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Keywords:

  • clinical practice;
  • experience;
  • health;
  • novice;
  • nursing students;
  • stress

jimenez c., navia-osorio p.m. & diaz c.v. (2010) Stress and health in novice and experienced nursing students. Journal of Advanced Nursing66(2), 442–455.

Abstract

Title. Stress and health in novice and experienced nursing students

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to identify the differences in novice and experienced nursing students’ reports of stress and health.

Background.  Stress from clinical practice and its impact are international yet culturally mediated phenomena. Nursing students are under considerable stress during clinical practice periods, putting their education and health at risk. However, there is little or no empirical evidence about the stress suffered by nursing students and its impact on their health throughout clinical practice.

Methods.  We performed cross-sectional research using standard information gathering tools. This study was carried out with 357 students from all 3 years of a nursing diploma programme at a Spanish nursing college (71% response rate). The data were collected over an 8-month period in 2004–2005.

Findings.  We identified three types of stressors (clinical, academic and external) and two categories of symptoms (physiological and psychological) linked to clinical practice. Factor analysis identified six major sources of stress and six important symptoms. Students perceived clinical stressors more intensely than academic and external stressors, and showed psychological symptoms more frequently than physiological symptoms. Nursing students from all 3 years perceived moderate stress at similar levels. Experienced students perceived more academic stressors than novices. Although the students were healthy, second year students were the most vulnerable to somatic and psychic anxiety, and common symptoms.

Conclusion.  We suggest informing students about possible stressors associated with their profession, and introducing interventions to support development of professionalism, social skills and coping capacity for clinical practice.