Stressful events perception and coping strategies among internal medicine and surgical nurses


  • Z. Pukljak Iričanin
  • D. Kundarta


Background: Nurses have confirmed high levels of occupational stress. This study investigates ways of coping and perception of stressful events among nurses from internal medicine and departments of surgery. Methods: 163 nurses (81 internal medicine and 82 surgical nurses) in two Croatian hospitals completed questionnaire about nurses’ perception of stressful situations, demographics and Lazarus Ways of Coping Questionnaire. Findings: When assessing the last working week, nurses remember stressful situations that were very disturbing (0-3, M=2,07), mostly perceived as threat (42,8%) and with low control (0-3, M=0,77). Other persons involved in stressful situations were mostly nurses of the same hierarchy (25,6%) and patients (19,2%). Internal medicine nurses perceived their stressful situations as more disturbing. Problem solving, seeking social support and self-controlling were mostly used coping strategies, while accepting responsibility was the least used. Nurses who used more problem solving perceive themselves as more successful in coping. Perception of more control over situation was associated with more accepting responsibility and less confrontation. In situations perceived as threat nurses tend to use more problem solving and less accepting responsibility than in situations perceived as loss. Perception of control decreases with age and coping with confrontation increases. Discussion: The results confirm that coping with occupational stress is a multifaceted process dependent on nurses’ perception of situation, perception of control and some other individual factors, such as age. Ways of coping did not differ among various hospital wards but there was a difference in assessing disturbance during stressful events.





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