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J Nurs Educ. 1997 Sep;36(7):323-7.

Nursing students' stress during the initial clinical experience.

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Department of Nursing, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.


The purpose of this exploratory longitudinal study was to identify nursing students' perceptions of stress in their initial clinical experiences in a hospital setting. Guided by the relational view of stress, a Nursing Student's Stress Scale (NSSS) was developed to include six subscales: adequate knowledge, close supervision, averse sights, causing pain, insufficient resources, and reality conflict. The NSSS was administered three times during the clinical experience to 46 nursing students. Results showed significant differences between the students' preclinical expected stress levels and the actual levels of stress in the clinical setting. Theoretical, methodological, and practical implications of the findings are discussed. Nurse educators are encouraged to acknowledge students' perceptions of stressful situations as a basis for stress reduction intervention. Students must first cope with their own stress in the clinical reality before being expected to deal with patients' stress.

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