Review of literature: Prior research has suggested that nurses contend with a variety of workplace stressors and personal factors that can contribute either positively or negatively to their physical and mental health. However, limited research in this area has been conducted on nurses within China.
Aim: The study sought to determine in Chinese hospital nurses: (a) the most common workplace stressors, (b) the most frequently used ways of coping with stress, and (c) which combination of variables (workplace stressors, ways of coping, psychological hardiness and demographic characteristics) was the best predictor of both physical health and mental health.
Methods: The subjects were 480 nurses working in a variety of clinical settings, within five hospitals, located in three major mainland Chinese cities. A survey design was implemented using five self-report instruments.
Results: Workplace stressors most frequently identified were workload and dealing with death and dying. Ways of coping most often cited were positive reappraisal, self-control and planful problem solving. The best predictors of physical health were psychological hardiness, conflict with other nurses, uncertainty about patient treatment, seeking social support and confrontive coping. The best predictors of mental health were psychological hardiness, conflict with other nurses, workload, seeking social support, age, likelihood to leave nursing within the next 12 months and escape–avoidance coping.
Discussion: These findings suggest areas of concern that need to be addressed, by both hospital and nursing administration, in order to establish a positive and productive work environment for Chinese nurses.