Effects Of Shift Work On Nurses Nursing Essay

BACKGROUND: “Everyday day, the nurse confronts stark suffering, grief and death as few people do. Many nursing tasks are mundane and unrewarding. Many are, by normal standards, distasteful. Others are often degrading; some are frightening (Hingley, 1984)”. Stress in the nursing profession is evident as many researchers continue to be intrigued by this topic. The issue of work-related stress has being explored and discussed in many profession but, the nursing profession has being widely researched. Stress does not only impact Nurses but for both patient’s and the organisation. This study sought to measure which components in the nursing profession contributes to stress. A quantitative approach has been used as its’ components of measurement and objectively relate to the aim of this study.

METHODS: This study will measure which factors contribute to stress in the nursing profession. The data collection methods for this study will be self-administered questionnaire. Data were obtained from the Registered General Nursing Division on a medical and surgical ward (n=40).



Chapter 1 Examine the term “stress” and how it is relevant to the nursing profession.

Chapter 2 Literature review on relevant material to supports the study.

Chapter 3 outlines the methodology of the research

Chapter 4 findings of the study composing of (n=40) Nurses

Chapter 5 Conclusion and recommendations

HYPOTHESIS 1: Stress is caused in the nursing environment by shift work, workload, and working environment.


The term “stress” was first used by the endocrinologists Hans Selye in 1930 who proposed that the perceptions and responses of humans trying to adapt to challenges of everyday life. In recent times, stress is defined as when one is faced with events or encounters that they perceive as endangerment to their physical well-being (as cited by McGowan, 2001). In relation to the nursing profession many researchers have attempted to define stress. Chang (2005) proposes that stress is intrinsic to nursing and a highly demanding job with poor support, and rapidly changing circumstances. Whereas, Mann & Cowburn (2005) identified nursing as emotionally demanding and this interactive stress contribute to daily stress as a nurse. Malone (2004) asserts that the nursing profession more than any other profession has being singled out as a particular stressful profession. Death, grief, increased work load, conflict, attending to patients’ needs, dealing with emergencies are just a few of the daily tasks a nurse deals with on a daily basis the list is endless. There is a wealth of information on stress in any profession but, there is relevant material that supports that stress in the nursing profession is more evident due the nature of the job (Charney, 1995). Ireland has very little research on this topic there is a wealth of international material and these will be used for this research. There is apparent gap in research pertaining to stress on a typical medical-surgical ward and this has prompted this research. A quantitative approach was used to conduct this study and a self-administered questionnaire will be given to General Nurses on a medical-surgical ward. Findings could help in identifying certain elements of the nursing job that could be changed such as, shift work by offering more flexibility, and offering permanent positions. In addition, this research will hope to raise awareness with managers in the health service that stress is evident, and that more emphasis on stress reduction programmes and support as current strategies may not be working effectively as this phenomenon continues. Reducing stress in the nursing profession is important in retention, in addition, to the safety of nurse’s health and the people they care for.

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