A quantitative study to assess the perceived stress and coping strategies among undergraduate nursing students at Liverpool John Moores University
Keywords:Stress, Stressors, Coping Strategies, Nursing Students, Psychological Wellbeing, Academic Overload
Background: Nursing students are exposed to a variety of stresses during their studies and clinical training. Stress has been recognised as a disease of the 20th century and contributes to health problems worldwide. In recent years, there has been a growing understanding of the stresses and quality-of-life concerns and associated with medical training and the impact these may have on students' learning and academic performance. For students entering the nursing career, it is therefore important to identify their levels of stress and associated coping mechanisms. The specific aim of the study is to assess the perceived stress and coping strategies experienced by undergraduate nursing students at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU).
Methods: A descriptive quantitative study of LJMU nursing students was carried out. An online self-administered and validated questionnaire was used to evaluate the sources of stress and coping strategies of students. The survey was completed by a total of 44 participants. Most respondents (86.4%) were female and older than 26 years old (50%).
Results: The primary findings of the study revealed that most participants (89.0%) feel under pressure because of their studies. The individuals' overall stress levels were compared based on their age, sex, and nationality; however, no statistically significant differences could be seen. In relation to coping mechanisms, a significant proportion opt to correct themselves by giving lectures to themselves (22.7% very frequently, 43.2% frequently). Techniques such as venting problems to others (40.0%), changing anything about themselves (18.2% very frequently, 34.1% frequently) and seeking family help (27.85%) were also commonly used. Whilst finding a spiritual path (68.20%) and receiving expert advice and counselling for assistance (56.80%) were seen as the never-used options. In addition, four main categories of stress sources were examined. Studying (53.3%) and the imbalance of coursework and practical work (54.5%) were found to be the primary sources of stress. This was followed by lack of free time and pressure from family/mentors. The final part of the questionnaire included the Perceived Stress Score, where a total score is calculated and compared based on age, sex, and nationality. Perceived Stress Scores range from a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 38. The mean of the total score is 19.13, and the standard deviation is 6.94.
Conclusion: Compared to men, most women experience higher levels of stress, and research suggests academic pressure is one of the main causes of stress. Although students use a variety of coping mechanisms, none was determined to be of professional significance. Therefore, there is a need for an improved mental wellness programme for nursing students at LJMU, that focuses on enhancing the students' psychological health. This enables individuals to adapt into a professional employment without feeling burnt out.
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