Causes of Stress in Nursing: How Can I Prepare to Deal With It?

Causes of Stress in Nursing: How Can I Prepare to Deal With It?

When medical professionals are dealing with life and death situations day in and day out, it can result in a lot of stress, to say the least. It's not just surgeons and doctors that deal with this stress either -- nurses commonly have to deal with significant amounts of stress.

Most people who decide to pursue a career in nursing are aware that there will be stress involved, especially when it comes to dealing with patients who may be terminal or treating many different patients in a short amount of time.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can prepare for the stress you'll encounter, which, in turn, can help to reduce the amount of stress you may actually experience.

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Common causes of stress for nurses

There are many different things that can stress you out as a nurse -- and everybody reacts to different situations differently. The following are a few of the common factors that cause nurses the most stress:

  • Heavy workloads - In most cases, it's not even the length of the shift, but actually how many patients a nurse might have to deal with at any given time. It's not uncommon for nurses to have to juggle many tasks at once, which can be very stressful when both physicians and patients are counting on you.
  • The physical demands of nursing - Nurses are frequently on their feet and on the move, which can take a toll, physically. They are often required to do frequent lifting and bending as well. Such physical demands can be stressful.
  • Relationships with colleagues - Working under stressful conditions can have an effect on your relationship with your colleagues, especially if they're stressed out as well.
  • The emotional connection to patients - It's not uncommon for nurses to become close with their patients, and this can be extremely stressful if their patients are suffering or end up passing away.
  • Dealing with aggressive patients - Patients can be mean, especially if they don't want to be there. Family members can be aggressive as well due to how stressed out they are.
  • Chaotic environments - Certain work environments, such as hospitals, can be stress-inducing due to the harsh lighting, chaotic noise, heavy traffic, and more.

Coping with stress as a nurse

The following are a few methods of dealing with stress that have proven effective for many in the nursing industry:

  • Focusing on one task at a time - When the workload becomes seemingly too much, focusing on the task at hand instead of everything that needs to be accomplished that day can make things much more manageable.
  • Remember that it's not personal - A lot of patients may act aggressively towards you and so may some of their families. Remember that they are going through a tough time and that it's not personal.
  • Do deep breathing exercises - If you get stressed out at work, deep-breathing exercises can be extremely helpful. This is because the extra oxygen you're receiving will relieve tension and provide more endorphins.
  • Exercise - Finding time to exercise outside of work is important. Exercise has been proven to help reduce stress, so go for a run or a bike ride in the mornings. Even a long walk can go a long way towards reducing your stress.
  • Share your experiences - A lot of nurses don't want to bring their work home with them, but when it comes to especially troubling experiences, it can help to share with a loved one in order to receive emotional support.
  • Write in a notebook - Many nurses will keep a journal, allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings instead of keeping them bottled up, which can result in the buildup of stress.
  • Take breaks - Make sure that when you feel overstressed that you take a quick break. Even a short five-minute break can help you settle down.
  • See a professional – Sometimes medical professionals need to see doctors themselves. They can help you identify your stress triggers and help you find ways to cope. In fact, simply sharing your experiences with them can help to relieve a significant amount of stress.

How a formal education can help prepare you for stress

Knowing what to expect can help reduce your stress significantly, which is why completing a good nursing program is so important. Experienced instructors will be sure to prepare you by sharing their experiences in the nursing field and letting you know what you can expect.

Additionally, with a thorough nursing education, you'll feel confident in your nursing skills when you get your first nursing position. Confidence in your abilities can go a long way towards reducing the stress of work.

Causes of Stress in Nursing: How Can I Prepare to Deal With It?

Are you interested in becoming a nurse? If you want to earn an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing Degree, ECPI University offers this degree at an accelerated course of study. For more information on this exciting program, connect with a knowledgeable admissions representative today.

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