Project 2000: a study of expected and experienced stressors and support reported by students and qualified nurses
The present study was conducted in the light of major reforms to nurse education which have taken place in the United Kingdom since 1989. The study aimed to identify initially perceived stressors and coping resources and subsequently, to compare these with actually reported stressors and available resources, during a critical period in nurses’ careers. Three groups of nurses participated who were undertaking, or had recently completed, the first Project 2000 course at a university in the south of England. Participants were given an open-ended questionnaire and asked to describe potential difficulties, and the coping resources they anticipated using, in a subsequent 6-month period. Following analysis of the descriptors a structured questionnaire was developed to measure actually experienced difficulties and coping resources that were reported; this was completed by the three groups 6 months after the initial phase of the study. Both student and staff nurse groups reported fewer stressors and more resources than they had predicted. Students anticipated difficulties with competence but actually reported financial difficulties. They experienced support from mentors although this was not anticipated. Newly qualified staff nurses experienced fewer difficulties with meeting personal expectations of the role than they had anticipated. They reported more use of emotion-focused coping and less professional support than the student groups. The results are discussed in relation to training needs.