Stress in Nursing Practice

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Stress is a common occurrence in the workplace. In health care in particular, there are high levels of stress which can have a negative impact on the environment, the staff, and ultimately the patients. Nurses are subjected to a great deal of occupational stress which in turn impacts the quality of patient care. Occupational stress can be defined as, “the destructive physical and emotional response that occurs when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities or desires of the employee” (Hall, 2004). The health care profession is unique in its ability to cause stress on its employees. Health care environments are fast-paced settings in which nurses and physicians are physically responsible for the well-being of other people…show more content…
Other issues that were also identified as sources of stress included: the patient’s changing condition, workload, negative communication, salaries, and lack of teamwork (Hall, 2004). The identified stressors in the nursing work environment have a significant impact on the quality of care the patient’s receive. The stressors nurses are facing are causing a high turnover rate in an already nationwide shortage (Hall, 2004). Because of the stress, many nurses are seeking jobs that do not involve direct patient care which is intensifying the nursing shortage and making safety of patient care a serious issue (Hughes & Clancy, 2009). With the combination of high stress levels among nurses and the lack of skilled nurses there is a high risk for error along with patient care which leads to potential legal exposure. Nurses are caring for other people’s lives and each decision made can affect that person in a positive or negative way. In today’s world, legal action is taken quite frequently, especially in the medical field. It is essential for nurses to be conscious of the stressors they are dealing with and how they are impacting the delivery of patient care. When dealing with high levels of stress, nurses have the tendency to let their emotions get too far. Verbal and lateral violence is common among nurses who are overly stressed. Workplace violence is a real but serious issue that all nurses need to be aware of. Reporting workplace violence to the proper
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