Nurses’ Work-related Stress during COVID-19: Reasons, Expressions and Coping Strategies
Medical staff and affiliated healthcare professionals are recognized as a vulnerable group because they constantly are under both physical and psychological pressure. The COVID-19 pandemic has alarming implications for individual and collective health, and physical, emotional and social functioning of nurses and other healthcare professionals. Early recognition of workrelated stress and the use of appropriate coping techniques would help nurses to maintain emotional
stability in contributing to timely and quality nursing care.
The aim of this study was to investigate the level of work-related stress and its reasons, expressions and coping strategies among nurses during the COVID-19 situation.
Methods. A quantitative research strategy was applied for the study. Data were collected using a structured survey. Nurses answered 92 questions divided into four sections: reasons of stress (32 questions); the impact of stress on personal health (20 questions); stress coping strategies (31 questions); sociodemographic data and stress level (9 questions). 83 items were rated by the Likert scale from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘strongly disagree’. In total, 180 nurses participated in the study.
Results. The main reasons of work-related stress to occur were the risk of contracting (67.2%) or transmitting (87.1%) the virus to family members, requirements for the use of personal protective equipment (61.1%), changes in a work organization due to increasing workload and working time (56.9%), lack of nursing staff (64.2%) and high media attention exclusively for doctors rescuing the lives of those suffering from the disease and thus ignoring the contribution of nurses (52.3%). To cope with stress, nurses mostly used to follow the work under COVID-19 situation guidelines (82.1%), to stay calm and not think a lot about the pandemic (71.7%); specific relaxation techniques or spiritual interventions were rarely used.
Conclusions. Nurses expressed work-related stress concerned with the specific reasons of the coronavirus pandemic: fear to be infected or transmit infection to family, unforeseen clinical situations, permanent use of personal protective devices and shortage of human resources in the unit. Use of education and information tools, the application of relaxing methods and a rational approach to the critical situation were the most common work-related stress reduction methods used by nurses during the coronavirus pandemic in Lithuania.
Correspondence to . Nursing Department, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Eivenių 4, LT-50009 Kaunas, Lithuania. E-mail: email@example.com