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Coping Strategies in Job Related Stress in Nurses


Job-related stress among nurses is an issue that has raised massive concern among contemporary scholars. Nurses are forced to undergo very traumatizing environmental factors that are directly contributed by the nature of their job. Some issues such as pressure from the doctors, patients, relatives and, the administration affect nurses psychologically. This does not only affect their output in the workplace, but it also affects their social environment. There is a need to find a solution that would address the issue of workplace stress among nurses. Coping strategies have been proposed as the best solution in managing stress that nurses cannot avoid in their workplace because of the nature of their job. In this study, the researcher seeks to determine the utilization and effectiveness of coping strategies in job-related stress among nurses. The research will use both primary and secondary data to arrive at the conclusion and recommendations. The research will take a quantitative form of research.

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Study Purpose

Nursing has been identified as one of the highly stressing occupations in modern society. According to Claire & Hewison (2012), nurses have to work in very stressful environments that drain them physically and psychologically. They are always with the patients, trying to meet their needs and help them recover. This is not an easy task because in some cases, these patients die at the hands of the nurses. According to Hanover (2012), constant deaths of the patients also affect the nurses. It leaves some sense of guilt on the nurse. The patients look at them with self-pity as the life drains out of them. The image cannot be erased easily from the mind. Then there is the case of dealing with emergencies. These nurses have to handle victims of accidents, some of whose injuries are blood-curdling. However, they have to withstand these terrific sites and offer medication. Most nurses work in shifts. At times, they are forced to spend the entire night away from their families offering care to the patients. The expectations that other stakeholders have towards them are also too high to meet. All these factors lead to a very stressful environment that may pose serious psychological problems to the nurses. Researchers have proposed that the solution for this is to use coping strategies. The purpose of this research is to determine the utilization and effectiveness of coping strategies in job-related stress among nurses.

Significance of the study

Nurses play a very important role in our society not only in the hospitals but also in home care institutions. Without nurses, doctors may not be able to offer quality services in various hospitals. In fact, Wong & Cummings (2007) say that, without the nurses, a hospital setting may not be complete because their specialized role cannot be assigned to any other subordinate staff. It is, therefore, worrying that they are forced to work in a very stressful environment. Such an environment does not only affect the quality of service they deliver, but it is also one of the leading reasons why nurses are quitting this profession, exerting more pressure on the remaining nurses. Given such trends, few people will be interested in taking nursing as a profession. This may lead to a very dangerous trend where we do not have enough nurses to take care of the members of society. For this reason, we need to protect these nurses and make this profession attractive. There is a need to address the issue of job-related stress. This is what this research focuses on. It seeks to come up with ways through which our nurses can be allowed to work in a stress-free environment, or positively cope with the stressors that may not be avoided because of the nature of this profession.

Research question

According to Ramage (2012), research is a complex process that needs a lot of care in order to achieve the expected results. In most cases, researchers are swayed away from the research topic by other related information that may not add value to the conclusion of the study. In order to ensure that the process of data collection is restricted to the research topic, it is necessary to develop the research questions. The researcher will specifically look for the data that responds to the questions set at this stage of the research. The following are the research questions that should be addressed in this research.

  1. What are some of the common job-related stressors that nurses have to endure when on duty?
  2. Are there some stressors that can be eliminated by the management or other stakeholders to improve the working environment for the nurses?
  3. What are some of the coping strategies that can be used by nurses to cope with stressors that cannot be eliminated in the workplace?
  4. How effective are these coping strategies in eliminating or reducing job-related stress among the nurses?

Literature Review

Scholars have conducted massive research in this field of study, and there is a considerable amount of information that the researcher found useful. According to Wong & Cummings (2007), nurses find themselves in a very delicate and stressful environment that may have a massive negative impact on their psychological well-being. Hanover (2012) observes that nurses have the duty of offering professional care to the patients and monitoring their conditions so that they can inform the doctors of any changes that may warrant changes in their medication. In some cases, a doctor may be assigned 10-15 patients to take care of in every session. The doctors need to be fed with the relevant information about the patients on a regular basis. The relatives of the patients need the attention of the nurse to tell them about the condition of their patient, what the facility is doing to improve the status and the probable date when a patient can be discharged after recovering. The individual patients need the attention of the nurses to help them move safely within the ward or to address any other relevant needs.

The nurse must also ensure that all the patients assigned to him or she are in a good state and that the relevant records are made for the purpose of making easy follow-ups. This pressure may affect the nurses. Those who work at the casualties have to withstand blood-curdling images, especially those who have survived tragic accidents and with serious wounds. Some nurses witness patients they are supposed to take care of lose their lives. Other nurses have to withstand loud screams of patients who are in deep pain (Claire & Hewison 2012). Human beings are emotional beings, and such an environment can have serious impacts on an individual if measures are not taken to address them.

