Assessment Of Stress Coping Strategies Among Nursing Students In Madonna University

Biology Education Project Material

Assessment Of Stress Coping Strategies Among Nursing Students In Madonna University


This study was carried out on the examination of stress and coping strategies among Nursing students in Madonna University as a case study. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of Nursing students in Madonna University. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 220 respondents and 210 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using mean scores. The result of the findings reveals that the causes of stress among Nursing Students include; long studying hours without break, pressure from parents, social life etc. The study also revealed that stress has numerable effect on Nursing Students, among which are; mental breakdown, frequent headaches, increases depression, low productivity, disorganization, and excessive worry. Therefore, it is recommended that Nursing Students should personally seek for strategies that works best for them in managing work place stress. And the service of a therapist should be employed in severe stress issues. Lastly, Nursing Students should consider the following strategies for coping with stress; prioritizing work, divert thinking (do something fun), proactiveness, disregarding, networking, and regular exercise.

Table of Content

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background of the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the study
  • 1.4 Research questions
  • 1.5 Significance of the study
  • 1.6 Scope of the study
  • 1.7 Limitation of the study
  • 1.8 Definition of terms
  • 1.9 Organizations of the study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the study
  • 3.3 Sample size determination
  • 3.4 Sample size selection technique and procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of data collection
  • 3.7 Method of data analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the study
  • 3.10 Ethical consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Work is an essential need for everyone. It is estimated that over 75% of adult’s nonsleeping time is devoted to job activities and people find satisfaction and personal identity by means of their employment. Among life events the workplace stands out as a potentially important source of stress purely because of the amount of time spent in this setting (Scott, 2012). Employees are exposed to tension, frustration and anxiety as they go about the task assigned to them. The negative effect of work on an individual is referred to as occupational stress (OS).

Nakasis and Ouzoni (2008) defined occupational Stress (OS) as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the resources, capabilities and needs of the worker.

Occupational stress is also referred to as a pattern of emotional, cognitive, behavioral and physiological reactions to adverse and noxious aspects of work content, work organization and work environment (European Commission, 2008). Occupational stress is a condition arising from the interaction of people and their job and is characterized by changes within the people that force them to deviate from normal functioning. OS arises when the individual normal coping responses cannot be found (that is, the individual is unable to cope anymore) and as such not able to get along with his job resulting in propensity to leave the organization, absenteeism to mention a few. OS is also seen on a process in which a professional’s attitude and behavior change in negative ways in response to job stressors.

OS is a growing global concern as all countries, profession and all categories of workers, families and societies are affected by occupational stress. Over the past two decades there has been a growing belief that the experience of stress at work has undesirable effects, both on the health of the employee and the effectiveness of the organization. Stress is second in frequency health problem with regards to occupational environment (Moustaka, Antoniadon, Malliarrou, Zanthos, Kiriaki and Constatinidis, 2010). In the UK, occupational stress is estimated to be the largest occupational health problem (Edward & Barnard, 2008). World Health Organization (WHO) has viewed it as a world wide epidemic as it has recently been observed to be associated with 90% of visits to physicians.

Occupational stress has been associated with chronic health problems like cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, physical injuries and cancers (Alves, 2005). Significantly, it reduces brain functions such as memory, concentration and learning and also impairs the immune system, all of which are central to effective performance at work. Occupational stress adversely affects performance in the workplace due to factors such as absenteeism, lower productivity, employees’ turnover and industrial accidents. Figure given by the Health and Safety Executive (2001) in the UK suggests that stress related medical problems are responsible for the loss of 6.5 million working days each year which in turn cost organizations in UK around three hundred and seventy (370) million dollars (about five hundred and eighteen million US dollars) (Sutherland & Cooper, 2002). US business and industry lose about five hundred and fifty (550) million working days annually because of absenteeism and 54% of these cases are stress–related (Lin, 2007).

The problem of occupational stress is not limited to these regions. Although, there is paucity of data as regards the impact of occupational stress in the sub-region of Africa and Nigeria to be precise, it has been defined as a “global epidemic” by the United Nations International Labor Organization. Occupations in the field of human services are considered to be high stress occupations dealing with diverse social as well as individual problems. OS is a major occupational health problem for health care professionals especially nurses. Nurses provide care for three (3) types of clients: individuals, families and communities. This involves, promoting health and wellness, preventing illness, restoring health and caring for the dying. Nizamd et al (2006) stated that caring for individuals, families, groups, population or entire communities with multiple, complex and distressing problems can be overwhelming for even the most experienced practitioner. Nurses encounter complex and stressful conditions due to special demands of their profession which enhances their vulnerability to occupational stress (OS). Stress among nurses is an endemic problem and nursing is known to be stressful through out the world (Onasoga, Ogbebor and Ojo, 2013). Nad (2009), stated that nursing is emotionally, physically and psychologically demanding. Many nursing tasks are by normal standards distasteful and disgusting, others are often degrading while some are simply frightening.

