses and failure to deliver as expected may result to misunderstandings and in some cases protests (Wicks 32).This implies that nurses are forced to work under intense pressure. Actually, the pressure starts at an early stage while the nurses are still undergoing training (Bozimowski et al. 2). Too much pressure over an extended period of time is unhealthy and usually results to stress. Patience and understanding should be exercised while dealing with nurses’ work in order to reduce the amounts of pressure. Nurses also need to engage in activities that ease pressure such as exercise. With this effect there will be reduced stress among nurses which is fueled by pressure.

Environment and Working Conditions

Another cause of stress is the environment and working conditions under which nurses operate. Majority of nurses suffer from back pains emanating from some of the activities such as lifting patients to stretchers and beds (Charney and Hudson 70). Therefore, posing a risk to the nurses’ health. There is also high risk as nurses handle patients suffering from various illnesses such as the Ebola pandemic. In addition, there is also exposure to excess noise which has negative health implications. Poor relationships among nurses and other health workers is prevalent (Konstantinos and Ouzouni 3). The implications are a non-conducive working environment which is also attributed to cause stress. Measures such as employing enough RNs and training nurses on the right posture while lifting patients can play a big role in reducing back pains. The management and supervisory groups ought to arrange for activities such as team building to improve the relationships among workers. Good relationships among employees and the right training on handling patients will certainly reduce stress levels among nurses.

Ever-Changing Technology

Adding to the list of causes of stress among nurses, is the ever changing technology. Many health centers have adapted new technology which some nurses are not conversant with. For instance, the use of technology to administer medicine has led to several cases of errors (Massachusetts Nurses Association [MNA] para.6). Errors in medicine have great implications on patients and thereby the nurses’ psychological wellbeing. There is lack of enough support from the management (Riahi 9). Therefore, issues that need to be addressed by the management are left unresolved. There is need to intensify training on emerging technology and to bring in new nurses who are conversant with the new technology to prevent errors. The management ought to be more involved and swift to resolve issues. Enough support from the management and ensuring conversance with technology are key to reducing stress among nurses. Consequently, the nurses’ emotional needs are a contributing factor to the stress among nurses.

Emotional Needs

Emotional needs are prevalent both to the nursing students and the practicing nurses (P. Ratanasiripong, N. Ratanasiripong and Kathalae 1). Increased emotional needs lead to distress hence emotional stress. In addition, cases of failure whereby at times patients die causes despair and a sense of helplessness hence creating emotional wounds (Mathur, Nathani and Sarvate 4). This emotional wounds if undealt with, can lead to severe stress. Severe stress has negative health implications such as high blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels, heart diseases among others. It is therefore important to deal with emotional needs promptly and amicably so as to curb stress among nurses. In conclusion, it is evident that nursing is an occupation full of challenges that have very negative implications such as stress. Some of the contributing factors are understaffing, excessive pressure, unconducive working environments, non-conversance with technology and emotional needs. Proper mechanisms such as support from the management, training on new technology and government involvement need to be implemented to deal with stress. Interactions with nurses are inevitable thus preventing stress among nurses should be a state role.

Works Cited

  • Bozimowski, Gregory, et al. “The Prevalence and Patterns of Substance Abuse among Nurse Anesthesia Students.” American Association of Nurse Anesthetists [AANA] Journal 82.4 (2014): 277-283.
  • Charney, William, and Anne Hudson. Back Injury among Healthcare Workers: Causes, Solutions, and Impacts. Boca Raton: Lewis, 2004. Print.
  • Dolan, Brian and Lynda Holt. Accident & Emergency: Theory into Practice. Edinburg, New York: Baillière Tindall Elsevier, 2013. Print.
  • Konstantinos, Nakakis and Ouzouni Christina. “Factors Influencing Stress and Job Satisfaction of Nurses Working In Psychiatric Units: A Research Review”. Health Science Journal 2.4 (2008). 183-195.
  • McHugh, Matthew, et al. “Nurses’ Widespread Job Dissatisfaction, Burnout, and Frustration with Health Benefits Signal Problems for Patient Care.” Health affairs journal 30.2 (2011): 202-10.
  • MNA Congress on Nursing Practice.” Massachusetts Nurses Association”. Position on Medication Error. (n.d). Web. 10 Oct. 2014. <>.
  • Montana Nurses Association. “Montana Nurses Association”. AFT Healthcare Key Issues. (n.d). Web. 10 Oct. 2014.
  • Ratanasiripong, Paul, Nop Ratanasiripong and Duangrat Kathalae. “International Scholarly Research Network ISRN Nursing”. Biofeedback Intervention for Stress and Anxiety among Nursing Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial (2012): Riahi, Sanaz.
  • “Role Stress amongst Nurses at the Workplace: Concept Analysis.” Journal of Nursing Management 19.6 (2011): 721-731. Shea, Sue, Robin Wynyard, and Christos Lionis.
  • Providing Compassionate Health Care: Challenges in Policy and Practice. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2014. Internet resource.
  • Wicks, Robert. Overcoming Secondary Stress in Medical and Nursing Practice: A Guide to Professional Resilience and Personal Well-Being. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Internet resource.
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