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How nurses cope with occupational stress outside their workplaces

Published:September 26, 2012DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colegn.2012.08.003

      Summary

      Nursing is acknowledged as a stressful occupation, and the negative impact of high stress levels have been widely researched. Less attention has been paid to methods for coping with stress. The researchers conducted a study to explore and identify how nurses cope with work-related stress away from their work environments. Six focus groups were conducted with 38 nurses, including nursing directors, nurse unit managers, and ward nurses from a wide range of clinical areas. From the interview material, 11 coping strategies were identified: drinking alcohol, smoking, using the staff social club, using social networking websites, exercising, family activities, home-based activities, outdoor activities, avoiding people, displacement, and sleep. Although several adaptive strategies appear in this list (e.g., exercising, home-based activities), some nurses were using unhealthy behaviours to cope with work-related stress (e.g., drinking alcohol, smoking, displacement). This study clearly demonstrates the value of using qualitative approaches to understanding how nurses cope with stress. Knowledge produced locally, such as that generated for the hospital in this study, should serve as the foundation for organisational strategies to enhance the health of nurses.

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