Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Joy Wachs

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Karen Kornweibel, Audrey Greenwell


With healthcare reform on the rise and the population of Baby Boomers increasing exponentially, nurses are in higher demand than ever before. Students in nursing school are under a great deal of stress as they balance a heavy academic load with outside responsibilities to jobs and families. These stressors often carry into professional practice, resulting in nurses that are constantly stressed. This study asks nursing students about their perceived stress and about the specific ways they cope with their stress.

The study’s results show that most students wish they had more time to engage in stress relieving activities. When students and nurses do not have time to adequately relieve their stress, their patients may be adversely affected. Stressed nurses are more prone to making careless mistakes, which can negatively impact the quality of patient care. This problem is compounded by the projected shortage of registered nurses. Nursing students need to be educated early on about constructive stress coping mechanisms that will carry into their practice. Nursing programs and employers can help promote effective coping by establishing policies that create positive, lower-stress learning and work environments. Implications of such policies and specific results of this study will also be discussed.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Withheld

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Included in

Nursing Commons