7 Strategies for Nurses to Tackle Stress at the Workplace

Stress has been identified as the main reason employees can’t perform well at work. Stress can occur when you are confronted with overwhelming situations and find yourself unable to manage them.

Stress is a normal, inevitable part of life, but it can prove damaging to your health and well-being. In certain fields and industries, like healthcare, workplace stress is rapidly plaguing workers’ lives, especially that of nurses. In healthcare, doctors and nurses tackle unprecedented issues and emergencies almost daily. 

Nurses face many challenges and pressures at work, leading to recurring pressure, fatigue, and depression. The stressful nature of the job, high workloads, and long working hours make nurses susceptible to such mental health issues. 

Nowadays, chronic stress in healthcare settings has become a growing issue. And this calls for effective stress management. 

Importance Of Stress Management

Nurse burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged exposure to stressful situations. It can lead to poor work performance, absenteeism, and job turnover.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, over 80% of registered nurses have experienced some form of emotional exhaustion at some point in their careers. Stress management is, therefore, important because it helps identify stressors, devise coping tactics, and limit oncoming stressors.

Nurses can also coordinate with supervisors to reduce workload and limit workplace stress. Likewise, nurses pursuing academic endeavors can turn to online learning instead of physically attending classes. For instance, enrolling in an online BSN program will prove worthwhile since it enables nurse students to tackle work and study commitments simultaneously. 

Online BSN programs are convenient, flexible, and cost-effective. They allow nurses to manage work and other obligations efficiently.

To combat workplace stress, here are some strategies for nurses:

  1. Identify and Track Your Stressors 

According to a study by the American Psychological Association, one of the most important ways to manage stress is through awareness:

  • Knowing how and why you feel stressed
  • What triggers stressful feelings in you

As a nurse, it is important to be aware of your stresses, so they do not impact your work performance. Suppose there are certain situations where you tend to get anxious or overwhelmed. In that case, try identifying and addressing them head-on by taking time off work to relax and recharge. To track your stresses:

  • Think about what is going on in your life that is causing extra strain on you emotionally or physically
  • Write down any potential triggers so that when they occur again later, it will be easier to recognize them at once
  1. Set Boundaries

Establishing personal and professional boundaries is critical to managing stress in the workplace. By setting up clear lines, you can more easily determine what behavior is acceptable and what’s not. Nurses must set boundaries with their family, friends, colleagues, and patients. 

You can also set healthy boundaries with yourself. When you feel overwhelmed or stressed with something, ask yourself if this needs to be addressed at once or if it is time for a break from work.

  1. Get Quality Sleep

A good night’s sleep can reduce stress, boost cognition and learning ability, regulate hormones, improve immune function, and even help prevent depression or anxiety.

Sleep regulates how you feel physically during the day. By helping your body regulate its hormones at night, including cortisol, good quality sleep helps ensure that you don’t get irritable or overwhelmed during the day.

Good quality sleep improves moods by reducing stress levels. Rest increases attentiveness while decreasing fatigue—making it easier to focus on tasks and other work responsibilities.

  1. Have a Healthy Social Support System

Social support is a key factor in ensuring your health and well-being. Having friends, family, and colleagues you can turn to when things get stressful or difficult will help you feel less stressed.

Having a healthy social support system is important because it makes it easier for you to cope with life’s challenges. You will be able to bounce ideas off other people and share your achievements and concerns with them, thus keeping a positive outlook on life.

  1. Practice Mindfulness and Self-care 

Mindfulness is a technique that helps you focus your attention on the present moment. It can help you reduce stress and anxiety and manage pain and emotions.

Nurses should practice mindfulness at work since it reduces workplace stressors, which may cause burnout or depression if left untreated.

Mindfulness meditation involves being fully grounded in the moment while being aware of negative thoughts or emotions that may arise in your mind. 

  1. Deep Breathing Techniques 

Deep breathing techniques are the best way to lower stress and anxiety. The most common type of deep breathing exercise is called diaphragmatic breathing. It requires focusing on your diaphragm—the wall between your chest and abdomen. To do this, inhale through your nose for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through pursed lips. Repeat this cycle for at least five minutes daily as part of your routine. This exercise helps you relax and calm down by regulating your emotions and the nervous system. 

You can also try progressive muscle relaxation – this exercise uses breath awareness to help relax tense muscles throughout your body. 

  1. Manage Communication Burden

As a nurse, you handle a lot of things. You are on call 24/7, and not every day is the same. It’s easy to get engrossed in the demands of your job and lose track of time or focus on other tasks that do not matter as much. This recurring cycle can lead to stress at work because there is not enough time left over for what matters most: caring for patients.

To combat this issue, timely and effective communication is crucial. By coordinating with staff members, you can divide tasks and delegate responsibilities – ultimately ensuring optimal patient care.

Here are some tips on how nurses can manage their workloads:

  • Communicate concisely and promptly
  • Be aware of your work priorities and those of your colleagues
  • Ask for help when you need it
  • Make sure you understand the message before responding to avoid medical errors


Nursing is undeniably a demanding and high-stress job. On any given day, nurses must tackle various work responsibilities, ensure efficient patient care, and deliver quality healthcare services. Stress is an inevitable part of the nursing profession, and those entering this field are well aware of it. As a professional nurse, managing stress should also be your priority, or it could affect your work performance. So, utilize the strategies mentioned above and limit workplace stress. 


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Written by Virily Editor

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