The main purpose for this research was to specify empirically the sources and frequency of stress experienced by headnurses working in different types of specialities in hospitals. Headnurses (n—153) from nine specialities: paediatrics, obstetrics, medicine, surgery, rural, auxiliary, psychiatry, rehabilitation and intensive care participated. Data were collected by a 21 item questionnaire. Findings suggested five types of stress for headnurses relating to their administrative role, type of patients, task ambiguity, staffing problems and physician contact. Headnurses from different specialities perceived these types of stress to occur with differing frequency.