Viktorija Piščalkienė, Lijana Navickienė
Occupational stress is a phenomenon faced by both physicians working in health care institutions and students studying in the medicine and nursing fields. Early identification of the stress factors and application of timely and targeted stress coping methods are measures allowing to maintain a safe socio-educational environment in a real practical place.
The aim of the study – to reveal the causes of nursing students’ stress during their professional internship and to identify what strategies students use to cope with the stress.
Material and methods. For the study a quantitative research strategy was used. The survey instrument included questions of two main blocks, one of which was related to stressors, the other one covered stress coping methods. 27 items of stress causes were listed in the questionnaire covering 4 main areas: 1) work content and clinical situations; 2) work conditions and organization; 3) communication and collaboration; 4) external stressors.
For revealing what measures students use to manage their stress 26 items of stress coping methods were included into the questionnaire. These methods are related to 4 types of stress coping strategies: 1) Relaxation methods; 2) Rational methods; 3) Organizational and social; 4) Pharmaceutical and health damaging habits. Research instrument also included an open question which was aimed to find out positive students’ experiences during the internships. 145 nursing students participated in the study.
Results. Stress is a common phenomenon among nursing students. All nursing students experience higher or lower level of stress during the professional internships. Factors related to work conditions and organization are the most stressful. Rational stress management methods are the most popular among nursing students in dealing with stressful situations during professional internships. The positive experience expressed by nursing students during internships can be considered as measures helping to successfully adapt psychologically and reduce stress during internships. Basing on the study results such students support measures could be identified as: student praise and encouragement, friendly team and close cooperation, nurse-mentor as teacher and consultant, confidence in student and the opportunity to act independently, patient‘s gratitude and benevolence.
Keyword(s): nursing students, stress, professional internship, stress causes, stress coping methods.