The incidence of nursing students’ perceived stress and burnout levels at a private university in California

Reo J. F. Jones, Margaret M. Hansen, Mahmoud Kaddoura, Aimee Schwab-McCoy, Kirsten Tocchini


Background and objective: Historically, there has been a paucity of research regarding stress and burnout in nursing students. However, during the past five years research focusing on the predictors associated with stress and burnout has been conducted. Continued research contributions to the nursing education literature are necessary due to the current 70% nursing burnout rate. The aim of this study was to explore undergraduate and graduate nursing students’ perceived stress and burnout in order to design a future intervention study.

Methods: Pollock’s Nursing Adaptation Model served as a conceptual framework. Correlational descriptive non-interventional survey design was used to gather data from consented participants (N = 217). The Perceived Stress Scale and Maslach’s Burnout Inventory were provided. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, one-way analysis of variance, and multiple comparison t-tests (Tukey’s adjustment).

Results: Students who spent more time per week on homework and studying for exams tended to be more stressed and cynical. Students enrolled in graduate level courses tended to be more cynical and exhausted. Undergraduate students demonstrated a stronger sense of professional efficacy. Students who spent less than five hours studying for exams per week reported more exhaustion, suggesting external factors may be influential. Certain recreational activities were found to be related to stress, cynicism and exhaustion levels, suggesting students with a recreational outlet may be better able to cope. Significant associations between students’ hours spent on academic work and family circumstances may provide an explanation of academic pressures.

Conclusions: Our findings highlight nursing students having significantly higher stress and cynicism levels associated with the amount of homework and study hours for exams per week. Furthermore, students studying less reported being more exhausted. Collaboratively, nurse educators and students are wise to develop healthy interventions to enhance students’ health and learning. Reportedly, healthcare providers are experiencing burnout and unhealthy stress-coping behaviors. Educators are in a position to role model and educate healthy lifestyle choices.

Full Text:



Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

Copyright © Sciedu Press 
To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.