Article

Stress and eustress in nursing students

School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queens University Belfast, UK.
Journal of Advanced Nursing (Impact Factor: 1.69). 03/2008; 61(3):282-90. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.04497.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This paper is a report of a study to identify experiences that led to both distress and eustress and to make recommendations to help students cope with course demands.
Much of the research on stress in nursing students is quantitative in focus and all draws on their experience of distress, with little attempt to understand experiences of eustress.
A series of focus groups were carried out with a volunteer sample of final year nursing students (n = 16) in the United Kingdom in 2007. The data were thematically analysed.
The themes identified were clinical experience, support, learning and teaching experience and course structure. There were experiences within each that were perceived as sources of distress and eustress. Many of the sources of distress concur with earlier findings but they are more likely to be experienced and commented on because the demands of present-day programmes and the profile of many nursing students mean that more effort is invested in meeting educational demands. The experiential learning and patient-care opportunity that placements provided was an important source of eustress.
Students who coped well drew on effective support networks and adopted a positive, optimistic perspective towards programme issues. Effective educators did not offer more time than those perceived as less effective but seemed more effective at tuning into students' concerns, showing more empathy and offering clearer guidance.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Stress is an inevitable part of life and is especially pervasive in the lives of nursing students. Identifying the predictors of stress as well as coping strategies used can allow for the implementation of appropriate coping interventions to assist in the management of stress in nursing students. Mixed methods research that has been undertaken to gain an understanding about student stress, especially juxtaposing generic versus accelerated nursing students could not be identified. Objectives (1) Identify predictors of stress between accelerated and generic Baccalaureate Nursing (BSN) students; and (2) Describe stressors and coping strategies used by accelerated students in comparison with generic students. Design Embedded mixed methods study. Setting Accelerated and generic BSN third- and fourth-year nursing students at two Midwestern universities. Participants 210 participants: accelerated (n = 75) and generic (n = 135). Methods A questionnaire packet, including demographics, history of depression, the Perceived Stress Questionnaire, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, and open-ended questions were administered to students at the end of a class. Simultaneous multiple regression was used to examine predictors of stress. Content analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. Results Predictors of stress for both the accelerated and generic groups included history of depression, year in the program, emotional support, and self-esteem. Fear of failure and clinical incompetence, problematic relationships, and time management issues were identified as major stressors. Coping strategies used by both groups included positive thinking and social support. Conclusions Senior students with a history of depression, low self-esteem, and little social support were more likely to experience high levels of stress. This gives educators the potential to identify at risk students and establish stress reduction programs. Encouraging students to use individualized coping strategies will be beneficial.
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    ABSTRACT: The aim was to explore the predictive ability of sources of stress and a range of dispositional and coping behaviours on student satisfaction and motivation. Most research exploring sources of stress and coping in students construes stress as psychological distress, with little attempt to consider positive experiences of stress. A questionnaire was administered to 120 first year UK psychology students. Questions were asked which measured sources of stress when rated as likely to contribute to distress (a hassle) and likely to help one achieve (an uplift). The sources of stress were amended from the UK National Student Survey (NSS, 2011). Support, control, self-efficacy, personality and coping style were also measured, along with their potential effect on course satisfaction and motivation. The sources of stress likely to lead to distress were more often significant than sources of stress likely to lead to positive, eustress states. Ironically, factors one would consider would help students, such as the university support facilities, only did so when rated as a hassle, not as an uplift. Published university league tables draw heavily on student course satisfaction but this negatively correlated with intellectual motivation, suggesting course satisfaction alone reveals an incomplete picture of the student experience. Course educators need to consider how course experiences contribute not just to potential distress but to eustress. Teaching quality, effective support and work-life balance are key to student satisfaction and motivation. How educators interact with their students and the opportunities they create in and outside the class to promote peer support are likely to enhance satisfaction and motivation.

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