A longitudinal study of stress and self-esteem in student nurses

Nurse Educ Today. 2010 Jan;30(1):78-84. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2009.06.008.


Introduction: It is well recognised that nurse education/training can be a stressful experience and that self-esteem is an important predictor of stress. BACKGROUND/LITERATURE: While there are a significant number of studies showing levels and contributors to stress among students. There is little evidence of how these levels change over time. The aim of the study was to investigate nursing students' experiences of stress and levels of self-esteem during three years of their undergraduate nursing programme.

Methods: Participants completed the stress in nurse education questionnaire and the culture free self-esteem inventory at various time points in the study, and a demographic questionnaire at baseline. The students who took part in the study commenced their nurse training in September 2002.

Data/results: This study has demonstrated that levels of self reported stress and "general" self-esteem are significantly different at different stages the nurse training process. Self reported stress were at the highest at the beginning of the third year and these were significantly higher when compared to stress reported at any other time point. Self-esteem levels were lowest at the end of training.

Conclusions: Trying to obtain data only at single time point during nurse education/training is inadequate as this research has shown that there is indeed variation in student psychological well being across the academic year.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Burnout, Professional / diagnosis
  • Burnout, Professional / prevention & control
  • Burnout, Professional / psychology*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Nursing, Baccalaureate* / organization & administration
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Personality Inventory
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Concept*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Wales