Perceived Stress and Coping Strategies of Hong Kong Pre-Registration Nursing Degree Students During Their Clinical Placement
Chiang, Vico C. L.
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Purpose: Appropriate levels of stress can be a motivator for learning. A few studies in Hong Kong and Taiwan demonstrated that various levels of stress were experienced by pre-registration nursing students during their clinical placements. There is a paucity of studies that compare the stress levels of junior and senior nursing students and the existing studies conducted in the Asian context carry a high risk of recall bias. The purpose of this study is to survey and compare two samples of under-graduate students during the periods of their clinical placements for their levels of stress, symptoms and coping strategies. Better understanding of these issues provides implications to enhance clinical teaching and learning of the nursing students. Methods: A cross-sectional survey with the Perceived Stress Scale (PPS), Physio-Psycho-Social Response Scale (PPSRS) and Coping Behaviour Inventory (CBI) were conducted with a total of 200 under-graduate students in Hong Kong (Year 1 = 131, Year 3 = 69). Comparisons of the stress levels, symptoms and coping strategies between these two groups of students were performed. Results: The overall perceived stress of more senior students on clinical placements were significant higher than those of less experienced students in Year 1 (p = < 0.001) and the stress of Hong Kong students were higher than those in Taiwan and elsewhere. The most frequently used coping strategy that was perceived as most effective by students was transference. Similar to the findings for symptoms, there was no significant difference between coping strategies used by the junior and senior nursing students. Conclusion: The outcomes of using transference as the most frequently employed coping strategy and higher level of stress in more senior students on clinical placements are not fully known. More studies are needed and nurse educators may target more the needs of senior nursing students on clinical placements.