There’s no doubt about it, nursing careers have exceptional benefits, especially when it comes to job fulfillment. What better way to give meaning to your life than to care for others? It’s a noble calling indeed, but it comes with the harmful drawback of extreme stress.
Unfortunately, working nurses deal with huge amounts of stress while caring for the sick. It’s something that all nursing students in BSN programs and other registered nurse schools should understand before committing to the job. Nursing students definitely have their own stressors to deal with, but work stress in healthcare settings is a completely different kind. Chronic stress is a rampant problem amongst healthcare workers and when it isn’t dealt with, serious physiological and emotional health problems eventually follow.
There are different kinds of stress and fatigue that come with the job of caring for other people. In the past I’ve written about compassion fatigue. But now I want to discuss more general kinds of stress that come with the job of nursing.
The American Holistic Nurses Association reports that “70.5% of nurses cited the acute and chronic effects of stress and overwork among their top three health and safety concerns.” Further, “75.8% of surveyed nurses report that unsafe working conditions do, in fact, interfere with their ability to deliver quality care.”
Several major themes were identified as sources of workplace stress for nurses:
- Workload/inadequate staff cover/time pressure
- Relationship with other clinical staff
- Leadership and management style/poor locus of control/poor group cohesion/lack of adequate supervisory support
- Coping with emotional needs of patients and their families/poor patient diagnosis/death and dying
Results from the study show that nurses are experiencing stress at higher rates than most groups.
While these findings may be alarming, they come to no surprise to nurses who are all too familiar with the nature of their work. BSN candidates and all registered nurse students alike experience only a sliver of the stress that comes with their chosen career once they begin clinicals. Nursing programs may do a great job teaching their students how to perform in hospital settings, but do not spend enough time emphasizing coping mechanisms for the heavy stressors that come with the job.
My following posts will focus on why stress falls so heavily on the shoulders of nurses and what they can do to manage. Please stay tuned for important information that students in BSN programs and all registered nurse schools should be aware of in order to better prepare themselves for their careers.