Factors Contributing to Clinical Stress Among Baccalaureate Nursing Students: A Literature Review

Tuesday, 31 October 2017: 8:00 AM

Devon J. Manney, MSN
Susan D. Beck, MSN
Kristy A. Sands, MSN
Department of Nursing, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, Bloomsburg, PA, USA

A national survey of college students revealed 85.6 percent felt overwhelmed by their responsibilities and 56.9 percent felt overwhelming anxiety (American College Health Association [ACHA], 2015). With 189,729 students currently enrolled in entry-level baccalaureate nursing programs in the United States, nurse educators must consider these statistics and the implications they may have for safe patient care and outcomes (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2012). To heighten nurse educators’ awareness of stressors related to clinical experiences, a literature review was conducted. The literature review was conducted using the databases of CINAHLComplete, MEDLINE Complete, PsycInfo, and ScienceDirect and the keywords undergraduate/baccalaureate nursing students/stress/clinical stress/perceptions and clinical. The initial search yielded a total of 98 articles. Each article’s abstract was manually reviewed for relevance to the topic and articles that did not relate to stress of baccalaureate nursing students in the clinical setting were eliminated. A total of nine articles from 2012-2015 were found to be relevant and were included in the literature review. This presentation will highlight common findings derived from the literature synthesis, provide implications for nursing education practice and suggestions for future research. Results revealed common experiences of baccalaureate nursing students and included stress related to clinical placement, unpleasant feelings, stressors regarding faculty and nursing staff expectations and coping behaviors utilized. Implications for nursing education practice include increasing faculty cognizance of student stressors and promoting self-care and emotional well-being by providing support. Following the review of literature, key areas identified for further research include further investigation of the topic in the United States, the influence of clinical adjunct faculty, the outcomes of stress on clinical performance and the relationship between student stress related to clinical and program attrition. Baccalaureate nursing students are experiencing stress related to clinical but little is known about the clinical stress experienced by baccalaureate nursing students in the United States. Stress is multi-faceted and students respond to it differently and nurse educators must demonstrate awareness of student stress and coping behaviors.