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Stress Management for Caregivers

Nurse with patient using tablet

Healthcare administrators can reduce stress among the nursing pool by promoting communication and hiring ample staff members. Defining employee roles and responsibilities decreases misunderstandings. When nurses grow overworked, administrators must provide in-house services and tools to help them cope with stress. These tips can help administrators improve employees’ well-being, and decrease labor costs.

Encourage Social Interaction

Talking with peers is the most effective stress mechanism available to health professionals. [1] Coworkers are nearby when needed and relate to common issues. Many nurses feel that peers can relate to work related stress better than family members. It is easier to relate feelings to an individual when they have the same experiences. Work associates fully understand the job environment and share daily job experiences. Coworkers may even notice stress in peers before the individuals themselves notice. Sometimes, coworkers may even provide unsolicited, but welcome, solace.

Hire Enough Staff Members for the Workload

Overworked nursing pools can grow demotivated and stressed, leading to substandard patient care and outcomes. [2] Medical professionals’ daily work experiences shape how they feel about their careers. An overly challenging work environment drains employees emotionally and physically. Outdated operational procedures and poor human resource management can lead to these circumstances. Health administrators can minimize these occurrences by updating operating frameworks and providing necessary staffing.

Define Roles and Responsibilities

Medical professionals must clearly understand their job responsibilities to contribute effectively to a team effort. This is especially important in the caregiving setting, where many services intersect. Caregivers want to help others, but may find themselves competing with peers when their work roles are unclear. In effective caregiving units, each team member makes extraordinary efforts to heal patients, but this service level is not easy to achieve. However, administrators can take the first step towards this status by informing caregivers of their required roles.

Foster Communication

Administrators can reduce stress by fostering open communication in an inherently stressful setting, where poor communication severely decreases performance. [3] Patients feel concerned when they cannot obtain information from their nurses, and as a result inquire more about their care, a process that deteriorates the caregiving experience for nurses and patients. A collaborative work environment decreases tension among all stakeholders. Informed patients cooperate better with caregivers, and clear communication helps nurses complete their work with confidence and direction.

Provide Counseling for Staff Members

Caregivers endure the most work related stress among all occupations due to the prolonged and repetitive duties and emotions involved with patient care. Skill inefficiencies, weak support networks and poor organizational cultures can also contribute to stress. Continued exposure to these circumstances can eventually lead to depression and physical symptoms. Despite the work environment, it is critical that nurses have an outlet when stress grows overwhelming. While colleagues are an effective outlet, for severe stress, it is imperative to provide a professional counseling for staff members.

Encourage Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques include practices such as massage therapy, yoga and meditation. [4] Nurses practice these techniques to elicit the relaxation response – slower breathing, lower blood pressure and an improved feeling of well-being. These techniques can help reduce stress as well as other detrimental conditions and work well for all age groups. Caregiving institutions often hire specialists in these fields to teach classes on premises. While these practices help decrease stress, nurses must report when they feel overwhelmed. Also, it is important that nurses inform their care providers when they practice these techniques.

Promote Healthy Eating

Nurses work long, irregular hours, while regularly exposing themselves to various sicknesses. Additionally, a hectic work schedule can often lead to poor dietary choices. Nurses must frequently ensure that their patients eat healthy. It is important to lead by example in this regard. A healthy diet can reduce stress and improve caregiving abilities. This thinking is sometimes difficult for professionals who always consider others before themselves. However, a healthy diet can improve more than a nurse’s ability to heal; it can improve their overall quality of life.

Provide Stress Awareness and Management Training

Health administrators must educate employees in stress management in an environment that leaves little time for self-awareness. [5] Administrators can offer incentives to employees that participate in training sessions. Additionally, caregiving facilities should implement easily accessible assistance programs for overworked staff members. Stress reduction programs reduce callouts and turnover and improve how workers feel about their careers.

The healthcare profession is among the most stressful careers in the world. In this environment, understanding and teamwork are critically important. Nurses must have clearly defined responsibilities and adequate support. When work becomes overwhelming, these professionals need effective outlets to relieve stress, such as counseling and relaxation techniques. Healthy dietary practices also improve employee well-being and stamina. These essential tools can greatly decrease employee stress and improve performance.

Learn More

Adventist University started building its solid foundation for nursing education in 1908 when it began training nurses so healthcare could be provided for more people. Today they offer cutting edge education and experienced faculty dedicated to helping individuals interested in pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing degree.


1. Harris L. Exploring How Nurses Manage Workplace Stress. Journal of Hospice and Pallitive Nursing. 2013;15(8):446-454.

2. Too few staff, too many patients: a qualitative study of the impact on obstetric care providers and on quality of care in Malawi. Bio Med Central Pregnancy and Childbirth. March 2015;15(65).

3. American Nurses Association. How to Cope with Stress on the Job. American Nurses Association [Web Page.]. June 2014. Available at: Accessed September 13, 2016.

4. National Center for Complementary and Intergrative Health. Relaxation Techniques for Health. National Center for Complementary and Intergrative Health [Web Page]. May 2016. Available at: Accessed September 13, 2016.

5. Ideas for Implementing the Program. AmeriHealth. Accessed September 13, 2016.

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