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Coping With Stress in Nursing Amid COVID-19: 9 Ideas That May Help

Many factors can contribute to stress for nurses, and the coronavirus pandemic brings additional pressures. Here are some ways nurses can reduce the impact of stress on their own health.

Nurses, doctors, and others in healthcare-related careers are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. The role of a nurse is to provide care and comfort to patients. But coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has brought unprecedented challenges and an extraordinary degree of stress for nursing professionals, especially for nurses who work in coronavirus hotspots.

Even before COVID-19, the job of a nurse could be stressful. Some of the primary contributors to occupational stress for nurses include:1

  • The rigors of providing patient care
  • Intensive physical labor
  • Witnessing human suffering
  • Making difficult decisions
  • Addressing staffing issues
  • Long work hours
  • A constantly changing environment
  • Navigating interpersonal relationships
  • Lack of resources, including but not limited to personal protective equipment (PPE)

In nursing school, students learn strategies to cope with the daily stresses of the job. The following are common approaches that might be helpful for nurses who are at the center of the coronavirus disease outbreak: 2

  1. Take advantage of nursing mentors or buddy programs to engage in joint problem-solving.
  2. Maintain a regular exercise program and good nutrition.
  3. Participate in outside hobbies for recreation while maintaining social distancing.
  4. Attend an online stress-reduction class to learn easy-to-implement techniques. These are available as online courses, webinars, or even YouTube videos.
  5. Boost morale through nursing recognition and reward programs, whether you’re the one to receive or provide positive feedback.
  6. Engage in spiritual or faith-based practices, which can help maintain focus and equilibrium.
  7. Connect virtually with friends, family, and peers. Support from loved ones and shared experiences with nursing peers can reduce stress while building community.
  8. Strive to engage as a leader—regardless of actual rank—in order to foster stronger team communications.
  9. Take advantage of resources, such as employee assistance programs, designed to prevent nursing burnout.

Nurse and motivational speaker Donna Cardillo says, “Nursing is not for everyone. It takes a very strong, intelligent, and compassionate person to take on the ills of the world with passion and purpose and work to maintain the health and well-being of the planet.”3 In the time of COVID-19, these words ring true now more than ever. It’s a great reminder of the importance of taking care of nurses, so that they, in turn, will be at their best to care for those fighting the coronavirus.

Advancing your education is always a good idea. And now you have another reason to think about your future as a nurse. If you desire the skills and expertise to make a greater difference to your patients and your community, the School of Nursing at Walden University offers several CCNE-accredited programs to help you prepare to play a vital role in healthcare and in the lives of others.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering nursing degree programs online, including the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Expand your nursing knowledge and earn your degree in a convenient online format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,

Walden University’s DNP, MSN, and BSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530, Washington, D.C. 20036, 1-202-887-6791. CCNE is a national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate and graduate education programs in preparing effective nurses. For students, accreditation signifies program innovation and continuous self-assessment.