Effects Stress has on Nurses

Nursing can be a stressful career at times.  You can’t make mistakes, you don’t always have time to eat and you’re on your feet for twelve straight hours or more. Obviously there are more parts of the job that can stressful, but what about the effects stress has on a nurses career or on body? 

A Lasting Physical Impact

The physical demands can weigh on a nurse throughout their day-to-day duties. For some nurses, this can mean having to lift and bend often. Failing to use a proper lifting technique or proper lift equipment (if available) can take it’s physical toll on a nurse’s back and legs. Add to that twelve-hour shifts, and perhaps longer shifts in emergencies, the physical impact a nurse’s job can have drains not just their back, but also their feet. Wearing comfortable shoes that support your feet are critical. For other nurses, the exposure to toxins and infections on a daily basis can also be mentally and physically taxing. Without taking the proper care to disinfect nurses can be predisposed to illness.

The Emotional Demands

Caring for people with fatal diseases, those who are frightened and helping families going through a tragedy can be extremely stressful. Not only must nurses  add to this the interpersonal relationships with colleagues and other medical professionals. The effects stress can have on nurses can also manifest themselves in many ways. According to one study “job stress is very expensive and its side effects become clear in the form of tiredness, harsh behavior, anxiety, increase of blood pressure, lack of self-confidence, lack of job satisfaction, decrease in efficiency.[,] According to the studies, stress in nurses can cause depression, isolation from patients, absence and decrease of their qualifications.”

Ways to Deal with Stress

Learning how to deal with stress is critical no matter what field you operate in. Because nurses can have such high levels of stress it can be useful to learn a few tricks on how to deal with stress. According to there are six ways you can manage stress.

  • Talk about it: Talking things out helps to get it out, not necessarily to find a solution. Talking about stressors helps in recognizing them – which can help address and hopefully resolve them.
  • Recruit Support: Reach out to your co-workers for help. A healthy vent session is extremely helpful in not just voicing concerns, but in sharing ideas on how to improve things.
  • Exercise: Exercise helps reduce adrenaline and cortisol as well as boost endorphins.
  • Find a Hobby: Hobbies make people feel good and sometimes provide a feeling of pride and accomplishment.
  • Breathe Deeply: According to, deep breathing helps to bring oxygen to the brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which helps to reduce stress. Heart rate and blood pressure decrease and muscles relax.
  • Seek Help: For some people stress can be too much to handle. It’s okay to seek help when the above techniques (and others) don’t work. Recognizing stress and the effect it has will help nurses maintain a long and healthy career.

Facing burnout and the effects stress has on a nurse can also lead to poor decision making. If you’re a nurse whose career is in jeopardy because of stress and have been contacted due to an Arizona Board of Nursing complaint or investigation learn how Chelle Law can help. Contact us today.