Coping and health in novice and experienced nursing students during clinical practice: a descriptive, differential and correlational analysis

C. Jimenez-Jimenez, J. Luis Sanchez-Laguna, I. M. Jimenez-Linde


Aim: This study identifies the differences in novice and experienced nursing students’ reports of coping and their relationship with health.

Background: Clinical practice constitutes a particularly stressful training period in an academic context that activates many coping resources in students. However, there is little empirical evidence about the coping strategies used by novice and experienced nursing students during clinical practice. Both ineffective and adaptive efforts are manifested in health (physio-psycho-social symptoms).

Methods: Cross-sectional research was performed using descriptive, differential and correlational procedures. This study was carried out with 357 students from all 3 years of a nursing diploma programme at a Spanish nursing college. Data were collected in 2008-2009.

Findings: The results indicated that problem-focused coping (PFC) was used significantly more by students than emotion-focused coping (EFC). Both first and third-year students used PFC more frequently than second-year students. In contrast, second-year students used “avoidance” strategies more frequently than first-year students. The results also showed that emotion-focused coping significantly harmed student’s health during their clinical practice, while problem-focused coping tended to be associated with fewer health problems, but not significantly. These results were the same for all students irrespective of the course or experience.

Conclusion: This study provides tools for the development of prevention programmes in nursing schools based on the identification of healthy coping strategies. The paper proposes certain actions to support the development of psycho-
educational stress coping programmes for clinical practice.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

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

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