Stressors and Counselling Needs of Undergraduate Nursing Students in Osogbo, Nigeria

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJNR.2015.03.02.Art005

Authors : Lilly-West R. Buloala


Background: Education is important in the development of any profession. It is the process of transferring knowledge from a generation of professionals to another. Stress can be beneficial in the education of a student, motivating them to reach their full potential. However, nursing education has its peculiar attendant stress that can be harmful when excessive. Majority of nursing students around the world have reported a level of stress in their academic pursuit. Objective: The study was carried out to determine the stress level of students in the various levels of the nursing education, to examine the pattern of stress amidst the students according to their sociodemographic, and to determine the relationship between the various coping mechanisms adopted and the overall stress score through a questionnaire- based study in a government school of nursing in Osun state, Nigeria. Method: A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out at the Osun state school of nursing, Asubiaro, Osogbo, Osun state. A sample of 120 students was drawn from all the classes of the school using a multistage sampling method of proportional allocation. To achieve the objective of the study, a questionnaire was designed that contained three sections; A. Sociodemographic data, B. The perceived stress scale (PSS) and C. The brief coping orientation for problem experiences (COPE). Data were entered and analysed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 20.0. Results: The mean age of the respondents was 22.11±4.14 years with the median and range being 21.00 and 30.00 years respectively. About 78% of the respondents are females and 70% are Christians. Using the PSS, 48.3% of the respondents sometimes become upset because of something that happened unexpectedly, 17.5% becomes upset fairly often, 12.5% almost never becomes upset among the others. Equal number of respondents (5.8%) never or almost never felt nervous or stressed in the last month, others sometimes (44.2%), fairly often (19.2%) and very often (25.0%) feel nervous or stressed. Other responses about the PSS are presented in table 2. There is a significant difference between the stress score of the respondents in between the sexes (16.70 vs 19.17; p=0.045). Also, the proportion of the females that are stressed is significantly more than the proportion of the males (66.7% vs 87.1%; p=0.018). The odds of respondents who practice behavioural disengagement to be highly stressed is 0.262 (95% CI, 0.117 – 1.483) times that of respondents who practice other coping mechanisms. Conclusion: The level of stress in the population studied is relatively low when compared with the results from other studies both locally and internationally. The various stressors identified are basically as a result of lack of control over academic events, nervousness, inability to handle personal problems, irritations, and anger. The nursing education authority should look into these stressors with the view to find ways of mitigating them, thereby providing an optimum learning environment for the students. Some of the students already practice both active and avoidant coping techniques.

Keywords: stressors, counselling, perceived stress scale (PSS), coping orientation for problem experiences (COPE).


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