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Stress in Nursing Essay

One of the definitions of stress offered in literature is: “Stress is the psychological and physical state that results when perceived demands exceed an individual’s ability to cope with them.” The profession of nursing has thrived over the past century into a respected and necessary member of the health care arena. However, the future of the profession, and more imminently, patient care and the health of nurses, may be significantly impacted by repeated challenges in the contemporary era where current levels of STRESS and burnout are contributing to organizational problems, burnout, and attrition. According to the article ” The effect of stress on health and its implications for nursing,” stress is seen as a negative feeling affecting people’s health either physically and/or psychologically. However, stress is a normal part of life and considered necessary to increase functional capacity. This article identifies and discusses the effect of stress on health and its relationship to nursing.

First, according to the authors of the article, “the effects of stress on health and its implications for nursing,” stress affects people in different ways and is recognized as a cause of physical and _PSYCHOLOGICAL_ ill health. For example, Psychological reactions to stress produce emotional responses ranging from exhilaration, when an event is stressful but manageable, to anxiety, anger, discouragement and depression when an event appears to be unmanageable. In addition, _PHYSIOLOGICAL_ responses refer to the internal responses within the body that regulate physiological processes in an optimal way to adapt to the demands of the work environment.

Therefore, physiological response to stress causes the body’s metabolism to increase in preparation for expending energy on physical action, thereby curtailing unessential activities such as digestion, saliva and mucus production which over a long period can be harmful. The short-term symptoms of stress include headache, muscular tension, chest pains, indigestion, palpitations; disturbed sleep and increased susceptibility to respiratory¬†infections.

Second point in this article discusses stress relationship to nursing. The most important resource in any organization is the employee; therefore maintaining and supporting their health is vital to ensure their ability to work, to keep standards and continuously improve standards of care. According to the article “the effects of stress on health and its implications for nursing,” stress may also affect the wellbeing of the nurse with a positive correlation between stress and mood disturbance with common effects including: anxiety and irritability, depression and mood swings.

Also, this article states that nurses express dissatisfaction regarding lack of autonomy, and practice a coping mechanism to reduce stress termed ‘avoidance behaviors’. This avoidance behavior may result in a loss of the caring element of nursing by giving only a clinical response to those in their care. Stress can have a significant impact on individual nurses and their ability to accomplish tasks. More specifically, poor decision making, lack of concentration, apathy, decreased motivation and anxiety may impair job performance, creating uncharacteristic errors. All of which can directly contribute towards absenteeism, decreased work performance, and ultimately, burnout.

The information given in the article was found to be factual. The facts that the author used to support the argument are issued guidance from National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) (2009), Health and Safety Executive (HSE) (2007), and The American Nurses Association (2005). However, I found that the information given in the article is faulty because the information that the author is giving is a generalization from the literature and other author findings. There isn’t any bias, propaganda or stereotyping. The author is not backing up his/her information with any studies.

After I read this article, I think the effect on the general public specially nurses and other healthcare professionals will be very positive. This article inform about the effects of stress in health; therefore the general public, nurses and other healthcare professionals are going to be more perceptive about their health and the impact that stress could cause when they delivering care to others. Furthermore, some recommendations the author suggests in this article are that shift nurses who have family care-giving responsibilities at home should be encouraged to avoid working consecutive 12-hour shifts and a special focus is required to concentrate on limiting the physical and psychological workloads that may significantly increase physiological strain on ageing nurses. Also, the author suggests to promote wellbeing among older staff nurses, nurse managers may consider providing flexible shift hours, ergonomic modifications, wellness programmers, and transferring older nurses from bedside nursing to mentoring younger nurses.

Finally, my reaction about this article isn’t surprising. Today, the number of medical lawsuit for negligence and malpractice is increasing, and it has to do a lot with stress management among health care professionals. For example, nurses are in constant tension. A splash of contaminated body fluid, a needle stick incident, lifting patients heaviest than them, etc., could jeopardize their life; therefore nurses not only have mental fatigue but also physical. As a consequence, errors and poor delivery of care can occur.


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