New CLEAR Publication

Role stressors and coping strategies among nurse managers

09 January 2017

Role Stressors and Coping Strategies Among Nurse Managers

Sonia Udod, Greta G. Cummings, W. Dean Care, Megan Jenkins

Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 30 Iss: 1, pp 29-43.

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The purpose of this paper is to share preliminary evidence about nurse managers' (NMs) role stressors and coping strategies in acute health care facilities in Western Canada.


A qualitative exploratory inquiry provides deeper insight into NMs' perceptions of their role stressors, coping strategies, and factors and practices in the organizational context that facilitate and hinder their work. A purposeful sample of 17 NMs participated in this study. Data were collected through individual interviews and focus group interviews. Braun and Clarke's (2006) six phase approach to thematic analysis guided data analysis.


Evidence demonstrates that individual factors, organizational practices, and structures affect NMs stress creating an evolving role with unrealistic expectations, responding to continuous organizational change, a fragmented ability to effectively process decisions due to work overload, shifting organizational priorities, and being at risk for stress-related ill health.

Practical implications

These findings have implications for organizational support, intervention programs that enhance leadership approaches, address individual factors, and work processes, and redesigning the role in consideration of the role stress and work complexity affecting NMs health.


It is anticipated that healthcare leaders would find these results concerning and inspire them to take action to support NMs to do meaningful work as a way to retain existing managers and attract front line nurses to positions of leadership