Issue of Stress in Nursing Practice

Stress is a common phenomenon in our everyday life and it’s necessary for nurses to understand it both on a personal level and in relation to work. The nursing profession just like in any other profession is faced with tensions related to demands of their roles commonly referred to as job stress which if of high magnitude leads to burnout. Burnout which is the response to chronic emotional stress is described as the terminal phase of the individual’s failure to resolve work stress (Huber 2006). The main causes of stress in nursing practice range from changes like medical care causing anxiety about dosage errors, constant tensions in intensive care units, ethical problems for abortion, and the care of an increasing number of patients with mental disorders to organizational changes in relation to working conditions, status role policies, and procedures. Also, excessive reliance on untrained and unqualified staff together with the increasing complexity and demands of medicine exacts great pressure on the nurses thereby causing stress (Bowman 1986). All these factored together to have a very adverse effect on the quality of patient care. Nurses working in poor conditions and low wages are likely to feel stressed and this has a negative bearing on service delivery.

With respect to this, there are various players in nursing who have to play critical roles in seeing to it that this issue of stress in the nursing practice together with their adverse effect on the quality of patient care is resolved amicably. In view of the damage to the nurse, patient, and the organization resulting from intolerable levels of stress, both the management and professionals have a major preventive role to play (Bowman 1986). Management must ensure adequate job resourcing, monitor and support nurses by all means. By monitoring, the management will be in a position to detect any level of stress among nurses and offer necessary support through training and development, counseling, and proper induction. This also ensures that the nursing practice has well-skilled and knowledgeable personnel. Professional and statutory nursing bodies ensure that nurses’ roles in terms of their responsibility, autonomy, and accountability are real and that they are up to standards in terms of education and meeting the market demand. This enables high-quality patient care. Also, the nurses themselves have a role to play in salvaging this situation in that they are required to discuss and share problems and at the same time support each other.

Maurer and Smith (2005) argue that there is a growing literature developed by advocates concerning the publics’ health and welfare and for this reason, nurses must continue to bring their understanding up to date regarding health issues and become familiar with updated materials on developing trends in health care law. Numerous continuing education programs related to social health nursing and legal aspects are available and therefore attendance of these is highly recommended. They go ahead to state that the professional behavior of a community-based nurse is measured by both internal and external standards. Internal standards include policies and procedures of the employing agency. The job description is an internal standard within which the nurse must work. External standards are determined by reviewing the nurse’s actions in relation to the rules and regulations of the state board of nursing.

Schwab and Gelfman (2005) indicated that one of the aspects is the lack of consensus among the practitioners in defining and regulating a unique set of services to provide to society. This is a result of the fact that nurses attempt to provide any and all available health services. Meaning that the profession is not clear as to who should provide the services better than any other and what services can be provided. Competencies and the various entry levels into nursing are often clearly defined to determine what a nurse can do to achieve desired standards. Health professionals are also required to prove that what they do makes a difference for them to receive funding and facilitate research in their field of operation.

Just like normal violence workplace violence is strongly linked to workplace conflict. Conflict is aggregated by continuous stress resulting from job pressure and other factors as discussed at the beginning of this paper. In most cases, the conflict will result where nurses fail to agree in procedures especially because most of these are subject to continuous change resulting from technological and medical inventions. In some scenarios, these conflicts which in some cases occur involuntarily due to burnout result in violence. Scholars link stress to anger and we all know anger is directly related to violence. Thus, addressing stress is critical to addressing the root of work-related violence among nurses and this should be a priority to those in charge of hospital administration.

Veenema (2007) suggests that nurses should act as team members, cooperate with health and social disciplines as a strategic way of easing pressure among themselves. This will not only ensure soberness as they conduct their duties but will also improve service delivery. Another essential plan is involving the nurses in educating others in regards to their operations as such that one can provide educational programs and sessions on different health topics and also social disciplines. Lastly, they may form groups to ensure that nurses work together despite their qualifications and revise methods of how they can assist each other in areas of difficulty.


Bowman,M.P. (1986). Nursing management and education: a conceptual approach to change. New York: Routledge.

Huber, D. (2006). Leadership and nursing care management 3rd edition. New York: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Maurer, F.A & Smith, C.M (2005). Community/public health nursing practice: health for families and populations. New York: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Schwab, N. & Gelfman, M.H. (2005). Legal Issues in School Health Services: A Resource for School Administrators, School Attorneys, School Nurses. New York: Universe

Veenema, T.G (2007). Disaster nursing and emergency preparedness: for chemical, biological, and radiological terrorism and other hazards. New York: Springer Publishing Company

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