The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines stress as "the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them" (Murray, 2005). This essay takes into consideration the negative effects of stress to which nurses may be prone. It also presents strategies for nurses to that can reduce the level or types of stress that nurses encounter.
A number of negative effects of stress have been identified. Patterns of extreme or high stress may lead to the fight-or-flight response (Selye, 1976) and psychological and physical illnesses or many times its symptoms (Cropley and Steptoe, 2005; Neilsen et al, 2005). There are also situation where stress results in extreme discomfort (Drew, et al., 2005), exacerbation of age-related declines in memory (Vendras, et al., 2005), low quality of life (Lustyk, Widman, Paschane, and Ecker, 2004), and premature death (Robinson, McBeth, and McFarlane, 2004). Today with the increasing pressure and stress on the nursing staff, it is estimated that first-year retention rates for new graduate nurses is only between 40% and 65%. In terms of numbers as many as 6 out of 10 new nursing grads leave nursing practice within one year of graduation (Rosebrough, 2005).
It is important to understand the impact of stress and ...
If we try to categorise the type of stress faced by nurses it can be said that physically, the job of a nurse is often demanding with high levels of muscular-skeletal stress, culminating in many aches and pains. Mentally, nurses are required to be alert and 'on the ball', making calculations for medication and responding to important questions from patients and relatives. Emotionally, the impact is felt when nurses involve themselves in empathising and helping people and working in an environment where there is pain and sadness. Additionally, the context of work may be characterised by resource constraints, poor staff support and organizational change, which add to the energy expended. Too much stress and burn out brings the discomfort of finding the nursing staff struggling (Murray, 2005).
Strategies of Stress Management
Nursing is the profession of serving others and it is very important that nurses maintain a balance between work and other personal activities. Since most of the nursing staff work on shift basis it is important to use leisure time to recharge and energise themselves. There are several strategies for stress management and among these the coping strategies and relaxation techniques are simple, effective and helpful in controlling anxiety levels, depression and anger. Besides, there are a range of interventions that can reduce stress in nursing. According to a recent review cognitive behavioural interventions and relaxation or the meditation strategies are effective in bringing down personal levels of stress (Mimura and Griffiths, 2003). Cognitive-behavioural interventions are intended to help people live longer, feel better and avoid having self-defeating thoughts. These interventions help nurses to