Indexed on: 29 May '00Published on: 29 May '00Published in: Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care
Nurses working in AIDS care experience high rates of occupational stress and therefore are vulnerable to emotional exhaustion and occupational burnout. This study surveyed 499 members of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care regarding their work-related stress experiences and coping strategies for managing stress. Qualitative analyses identified a hierarchical structure of occupational stress, with two supraclusters representing workplace and patient care-related stress and eight specific subclusters of stressors: institutions, personnel, biohazards, death, informing patients, challenging patients, families, and treatment dilemmas. Analyses showed that nurses experiencing stress from their workplace were significantly more likely to use wishful thinking, planful problem solving, and avoidance as coping strategies, whereas stress originating from patient care was more likely to be dealt with using positive appraisal and acceptance. Interventions designed to assist nurses in managing occupational stress and to prevent occupational burnout must include the sources of work-related stress among nurses in AIDS care.