Most studies on occupational stress management have viewed it as a response to a stressor. Occupational stress management strategies refer to measures initiated by an individual or organization that aim at reducing the presence of work related stressor or assisting individuals to minimize negative outcomes of exposure to these stressors. It could be referred to as physical and psychological resources used to counter the effects of occupational stress or to cope with the stress. In the present study, coping is synonymous to occupational stress management. Coping has been considered as a very crucial element in the stress literature as individuals under stress can use various coping strategies to buffer, minimize or tolerate the effects of the stressor (Lin, 2007). It could also be seen as effort, whether cognition or action that people use to cope with environmental stressors. Such efforts could be problem focused or emotion focused strategies. The strategies include; confrontive coping, distancing, self-controlling, seeking social support ,accepting responsibility, escapeavoidance, planful–problem solving and positive reappraisal (Lambert and Lambert,2008).Problem focused strategies are highly action focused and involve altering or managing the problem that is causing the stress while emotion focused strategies refer to those strategies that help the individual reduce the negative emotional response associated with stress such as embarrassment, fear, anxiety to mention a few. Studies have shown evidence that use of coping strategies can have beneficial effect on both the employer and the employees, enhancing work satisfaction, reducing rate of absenteeism and turn over and also workplace related tension (Lin, 2007; Lambert & Lambert,2008).

In the previous studies, it was reported that nurses used mostly problem-focused coping rather than emotion-focused coping strategies and that nurses used a variety of coping strategies in order to deal with numerous workplace stressors (Chang et al., 2006; Tyson & Pongruengphant, 2004; Xianyu & Lambert, 2006; Welbourne et al., 2007). Studies have shown that some demographic variables have significant association with coping strategies adopted by nurses (Jose & Bhat, 2013; Payne, 2001). Some of these variables are age, marital status, married status, years of working experience, experience in current area, area of work and daily working hours. Each coping strategy function independently in stressful situations, the type of strategy adopted largely depends on the specific profile of the individual’s stress perception and demographic characteristics (kariv & Heiman, 2013). It has been established that nursing is stressful (Nad,2009; Papageorgiou, Karabetsou, Nikolakou & Paylakou, 2007) but work on how nurses cope or manage occupational stress and the demographic determinants are rather few and inconclusive. In order to fill this gap in knowledge, this study, therefore, investigated the coping strategies of nurses to work-related stress in tertiary hospitals in Madonna University.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Noted that nurses are one of the most vulnerable professional groups to occupational stress as they often encounter stressful situation in their human service profession. Nursing could be described as a job that requires expenditure of energy on many levels. Physical demands of the job could result in many aches, strains and pains. Mentally, the nurse is required to make calculations for medications and to respond professionally to questions of patients and relatives. Emotionally, she is expected to be clothed with empathy to provide the needed care to her clients. All these notwithstanding, the nurse is still confronted with issues like resource constraints, poor staff support and organizational change to mention few. These also add to the energy expended by the nurse. The physiological, mental and emotional harm caused by stress can adversely affect their performance (example in medication errors).

A nurse under stress will be indifferent to patient’s demand. More so, she may be withdrawn, behaves negatively, most often absents herself from work and has a desire to quit the profession (Papageorgion, 2007). The major concern of this work is “how do nurses cope or handle stress at the workplace and what are those demographic variables that determine coping strategies used by them?” This study intends to find answers to the above questions.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

Generally, the study aims at Assessment Of Stress Coping Strategies Among Nursing Students In Madonna University. Specifically, the study aims to;

  1. Identify the causes of stress among Nursing Students.
  2. Ascertain the effect of stress among Nursing Students.
  3. Determine the strategies for coping with stress among Nursing Students.

1.4 Research Question

The study will be guided by the following questions;

  1. What are the causes of stress among Nursing Students?
  2. What is the effect of stress among Nursing Students?
  3. What are the strategies for coping with stress among Nursing Students?

