2.1.2 What stresses you out?


2.1.2 What stresses you out?

Topic Progress:

A study into work-related stress in nursing published some years ago says if someone wanted to create the optimum environment for the manufacture of stress, many of the factors you would include would be clearly recognised by nursing staff as events which they encounter in their daily routine. These include an enclosed atmosphere, time pressures, excessive noise, sudden swings from intense to mundane tasks, no second chance, unpleasant sights and sounds and standing for long hours. (Dewe, P. (1987). New Zealand Ministers of Religion: Sources of Stress at Work. Work and Stress, 1, 351-363.)

“Everyday the nurse confronts stark suffering, grief and death as few other people do. Many nursing tasks are mundane and unrewarding. Many are, by normal standards, distasteful and disgusting. Others are often degrading; some are simply frightening,” (Nurs Mirror. 1984 Dec 5;159(21):19-22. The humane face of nursing. Hingley P.)

The report also says that a situation which is typically experienced as stressful is perceived to involve work demands that are threatening or which are not well matched to knowledge, skills and ability to cope of the nurses involved, work which does not fulfil someone’s needs, particularly where nurses have little control over work or receive little support at work or at home. (Cox and Griffiths 1996).

A survey carried out by the Nursing Times in the UK found that 8 out of 10 nurses feel they are under more pressure at work than they were 12 months ago, with seven out of 10 suffering the side-effects of stress.  While this is a UK result, a similar picture is being painted in US and Australia. The key reasons is that they feel they are being asked to do more in less time.

Stress related affects include physical and mental health problems.  74% of nurses surveyed said they had felt under pressure from their organisation to come to work when they were feeling ill this year, nearly two-thirds said they were not happy with their work-life balance and 73% thought their (employer) failed to attach a high enough priority to staff health and well being.


  • In the comments, tell me what are the things in your environment that causes stress?
  • Check out the downloads on stress in nursing – it is sobering reading!






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