Workplace-related stress has become today's most serious occupational hazard. Aromatherapy is a simple, convenient and non-invasive method of stress relief. There is little research regarding the efficacy of aromatherapy by means of inhaling essential oil in reducing workplace stress-related symptoms among nurses. Therefore, this study was to examine the effectiveness of lavender oil inhalation in reducing job stress-related symptoms among nurses. The 53 nurses in the experimental group pinned small bottles containing 3% lavender oil on the clothes of their right chests, whereas 57 participants in the control group pinned bottles with no lavender oil. Aromatherapy was shown to be effective in the reduction of the number of stress symptoms for 3 or 4 days. The stress symptoms of the experimental group decreased from 6.1 to 2.8 after aromatherapy was carried out (P = 0.126, 0.159, 0.035 and 0.026). This represented a significant decrease in stress, whereas the stress symptoms in the control group increased from 5.6 to 5.8. Hospital staff managers are still encouraged to include aromatherapy concepts and techniques in the continuing education of nursing staff. Concurrently, future research should focus on the possible side effects of aromatherapy to assure safety.