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  1. Wakim, Nada PhD, RN, NE-BC


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare the occupational stressors, the perceived stress levels, and coping styles of 3 generations of medical-surgical (MS) nurses.


BACKGROUND: The literature supports that the nurse's role is stressful based on a variety of factors including physical labor, human suffering, work hours, staffing, and interpersonal relationships. Data indicate that there are generational differences in the response to stress. The 3 predominant nursing generations coexisting in the nursing workforce add to the complexity of the recognition and coping skills to address stress.


METHODS: A correlational design was used. A convenience sample of MS nurses participated in this study by completing 4 questionnaires.


RESULTS: Occupational stressors were found to be significant predictors for perceived stress among all generations of nurses in this sample. Also, the higher the level of stress perception among nurses, the higher the use of coping behaviors. Generation Y reported a higher level of perceived stress and higher use of escape avoidance coping behaviors, while baby boomers reported higher use of self-controlling coping behaviors.


CONCLUSIONS: By identifying the needs of each of the generational cohorts, nurse leaders, nurse educators, and policy makers can better assist the nursing workforce to remain at the bedside, improve patient outcomes, and maintain a positive work environment.