Stress and ways of coping among nurse managers: An integrative review

Leodoro J. Labrague*, Denise M. McEnroe-Petitte, Michael C. Leocadio, Peter Van Bogaert, Greta G. Cummings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

113 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: To appraise and synthesise empirical studies examining sources of occupational stress and ways of coping utilised by nurse managers when dealing with stress. Background: The Nurse Manager's role is challenging yet draining and stressful and has adverse consequences on an individual's overall health and well-being, patients’ outcomes and organisational productivity. Considerable research has been carried out; however, an updated and broader perspective on this critical organisational issue has not been performed. Design: An integrative review. Methods: Five databases (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, SCOPUS, PubMed, PsychINFO and MEDLINE) were searched to identify relevant articles. Search terms and MeSH terms included: “charge nurse,” “coping,” “coping strategy,” “coping style,” “psychological adaptation,” “psychological stress,” “stressors,” “nurse manager” and “unit manager.” Twenty-two articles were included in this review. Reporting followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement guidelines. Results: Four themes were identified: moderate stress levels, common sources of stress, ways of coping and the impact of nurses’ characteristics on stress. Conclusions: Nurse managers experienced moderate levels of stress mainly from heavy workloads, lack of resources and financial responsibilities. Enhancing social support and promoting job control were seen as important in reducing work stress and its related consequences. Additional studies using a more rigorous method and a larger sample size preferably in multicultural settings would shed more light on this topic. Relevance to clinical practice: Hospital and nurse administrators play an important role in promoting supportive structures for daily professional practice for nurse managers through staffing, organisational resources, support services, leadership and stress management training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1346-1359
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • charge nurse
  • coping
  • coping strategy
  • coping style
  • nurse manager
  • psychological adaptation
  • psychological stress
  • stressors
  • unit manager

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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