• acute care stress;
  • job stress;
  • nursing stress;
  • staffing patterns

purcell s.r., kutash m. & cobb s. (2011) Journal of Nursing Management19, 714–720 The relationship between nurses' stress and nurse staffing factors in a hospital setting

Aim  The present study objective was to examine the relationships between nurses’ stress and nurse staffing in a hospital setting.

Background  Nurses have many job-related stressors. There is a lack of research exploring the relationship between job stressors to staffing and day of week worked.

Methods  The sample consisted of registered nurses (RNs) (N = 197) providing direct patient care. Data were collected via electronic software. Variables included demographic information, work setting information, Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) scores and Nursing Stress Scale (NSS) scores. Data analysis included descriptive statistics, correlations and analysis of variance.

Results  Among respondents, a positive correlation (r = 0.363, P < 0.05) was found between the NSS and PSS and between age and patient work load (i.e. number of patients the nurse cared for) (r = 0.218, P < 0.05). A negative correlation (r = −0.142, P < 0.05) existed between NSS and respondents’ age. Analysis of variance showed that younger nurses had more nursing stress than older nurses (F1,195 = 4.283, P < 0.05).

Conclusions  Age, patient work load and day of the week worked are important factors affecting nurses’ stress levels.

Implications for Nursing Management  Nurse managers should consider scheduling as a potential stressor for nurses.