Occupational stress in psychiatric nursing


  • Patrick Joseph Sullivan BSc(Hons) RMN DipN

    Corresponding author
    1. Clinical Nurse Manager, Acute Psychiatry, Macclesfield Health Authority, Macclesfield, Cheshire, England
    Search for more papers by this author

Patrick J Sullivan 32 Nab Hill Avenue Leek Staffordshire ST13 8EE England


Psychiatric nursing is invariably assumed to be a stressful area of nursing practice Empirical evidence to support this proposition is limited, however, due to the lack of research in this field The purpose of this project was to examine occupational stress in a specified area of psychiatric nursing The research was exploratory and therefore the concern was discovery and description rather than the testing of clear hypotheses and the development of causal relationships The study has four main objectives First, to describe the various stressors present in the work of the psychiatric nurse in the acute admission wards of two district health authorities Secondly, to measure the effects of stress using a recognized and well-validated instrument for recording levels of burnout Thirdly, through the use of a particular theoretical framework to identify the types of coping strategy used by the participants in the study Fourthly, to note any clear associations between the stressors, the effects of stress and the ways of coping identified in the study The conceptual basis for the project was Lazarus's cognitive theory of stress and coping and Maslach's model of burnout