Running head: STRESS REDUCTION
Reducing Stress to Avoid Nursing Burnout
Ashley A. Dean
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Stress is our body’s reaction to a stimulus that triggers our primal “fight or flight” response. This
response causes a hormonal dump of adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream that enables
our bodies to react quickly to perceived danger. These hormones cause us to become more aware
of our surroundings and able to make quick decisions and movements. This “acute-stress”
reaction is a good thing but continued or chronic stress over long periods of time can cause
detrimental effects to your body as the body never ...view middle of the document...
As a former paramedic/fire fighter I thought I was well equipped for the rigors and
stress of an ICU, but over the years they are beginning to take a toll on me. I have noticed that I
am not enjoying working or life as much. I took the Burnout Self-Test on Mind Tools website
and was dismayed to discover that I am at a severe risk of burnout (Appendix A). As I approach
my 50th birthday, the findings of a Danish 15-year study of 12,000 female nurses found that
nurses who reported their work environment had excessively high pressures had double the risk
for ischemic heart disease and was significant was among the younger nurses (Allesoe, Hundrup,
Thomsen, & Osler, 2010) was alarming to me. The increased levels of stress and burnout among
nurses significantly affect the efficiency and productivity of nurses leading to low quality care, lowered
job satisfaction, increased nurses’ turnover rates, and increased health care costs on the part of patients.
My goal is to reduce my stress level to avoid job burnout, so that I may continue being an
effective, productive nurse and contented person. To achieve that goal I used the Plan-Do-Check-Act
(PDCA) cycle to develop a plan of action, implement the plan for improvement, collect data to
evaluate the plan, and determine the plan’s effectiveness or need for modification (Neuhauser,
Myhre, & Alemi, 2004).
In preparation to create my stress reduction plan, I researched stress reduction techniques
and strategies on the internet. Through my searches I found several pertinent articles. Using these
as a guide, I selected 3 techniques to focus on in my stress reduction plan: exercise, journaling
and being more assertive in the workplace. My plan is to actively exercise for 45 minutes 3 times
a week; keep a journal where every day before going to sleep I will write down my feelings
about the previous day, my successes at being more assertive at work and how my exercise plan
is working; and to start being more assertive at work by delegating tasks and declining additional
tasks or responsibilities.
I began my stress reduction plan on Thursday January 16, 2014 and ended data collection
on Friday February 22, 2014. I collected and recorded daily data on the 3 stress reduction
techniques that I selected. I created a spreadsheet for each technique to collect the daily data.
Below reflects the data collected.
o Exercised 2 days for a total of 80 minutes;
o Wrote in my journal 3 out of 3 days;
o Delegated tasks to Clinical Assistant every shift.
o Exercised 3 days for a total of 130 minutes;
o Wrote in my journal 6 out of 7 days;
o Delegated tasks to Clinical Assistant every shift and declined to work
o Exercised 2 days for a total of 110 minutes;
o Wrote in journal all 7 days;
o Did not delegate any tasks because I was in training and not working on