According to Hanover (2012), coping strategies may be an appropriate solution in addressing these negative factors in the working environment. Psychotherapy may be necessary to make the nurses appreciate their working environment and the existence of the stressors. It is wrong to assume that they can manage their working environment on their own (Wong & Cummings 2007). Coping strategies would focus on identifying some of the common stressors, addressing these stressors with the nurses and finding a way of making them have a lesser impact on them. The focus should be, on making these stressors have minimal or no effect at all on the nurses (Thorne & Sawatzky 2014). This is so because it may not be able to eliminate some of these stressors because of the nature of the work of the nurses.

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Theoretical framework

Scholars have developed theories to help define stressors, their impact, and how they can be addressed. Cognitive theories have always sought to explain sources of stress and their psychological impact on the affected individuals. In this research, a number of theories will be used to help in understanding how nurses can be helped to address job-related stressors that may affect them psychologically or affect their ability to deliver quality output. Selye’s Theory of Systematic Stress will be important in understanding the concept of stress in the context of a nursing environment (Patton 1999). Lazarus’ Theory of Psychological Stress will enhance our understanding of the impact of stress on an individual, and the best ways through which it can be addressed adequately.


Every research process takes a given method in order to achieve the desired results. In this research, it is necessary to define the following issues about the method that will be used.

Study design

This research study will take the form of quantitative research. It will use both primary and secondary sources of data. Secondary data will be analyzed through a review of literature, while the primary data will be analyzed quantitatively through a Mathematical model using an SPSS spreadsheet. The results will be presented in charts, graphs and figures for ease of understanding (Lietz, Langer & Furman 2006).


The setting of this research will be a hospital or homecare center within the United States. We are focusing on getting the right data from the workplace environment in order to capture the real effect of these stressors on the nurses. This will help us determine the effectiveness of the coping strategies in addressing the issues.


The results that will be obtained from this study will be used to make a generalization of the entire population of nurses in the United States. However, the research itself will use a sample of 200 registered nurses in hospitals and home care centers that will accept to take part in this research.

Ethical considerations and consent

In this study, the researcher will maintain a high level of ethics, especially when collecting the primary data from the registered nurses. The researcher plans to seek consent at two levels. The first level will be from the institutions where the participating nurses will be drawn. The second level will be from the nurses themselves. This is necessary to maintain professionalism when collecting the data.

Data collection plan

The researcher plans to collect two main sources of data. Secondary data will be collected from relevant books, journals, and reputable online sources. Primary data will be obtained directly from nurses, both at junior and administrative levels. The participants will receive questionnaires that they will be expected to fill out. The researcher will then obtain the filled questionnaires from the participants.

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Data Analysis Plan

Data analysis will take the quantitative approach (Loh 2013). The primary data obtained from the field will be coded and entered into the SPSS spreadsheet. Using the coded data, the researcher will obtain the desired results such as the overall opinion of the respondents towards the use of the proposed coping strategies, and how effective they are in addressing the stress concerns of the doctors. The results from this analysis will be presented in tables, graphs, pie charts, and other relevant diagrams.

Discussion of the limitation of the existing theory and research

According to Thorne & Sawatzky (2014), the issue of job-related stress among nurses has been in existence for a very long time. However, little has been done in order to address this problem. Most nurses in this country, and in other places around the world, are still forced to live with psychological torture because of the nature of their jobs. This is large because of the limitation of the existing theory and research in this field. Most of the existing research has provided theories that are yet to be tested to determine their practicability. Some of the existing research also lack concrete recommendations that should be observed by the relevant stakeholders in order to address this issue adequately. This is what this research seeks to address. The researcher plans to test some of these theories and come up with solutions to this problem of job-related stress among nurses.


Claire, S., & Hewison, A. (2012). Are nurses prepared to respond to a bioterrorist attack: a narrative synthesis? Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(12), 2597–2609.

Hanover, J. (2012). Best Practice: Single Sign-On Drives Productivity, Security, and Adoption when Used with HER at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. IDC Health Insight, 508(935), 1-9.

Lietz, C., Langer, C., & Furman, R. (2006). Establishing Trustworthiness in Qualitative Research in Social Work: Implications from a Study Regarding Spirituality. Qualitative Social Work, 5(441), 441–458.

Loh, J. (2013). Inquiry into Issues of Trustworthiness and Quality in Narrative Studies: A Perspective. The Qualitative Report, 18(65), 1-15.

Patton, M. (1999). Enhancing the Quality and Credibility of Qualitative Analysis. HSR: Health Services Research, 34(5), 1189-1208.

Ramage, J. (2012). Writing Arguments. Boston: Pearson.

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Thorne, S., & Sawatzky, R. (2014). Particularizing the General Sustaining Theoretical Integrity in the Context of an Evidence-Based Practice Agenda. Advances in Nursing Science, 37(1), 5-18.

Wong, C., & Cummings, G. (2007).The relationship between nursing leadership and patient outcomes: a systematic review. Journal of Nursing Management, 15(45), 508–521.

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