Mental health nursing students' experience of stress: burdened by a heavy load
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This paper reports research outcomes of a study into personal stress experienced by mental health student nurses undertaking a diploma programme in Ireland. It uses a phenomenological research approach. The sample was purposive and involved in-depth interviews with six students. The purpose of the study was to contribute to the knowledge of the impact of personal life stressors. Findings from this study focus on the following themes; event, meaning, effects, ability to move beyond the stress, influence on life and constraints and demands. Key points arising are that the stress experience does impact students’ internal and external world, potentially lessening functioning and inhibiting growth and development. This paper presents student narratives which offer insights into their inner world, providing true accounts of the essence of stress for them. This knowledge has implications for lecturers, personal tutors, nurse educationalists and nursing curricula, highlighting need for more pro-active approaches to the provision of guidance on professional support for students and staff. Insights derived from this study are not only relevant to mental health nurse education but to academic staff delivering professional education programmes to healthcare practitioners in a variety of settings.
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