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It is generally recognized that the stress of hospitabzation and hospital treatment can impede the recovery of patients and in some cases cause potentially life-threatening physiological changes Previous studies have indicated that nurses do not accurately perceive worry, anxiety and stress in patients In order to assess how accurately nurses perceive worry, anxiety and stress in their patients, questionnaires were designed and distributed to a group of preoperahve patients and nursing staff from general surgical wards, in order to discover how closely these two groups considered various situations and events as causing worry in preoperahve patients The results showed that whilst there was a considerable level of agreement between the two groups for the rank order of the 26 items in the questionnaire, nursing staff consistently assessed patients as worrying considerably more than the patients actually reported themselves The nurses in the study were therefore over-estimating the degree of worry, anxiety and stress in their patients