Stress among student nurses: is it practical or academic?


  • M. M. RHEAD RGN BSc(Hons)

    1. Lecturer Practitioner Nurse at Tor and South West College of Health/Intensive Care Unit, North Devon District Hospital, Raleigh Park, Barnstaple, North Devon EX31 4JB
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  • Previous research into stress among student nurses has only concentrated on the practical aspects of nursing and has ignored stress caused by the academic side of training. In comparing Registered General Nurse (RGN) and Diploma of Higher Education in Nursing (Dip. HE Nursing) students using a modified nurses stress scale, the intensity of stress was investigated.
  • It was hypothesized that there would be a difference in the total stress scores between the two pre-registration education courses as well as within the practical and academic elements.
  • Dip. HE Nursing students were significantly more stressed than RGN students, but equally for practical and academic elements. RGN students were significantly more stressed on the practical elements. Factors analysis clearly identified two factors: (i) the practical elements, and (ii) the academic elements of nursing. A third factor was also identified and this was related to stress induced by issues concerning death and suffering in the patient.
  • These results have implications for the development of the nurse education course (Dip. HE Nursing) which is still in its infancy.