1.5 Significance of the Study

Research is the best way to find solutions to nursing problems and to set standard for nursing practice. This study is of utmost importance as it will provide a valid information on how nurses in the tertiary hospitals manage stress at work. Thus, equipping the health institutions, government, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders in the health sectors with the right information to enable them organize training, seminars, workshop on interventions to handle stress at work (both at the organizational level and at the individual level). These interventions will assist the nurses to be more effective in managing stress at work; improving and promoting their health, job satisfaction while reducing the physiological, psychological and behavioral, consequences of occupational stress, ensuring the delivery of quality nursing care with an enhanced patient outcome. Findings from this study will provide literature for further studies in this area of research.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study was delimited to the coping strategies among all student nurses in the clinical areas in Madonna University. This study was focused only on the stress coping measures used by the nurses at work and the demographic variables (educational status, years of working experience, age, marital status and professional rank).

1.7 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.8 Definition of Terms


Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.

Work Stress:

Job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health and even injury.

Stress Management:

Stress management is a wide spectrum of techniques and psychotherapies aimed at controlling a person’s level of stress, especially chronic stress, usually for the purpose of and for the motive of improving everyday functioning.

Work-Life Balance:

Work-life balance is the state of equilibrium where a person equally prioritizes the demands of one’s career and the demands of one’s personal life. Some of the common reasons that lead to a poor work-life balance include: Increased responsibilities at work and Working longer hours.

1.9 Organizations of the Study

The chapter one consist of the introductory part of the study which includes the study background, the statement of the research problem, the study objective and scope of the study.

The second chapter is a critical review of other literatures relevant to the study and its objectives including the theoretical framework for the study. While the third chapter is methods of data collection, sampling and data analysis used in conducting the study. The fourth chapter centres around the research findings including an analysis of how it relates to previous findings. The fifth chapter consists of the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations base on the study objectives.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the Assessment Of Stress Coping Strategies Among Nursing Students In Madonna University as a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.

5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on the Assessment Of Stress Coping Strategies Among Nursing Students In Madonna University as a case study. The study is was specifically set to; identify the causes of stress among Nursing Students, ascertain the effect of stress among Nursing Students, and determine the strategies for coping with stress among Nursing Students.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 210 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are nursing students in Madonna University.

5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of the study, the researcher recommended that;

  1. The causes of stress among Nursing Students include; long working hours without break, pressure from parents, incompetency of subordinate, theft, and unfavorable economic order.
  2. Stress has numerable effect on Nursing Students, among which are; mental breakdown, frequent headaches, increases depression, low productivity, disorganization, and excessive worry.
  3. The applicable strategies for coping with stress among Nursing Students include; prioritize work, divert thinking (do something fun), proactiveness, disregarding, networking, and regular exercise.

5.3 Recommendations

Based on the findings of this study, in order to achieve a stable academic success, one not affected by stress for the university undergraduates, the following propositions are made:

1. Prevention of Over-scheduling of classes:

Classes of the university undergraduate should not be jammed-packed. Break periods should be given at intervals so as to allow for relaxation, recreation, rest and sleep. This would allow the students to be well-rested before the next class and regain loss and expended energy.

2. Guidance and Counselling Program:

This is a one on one interaction between the counselor or professional and client o counselee to resolves issues or problems that might arise in the life of the individual. The general goal of counseling is to help the individual. The general goal of counseling is to help the individual become independent, capable of making informed decision on similar issues that may arise in similar years. Through this medium, student’s emotional issues can be handled by professional who will assist them in making better informed decision.

3. Provision of Financial Aids e.g. Scholarship Funds:

Financial aids should be given to students to help sustain their academic pursuit. This aids, could come in form of scholarship funds, bursary, borrowing funds from financial institutions, etc. Students with low financial aid suffer from financial stress as they are always in a constant state of anxiety. Flude (1978), according to him, the focus on the difference in the performance of students of privileged parents and students of lower families has direct attention in the fact that students of privileged parents are at an advantage, because their parents are able to provide them with their immediate needs and materials unlike some of their mates with low income parents.

4. Through Health Education:

According to WHO, health education is a combination of learning experiences designed to help individuals and communities improve their health by increasing their knowledge or influencing their attitudes.

Many students or individuals are not even in the know of what stress is, its signs, symptoms as well as its causes.

Through health education, they can be well informed and influenced to practicing behavior and lifestyle favourable to healthful living.

This can be achieved through the following medium:

  1. Including health education in their curriculum because health is relative to every student irrespective of their course of study. As a result, they should be well informed on their health.
  2. Through organization of seminars and workshops. Students can be well informed and equipped as it concerns their health if seminars and workshops can be organized were, this issues can be discussed.
  3. Through media communication such as television houses, newspapers, journals, articles, pamphlets, oral communication (The spoken word), handbills, newsletter, etc, health information can be communicated.

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