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Nurse Education Today


Background:Stress is an inevitable part of life and is especially pervasive in the lives of nursing students. Identifying the predictors of stress as well as coping strategies used can allow for the implementation of appropriate coping interventions to assist in the management of stress in nursing students. Mixed methods research that has been undertaken to gain an understanding about student stress, especially juxtaposing generic versus accelerated nursing students could not be identified. Objectives: (1) Identify predictors of stress between accelerated and generic Baccalaureate Nursing (BSN) students; and (2) Describe stressors and coping strategies used by accelerated students in comparison with generic students. Design: Embedded mixed methods study. Setting: Accelerated and generic BSN third- and fourth-year nursing students at two Midwestern universities. Participants: 210 participants: accelerated (n = 75) and generic (n = 135). Methods: A questionnaire packet, including demographics, history of depression, the Perceived Stress Questionnaire, Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, and open-ended questions were administered to students at the end of a class. Simultaneous multiple regression was used to examine predictors of stress. Content analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. Results: Predictors of stress for both the accelerated and generic groups included history of depression, year in the program, emotional support, and self-esteem. Fear of failure and clinical incompetence, problematic relationships, and time management issues were identified as major stressors. Coping strategies used by both groups included positive thinking and social support. Conclusions: Senior students with a history of depression, low self-esteem, and little social support were more likely to experience high levels of stress. This gives educators the potential to identify at risk students and establish stress reduction programs. Encouraging students to use individualized coping strategies will be beneficial.









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