Effectiveness of Self-Care Intervention to Reduce Staff Nurse Stress

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science



Department or Program Chair

Barbara Ganley, PhD

Thesis Advisor

Luanne Linnard-Palmer, EdD, RN


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness and benefits of providing an at-work, nurse manager supported, brief stress reduction program for staff nurses, in addition to determining the feasibility of the intervention in a fast paced telemetry unit. This innovative program aims to introduce nurses to four self-care stress reduction techniques, as follows: body scan, diaphragmatic breathing, imagery, and Freeze-Frame.

Background/Significance: Nurses can be overburdened in the current hospital environment which is busy and chaotic with multiple technical tasks to perform. The lack of time to bring caring to the bedside can lead to job dissatisfaction. The literature has consistently documented the acute care setting as a stressful environment which can lead to staff nurse burnout and retention issues. Few solutions are offered in the literature and staff nurses allow little time for self-care stress reduction at work.

Findings: Activities were beneficial to all participants but not feasible during work time for some on this extremely busy unit. This program may be more applicable with night shift personnel. Diaphragmatic breathing intervention was used by all participants and found to be helpful. Staff nurses from both shifts have requested a quiet place off the unit for relaxation. The time commitment by the nurse investigator increased dramatically over the course of the study since participants frequently had to reschedule other times later in the day to meet.

Implication for Practice: Improved knowledge of self-care stress reduction techniques provided the nurses with tools to use for self-renewal.

Implications for Future Nursing Research: this study should be replicated with a larger sample, using longer sessions at off duty times, and include to use additional interventions e.g. biofeedback.

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