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Nursing and Coping With Stress

Introduction: Stress could be defined simply as the rate of wear and tear on the body systems caused by life. Stress at work is a big problem. Working in the profession of nursing is a demanding and often stressful occupation. Thus, nurses’ health could be affected by stress dangerous consequences. Coping strategies are key elements of nurses' stress reactions. Coping strategy as a stabilizing factor may be as important as the stressful event itself.

Purpose: To determine how and how much nursing staff cope with the stressful events and to find out the relationships between job coping and health outcomes in the study population.

Material and Methods: This cross-sectional study included one hundred nursing staff working in two hospitals (Tohid and Besat) of Sanandaj City (Kurdistan, Iran). They completed the questionnaires containing coping strategies based on the Adolescent Coping Orientation for Problem Experiences (A-COPE), in the year of 2006. We examined the relationships between age, gender, position, tenure state, marriage state, job experience, work shift and place (environment) to application of coping methods. Analysis was done using SPSS 18. Statistical significance was set at P ≤0.05.

Result: Out of one hundred nurses of all grades included in this study, fifty-seven were female (57%), 60(%) were between 30-39 years old and 50(%) were single. There was no significant difference between junior and senior staff in applying positive methods (p=0.666) or negative responses to cope with stress (p=0.195). The majority of nurses 55(%) had job experience of 5-10 years, 40(%) worked in the evening and night shift and 54(%) were in Tohid hospital. Generally in our study, the rate of application positive methods of coping was good 19%, medium 51% and weak 30%. Negative responses to stress were high 49%, medium 29% and low 22%. There were significant associations between: age, tenure state, work place and job experience with positive coping as follow; (p=0.028), (P =0.006), (p=0.001) and (p=0.026), accordingly. In this study, those in the age of 30-39 years, officially (permanent) employed, working in Tohid hospital and had job experience of 5-9 years more used positive methods of coping. They more applied positive methods of: listening to music, reading, talking with the partner or a colleague and walking to cope with stress. This study showed significant differences between gender (p=0.000) and job experience (p=0.035) with negative response to stress. Males and those with low job experience (less than 5 years) were more disputatious and impatient, accordingly.

Conclusions: Most of our research community coped with stress positively (70%; good and moderate). Unfortunately 49% of our study population had high level of negative responses. This study showed significant associations between both some personal information, i.e: age, job experience, tenure state and the environment with positive application of coping methods. From this study, We concluded that the way of response to stress in nursing staff depends not only to the personality and one`s defensive styles but also the healthcare work environment. There is a necessity to teach positive methods of coping to the nursing community as well as providing a proper environment of work.

Author(s): Marjan Laal, Nasrin Aliramaie

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