Stressors and effectiveness of coping strategies in nursing: A cross lag analysis
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Nursing has been acknowledged as one of the most stressful occupations in Australia. There is a continuing level of reform and organisational change within the sector, which has added more challenges for nurses employed in health care organisations. However, there have not been many studies to examine if administrative stressors, that is, the stressors caused by the increase in the extent of administrative and clerical responsibilities in nursing, would lead to more nursing stress and job outcomes. We distributed an online survey to 306 Australian nurses to identify their experience with administrative stressors in June 2008. A second survey was sent out six months later to the same respondents to solicit their experience with nursing stress, coping strategies, job satisfaction, psychological wellbeing and intention to quit. Matched data were collected from 119 nurses and these were used to test the path model developed for this study. The analysis showed that Time 1 stressors caused by administrative and clerical duties led to an increase in nursing stress in Time 2. Nurses who experienced more nursing stress were not effective in using coping strategies to deal with the increased level of administrative and nursing stress. As a result, they reported a lower level of job satisfaction in Time 2. Conversely, nurses who were effective in using coping strategies were found to have a higher level of job satisfaction. Those reporting a lower level of job satisfaction reported a higher level of psychological strain, which ultimately led to a higher level of intention to quit. Our findings have theoretical and practical implications, which were discussed in relation to job design in Australian health care organisations.
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