Nurses who talk about stress may feel better, report finds

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It's no secret that nurses — including those who work in long-term care — suffer from a range of occupational stresses and fatigue.

A new study of nurses has found, however, that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) could be effective for those suffering from burnout and fatigue.

Several previous efforts looked at cognitive behavior therapy on other occupation-related stress, but the report from investigators at Israel's Ben-Gurion University is the first to evaluate it for nurses.

Ben-Gurion investigators, led by Sarid Orly, Ph.D., enrolled 20 nurses based on their age, specialty and education and placed them in a 16-week, 64-hour course. They then measured the nurses' occupational stress and judged their overall well-being — specifically their sense of coherence (SOC) and perceived stress (PSS).

Cognitive behavior therapy is a form of psychotherapy — or talk therapy — in which a therapist helps the patient identify negative thoughts and respond to them in a more effective way.

When the trial period was over, the nurses who underwent CBT had “higher SOC, more vigor, less PSS and less fatigue upon completion of the study,” than a control group of nurses.

The nurses who completed the CBT also experienced significantly improved perceived stress and less fatigue, according to the research.

Results were published in the August issue of Applied Nursing Research.