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Coping with Stress of Nurses Employed in the Internal Medicine and Surgical Departments


1 Danijela Kundrata

2 Zrinka Pukljak

1 Marin Repustić

2,3,4 Cecilija Rotim

2,5Adriano Friganović

2 Biljana Kurtović

1 Department for ensuring and improving the Quality of Healthcare, general Hospital „dr. Ivo Pedišić“, Sisak, Croatia

2 University of Applied Health Sciences, Zagreb, Croatia

3 Rotim polyclinic, Zagreb, Croatia

4 Faculty of dental Medicine and Health, Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek, Osijek, Croatia

5 Department of Anesthesiology and intensive Medicine, University Hospital Centre Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia



keywords: nurses, stress in nursing, ways of coping





Introduction. Stress is a state of tension that arises when events or requests from the environment are assessed as threatening or too demanding. in the process of coping, we use different cognitive and behavioral strategies. problem-oriented coping involves strategies aimed at changing or removing stressors. emotion-focused coping encompasses stress-induced arousal management strategies. no coping strategy is universally effective, but the success of coping is assessed in the interaction of an individual’s characteristics and a stressful situation. The prevalence of individual coping patterns among nurses may depend on their workplace.

Aim. To determine nurses in the internal medicine and surgical departments of two croatian hospitals cope with stress.

Methods. The participants were 163 nurses from the internal medicine and surgical departments of the Sisak general Hospital “dr. Ivo Pedišić” and the general Hospital Karlovac. The measuring instruments used are the Questionnaire on how to deal with stress and the Scale for assessing the importance of events and the possibility of control.

Results. The most common ways of coping with stress are planned problem solving, seeking social support, and self-control, while the rarest way of coping is avoidance. nurses perceive the success of coping with stress as moderate, and the degree of control over stressful situations as rather low. Stressful situations are most often perceived as a threat, and least often as a challenge.With the perception of a greater degree of control over the situation, they more often choose to accept responsibility as a way of coping. In internal medicine departments, stressful events are assessed as significantly more disturbing than in surgical departments.

Conclusion. The results confirm that for further education of nurses on successful coping with stress, it is important to examine and further explore cognitive processes in selecting ways of coping: the meaning they attach to the situation, assessing control over the situation, and self-assessing coping success.