Stress and Time Management in Nursing

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Stress and Time Management in Nursing

The nursing profession demands a lot from the individuals practicing the profession. This requirement span right from the time when one joins a nursing school to when that very person retires from practicing nursing. Fortunately or unfortunately, nursing is like parenting. It is a profession practiced throughout a person’s lifetime. Since nursing is an extremely demanding profession, nurses and nursing students find themselves in the confusion of time management. Their desire to balance issues of their own life and those of their profession expose them to the realities of stress. Due to this reality, this paper reviews ways a nurse can use to manage, effectively, stress and time at the workplace.


Caring is the fundamental ingredient in the nursing profession. Pamela Katz Ressler points out that caring for the sick is the main drive that causes many nurses to join the nursing profession. To give out that care which is needed by ailing people demands more than just a profession and it is for this cause that nurses have to go an extra mile. Ressler notes that this aspect exerts pressure on nurses and often causes stress when it is not well planned. Lack of planning means that one will not have the time for himself and when one does not have time for himself it means that something is wrong somewhere (Ressler, 2007). This causes what Ressler calls external stresses.


One of the ways which Ressler advocates for is that no matter how caring nurses would want to be, they must allocate time for themselves. Giving time for yourself means that you will have the time and the capability to respond positively to any kind of pressure, but when you do not have time, even trivial things will be causing immense stress on you. By allocating some personal time on the to-do list, you get enough time to review what you have achieved so far and have a moment of relaxing and refreshing your mind and body (Ressler, 2007). Since time is scarce, Ressler believes that self-mindfulness can be practiced anywhere by doing simple things like breathing deep or doing some little exercises. Concentrating on the progress and avoiding the bad past are also recommendable ways to overcome stress and manage time better in the nursing field (Ressler, 2007).


Kim Catanzarite echoes Pamela Katz Ressler’s opinion on stress and time management for all nursing professionals. Kim outlines nine ways through which a nurse can use to ease stress. The methods are simple and are not only applicable in the nursing profession, but also anywhere else where this phenomenon manifests (Catanzarite, 2010). Understanding yourself, taking a deep breath and simple outdoor activities like a walk or exercises are some of the ways Kim outlines. What a nurse eats and the relationship nurses have between different stakeholders also count in handling stress. One way to relate well and avoid stress is to know the people around you (Catanzarite, 2010). On time management, Kim notes the importance of delegating and totally avoiding procrastination.


In the year 2012, Tayebeth Mirzaei and Fatemeh Oskounie did a research on how nursing students in Iran manage their time, and hence stress in their academic life and later their profession life. In their research, these two scholars used ground theory method. In this research, where twenty one students participated, it was discovered that most students, who were able to overcome stress in their nursing studies, were those who allocated sufficient time on their studies (Mirzaei & Oskounie, 2012). Naturally, all scientific studies are demanding and for a person to grasp the fine details of the subject he needs to invest enough time on that subject. Failure to adhere to this guideline leads to frustrations that later grows to immense stress. The temptations for nursing students to overlook the need to allocate enough time on their studies are high because the course is hard already. However, using unidirectional time management, it is possible to strike a balance between all the issues that surround the life of a nursing student (Mirzaei & Oskounie, 2012). An important element to note here is that nursing academic life is often a reflection of how the student will handle the real nursing profession. Therefore, it is very important that the student learns how to prioritize important things so as everything falls in its appropriate time. When this phenomenon is induced in the students, they will have no problem managing their time and stress during their professional practice. In addition, T. Mirzaei and F. Oskounie note that stress and time management heavily depends on personal motivation. The motivation provokes nurses and nursing students to plan on what to give up and on what to pursue thus gaining internal peace (Mirzaei & Oskounie, 2012).

In conclusion, the motivation to care for the afflicted cause nurses to stretch beyond their limits. The work becomes much and time to sleep or have enough rest becomes rare. Their schedules get complex. This result to real stress and to manage time seems out of control. Nevertheless, this can be overcome by proper planning and giving time for oneself. Nurses need to learn that to improve on the care they offer, they need to care for themselves first. You only give what you have.




Catanzarite, K. (2010). Stress-Management Strategies for Nurses. Advance HealtCare Network    for Nurses. Retrieved August 12, 2014, from            Articles/Features/Stress-Management-Strategies-for-Nurses.aspx

Mirzaei, T., & Oskounie, F. (2012). Nursing students’ time management, reducing stress and        gaining satisfaction: a grounded theory study. Wiley Online Library . Retrieved August      12, 2014, from

Ressler, P. K. (2007). Stress Management for Nurses. Stress Management. Retrieved August 12, 2014, from