We spend much of daily lives working. In fact, Americans spend about eight-times as many hours working as they do eating and drinking (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013). Approximately seven in ten Americans report that they experience symptoms of stress (Anderson, Belar, Breckler, Nordal, Ballard, Bufka, Bossolo & Bethune, 2013). Stress is elicited by a variety of psychological stimulus associated with our jobs, our residences, our social interactions, and the activities we engage in (p. 249, Franken, 2007). Many Americans live with the burden of an unsatisfying job as well as a stressful workplace. An online survey of 1,848 people in the United States, conducted by the American Psychological Association, found that 74 percent of people name work as their primary source of stress (p. 284, Schultz and Schultz, 2010). In the workplace, stress is reflected in lower productivity, reduced motivation as well as increased errors and accidents (p. 284, Schultz and Schultz, 2010). Excessive stress can lead to many adverse consequences. When people experience too much stress they can also suffer from psychological consequences such as depression and sleep disorders (p. 191, Griffin & Moorhead, 2014). Research shows that stress can even contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, and obesity, as well as exacerbate existing illnesses (Anderson et al., 2013).
Although all professions are susceptible to work-related stress, researchers have determined that the nursing profession is particularly stressful (Villani, Grassi, Cognetta, Toniolo, Cipresso, & Riva, 2013). Some argue that because of increasing demands, nurses are more susceptible to exhaustion, anxiety and stress (Aarons, & Sawitzky, 2006). Tensions caused by conflicting demands, such as pressure to work in more flexible or cost-effective ways while maintaining professional standards, as well as changes in roles, increases in nurse-to-patient ratios and skill mix, can affect nurses’ integrity, competence, and ultimately patient care (McIntosh, & Sheppy, 2013). Nurses are especially vulnerable to several related effects of stress, such as burnout, job dissatisfaction, increased interpersonal problems, increased health complaints, disturbances in sleep patterns, as well as clinical depression and anxiety (Villani, Grassi, Cognetta, Toniolo, Cipresso, & Riva, 2013). The potential for stress can be reduced by resolving difficulties in the workplace promptly, addressing staff shortages, turnover and absenteeism, and developing clear objectives and plans (McIntosh, & Sheppy, 2013). Learning to manage and reduce stress by developing insight and coping strategies will help to maintain and promote nursing integrity and consistent patient care (McIntosh, & Sheppy, 2013).
Background on issue
Many believe that stress is a simple problem, however it is often misunderstood and more complex than they believe (p. 181, Griffin & Moorhead, 2014). Stress is the...