‘Occupational stress and its impact on nurses’ ability to care for patients with chronic illness: a review of the literature’


Alexia Kelly, Nimmi Abraham, Bini Jolly John, Norma Ferris


Department of rheumatology. St. Vincent's University Hospital


Our ability to provide optimal care for our patients may be impacted by our stress levels. It is important that where it exists, we can recognise, acknowledge and address this impact. Addressing the impact of occupational stress on nursing care may improve not only patient outcome, but also, job satisfaction for nurses.


To examine the impact that occupational stress may have on our ability to care for patients with a chronic illness. By reviewing and reflecting on the literature and identifying occupational stress as a factor in sub-optimal nursing care, the author hopes to highlight the need for acknowledgment of the impact of occupational stress, thereby encouraging discussion on management and coping strategies and ultimately improving patient outcome and job satisfaction.


A literature review was conducted to explore the thesis that occupational stress may impact negatively on nursing care in chronic illness.


The review identified occupational stress as a negative influence on nurse’s ability to care for patients with chronic illness.


The recognition of occupational stress is crucial in promoting job satisfaction, avoiding burnout and ensuring positive impactful nursing care for patients with chronic illness. Support structures for nurses suffering occupational stress should be identified and where none exist in the workplace, efforts should be made to establish such support.