Ask the expert: Helping new RNs overcome stress

Nurse Leader Insider, December 7, 2009

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This week, Patricia A. Duclos-Miller, MS, RN, CNA, BC, discusses stress and the importance of helping new RNs identify and cope with their stress as they make the transition between students and RNs. 

Q: Transitioning from a nursing student to an RN can be stressful. How can I help new RNs identify, cope, and overcome stress?

A: Stress is the number one health problem in America, and job stress is the major culprit. Nursing can be a stressful profession, especially depending on where you work and how you handle stress in your daily life. It is important to remind new RNs to focus on what they can control and how there are many things they can do to improve their environment. When new RNs learn how to manage stress, it allows them to experience life from a more positive perspective.

By identifying where the stress originates from, new RNs will be able to better control the pressures surrounding them. The four most common types of stress are:

Personal: Comes from your personal life and includes your own perception of yourself and relationships.

Physiological: Results from various kinds of stress and how your body responds to the stress.

Social: Related to your perceived appearance in the world.

Environment: Largely unavoidable stress caused by the nature of the world around us.

To read other tips to help new RNs overcome stress, click here.

Editor’s note: Do you have a question for our experts? E-mail your queries to Editorial Assistant Sarah Kearns at and see your name in print next week! In the meantime, head over to our Web site and view a growing collection of advice from our experts.

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