School of Nursing
Nursing, Mental Health
Critical Care Nursing
Bryant, Cynthia R., "From the Top Down: Assisting Critical Care Nurses in Coping with Job Stresses" (2017). Senior Honors Theses. 663.
Critical Care nurses are faced with traumatic scenarios on a daily basis at work and are expected to remain professional in the face of chaos. In the midst of caring for their patients and catering to each family’s emotional needs, their own mental health tends to get pushed aside. Nurses are expected to remain supportive to sick patients and their families while enduring psychologically disturbing images and sounds, witnessing phases of the dying process, and hearing end-of-life care decisions being made. Because these nurses are only human, their energy reserves are rapidly depleted and they are left emotionally exhausted. Nurses must be shown effective ways to cope with the many stresses on their units or they will experience burnout quickly, as many studies have already shown. The public is largely uneducated on this particular topic because the main focus in an intensive care unit is the patient and the patient’s family, as it should be. However, if the nurse is neglected and suffers, the patient care will also likely suffer.