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Nurse Educ Today. 2004 Aug;24(6):473-82.

Pre-registration diploma student nurse stress and coping measures.

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Department of Nursing and Health Care Studies, School of Science, Institute of Technology, Tralee, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland.


The aim of this study is to examine the stress experiences and coping abilities of student nurses. A survey design was employed to examine the stress experiences of Diploma student nurses in a large Dublin Teaching Hospital. A questionnaire was utilized that measured and explored five specific constructs pertinent to student nurse stress. These included clinical stress, academic stress, coping, emotions and personal factors which assist students nurses during periods of stress. Findings showed that examinations, the level and intensity of academic workload, the theory-practice gap and poor relationships with clinical staff were the leading stressors identified. Emotional reactions to stress included feeling exhausted and upset under pressure. Students adopted short-term emotion focused coping strategies when attempting to deal with stress. A sense of achievement, and determination, were personal factors, which assisted students to continue in the event of stress being present. Content analysis of the open questions shed further light in relation to the stress phenomenon, particularly in relation to clinical stress. The provision of adequate support services from a clinical and academic perspective, a lecture-practitioner model of education delivery, and curriculum changes which focus on developing student self awareness skills are the suggested study recommendations.

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