Web program helps relieve nurse stress, researchers say

An online support program helped nurses manage workplace challenges and reduce stress in a randomized study.

Participants using BREATHE: Stress Management for Nurses experienced significantly greater reductions than a control group on the full Nursing Stress Scale, and six of seven subscales. Results were published in November’s issue of Applied Nursing Research.

Those with more nursing experience derived more benefit, according to Rebekah K. Hersch, Ph.D., owner of ISA Associates, a behavioral science research group that  developed BREATHE. The program is designed to give nurses the skills needed to deal with occupational stressors.

“[S]chedules and workloads of nurses can pose problems for implementing in-person interventions,” the authors wrote. “Web-based interventions might be ideally suited to addressing the high levels of stress among nurses.”

BREATHE tackles issues such as death and dying, staff conflict and heavy workload. In the study, 104 nurses at six hospitals in Virginia and New York participated as desired over a three-month period, with an average of 2.5 log-ins.

In pretests and posttests, they described coping mechanisms across modules for perceived stress, symptoms of distress, work limitations, job satisfaction, use of substances to relieve stress, and understanding depression and anxiety.