Stressors and Coping Strategies of Students in Accelerated Baccalaureate Nursing Programs Marge Hegge, Edd, Rn Sr. Vicky Larson, Ms, Rn

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Students in accelerated baccalaureate nursing programs were asked about the stressors and helpfulness of coping strategies during the program. The authors report the results and implications of their study.
The success of baccalaureate students in accelerated nursing programs depends on how well the students handle stress. Most of the research about stress and coping of nursing students has been conducted with traditional baccalaureate students. Those with previous healthcare experience may exhibit less stress than students who have not had previous experience.1 A longitudinal study found that previous healthcare experience correlated with less student stress only at the beginning of the semester.2 Younger students do not perceive more stress than older, more mature students.2 Neither age nor work experience was a factor influencing perceived stress in student nurses.3 Traditional baccalaureate students expected clinical experiences to be more stressful than they actually found them to be. Students experienced higher stress levels at the beginning of the semester than at the end of the semester.2 Both associate degree and baccalaureate nursing students perceive the clinical instructor as the primary source of stress during clinical experiences.4 Interactions with clinical instructors were highly stressful events for 45% of the 107 junior student nurses.5 The most common stressful events for them included interpersonal relationships with instructors, ability to perform, heavy workload, and helpless feelings.5 Five main themes of stress perceived by 75 students in a pediatric clinical rotation were as follows: fear of medication errors, extensive information to learn, lack of clinical knowledge, inexperience with caring for children, and clinical instructors.3 Some students experience chaos in their lives during nursing school.6 Interviews of
23 traditional baccalaureate nursing students revealed major stressors as



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