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Keywords:

  • coping;
  • interviews;
  • nurses;
  • nursing;
  • qualitative;
  • Singapore;
  • stress

lim j., hepworth j. & bogossian f. (2011) A qualitative analysis of stress, uplifts and coping in the personal and professional lives of Singaporean nurses. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(5), 1022–1033.

Abstract

Aim.  This paper is a report of a descriptive study of nurses’ experiences of daily stress and coping.

Background.  Much of the research on stress in nursing is quantitative and has focused on only work stressors. Moreover, few studies have examined the uplifting side of living and the role it may play in moderating stress. A theoretical framework on stress and coping, ‘hassles’ and ‘uplifts’ was used to examine nurses’ experiences across their personal and professional lives from a qualitative perspective.

Methods.  A purposive sample of Singaporean hospital nurses (n = 23) identified using a snowball sampling technique, participated in two sets of email interviews in 2009. The qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results.  Three themes were identified as constituting daily hassles: (i) time pressures, (ii) nature of nursing work and (iii) multiple roles. Uplifts were expressed in relation to one main theme of feeling good extending across nurses’ personal and professional lives. Three themes were identified as ways of coping: (i) taking time out, (ii) seeking emotional support and (iii) belief systems.

Conclusion.  The interaction between personal and professional life plays a major role in Singaporean nurses’ experiences of stress and coping. However, stress may be ameliorated through effective management and strong familial support. Nurses and employers are recommended to use uplifts and identify ways of coping to minimize attrition and contribute to the development of a healthy workforce.