• justice;
  • relational regulation;
  • social support;
  • stress

Aims and objectives

To present a novel approach to nurse stress by exploring the demand–control–support model with organisational justice through the lens of relational regulation theory.


Nursing is often stressful due to high demands and dissatisfaction with pay, which impacts the mental well-being and productivity of nurses.


A cross-sectional design.


A validated questionnaire was sent to the work addresses of all nursing and midwifery staff in a medium-sized general acute hospital in Australia. A total of 190 nurses and midwives returned completed questionnaires for the analyses.


The multiple regression analyses demonstrated that the model applies to the prototypical context of a general acute hospital and that job control, supervisor support and outside work support improve the job satisfaction and mental health of nurses.


Most importantly, supervisor support was found to buffer the impact of excessive work demands. Fairness of procedures, distribution of resources and the quality and consistency of information are also beneficial. Relational regulation theory is applied to these findings as a novel way to conceptualise the mechanisms of support and fairness in nursing.

Relevance to clinical practice

The importance of nurses' well-being and job satisfaction is a priority for improving clinical outcomes. Practically, this means nurse managers should be encouraging nurses in the pursuit of diverse relational activities both at work and outside work.