Perceived Stress in the Workplace in New Graduate Registered Nurses

Perceived Stress in the Workplace in New Graduate Registered Nurses

Author: 
Catherine Holmes
Program of study: 
Ph.D./NUR
Abstract: 
Newly graduated Registered Nurses experience high stress in the workplace due to various circumstances, but there is very little quality research about how much stress a newly graduated RN experiences and which workplace factors are most stressful. A descriptive, correlational study was conducted to identify the levels of perceived stress in newly graduated RNs, factors that influence perceived stress as well as to study the relationship between perceived stress and those workplace factors. These stressors can affect the quality of patient care and job satisfaction. Two survey instruments: PSS and the ENSS were used as data collection tools. The highest levels of stress were found in nurses with 3-6 months of experience while the lowest amounts were found in nurses with 6-12 months of experience. The number of correlations between the workplace factors had a gradual decline over the first year of employment. Workload went up while Uncertainty concerning treatment went down in perceived stress over the year. Though this study found that the levels of perceived stress had minimal variation between the four cohorts, it was able to quantify which work place factors were more stressful during the specific time periods within the first year of employment. Nurse educators and institution administrators need to be mindful of the varying degree of stress these workplace factors place upon new RN’s. Looking at ways of preventing stress before it begins is advisable for organizations and educators who want to maintain quality care and job satisfaction in new graduate RNs.
Dedication: 
I dedicate this dissertation to my husband as well as my two children. I have been asked innumerable times how I can be in school for my PhD and properly raise two children. And what about my poor husband? Well, all of this work has shown them how to strive and push for what you want and now one is in college to be a civil engineer and the other will be in college this fall for pre-med. My husband finished his degree last year as well. It has not been easy but it has not been a solo endeavor. We have all helped each other through life and this has been just another part of our lives. We worked around it, stayed up late, found a few minutes in between activities to get a little work done to produce as little impact on normal, everyday activities. This is not just an accomplishment of mine, but rather an accomplishment of my family.
Acknowledgements: 
First, and foremost, I want to thank my dissertation chair and committee members. I went through some very difficult times and through the support of my chair and committee members, I was able to continue to push myself to the finish line. Dr. Z was that steady voice of calm, telling me to not give up. Dr. Yousey was there for me from the very beginning. She helped me see the gap, see beyond my idea and strive for excellence. I do also want to thank my previous chair, Dr. Susan Orshan. She played such a pivotal role and I am thankful for her help. Finally, Dr. Nelson, I am truly grateful. Just when I was about to throw in the towel, you made me believe that this was all possible. I also want to acknowledge all the study participants. I wish that I could thank them personally for helping me fulfill this dream of mine. With all of their help, I have learned so very much about myself, about stress, and about the dedication of all nurses, every day, to provide the best care to the patients, to each other, and to themselves. I want to send a very special thank you to Debra McKinney, MSN, RN. Debra was my cheerleader on the sidelines, second only to my husband and children. She understood the stress, the anxiety, and the mental pain that I went through to get to this point. Without her, this journey would have been so much harder. Finally, my coworkers were so very supportive. There are too many to mention but they know who they are. They came along with me over the years, encouraging me, checking on my progress, supporting me. I work with great people.