Kranay Jones' scholarship essay | Pacific Medical Training

Submitted 2021-09-03

Psychological Preparedness for a Stressful and Life-saving Career in Healthcare


Caregiving involves attending to people at different stages of ailments. Some patients have minor challenges that nurses can handle without any psychological issues. However, complex caregiving encompasses clients with significant injuries, mangled or dismembered body parts, or those in their final life stages. As a result, nurses will have to be psychologically prepared to handle the stressors associated with multifaceted caregiving. Specifically, students planning to venture into a nursing profession must receive training on the psychological issues they will encounter in their line of duty and mechanisms of managing these problems effectively.

Psychological Issues Faced by Caregivers

Learners entering the healthcare field will work in an environment that arouses intense emotional and psychological reactions, increasing their chances of undergoing burnout and sleeplessness. Singh et al. contend that caregivers experience psychological stress from emotional and physiological responses to job-associated demands (2). The external work demands instigates the internal changes responsible for burnouts. Moreover, constant sleep deprivation deprives the body of the ability to rejuvenate (Sigh et al. 2). Thus, learners pursuing a medical field should understand that their work environment has many stressors that affect their emotional and mental responses.

Aggression is another issue that apprentices in the caregiving field should expect while interacting and caring for patients. Singh et al. highlight the chance of aggressive behavior from clients, family members, and friends visiting them in hospital (2). For instance, statistics establish that caregivers experience violent aggression between 7% and 50% of the time, provoking a reaction in self-defense (Singh 2). The forms of aggression may force a caregiver to retaliate, affecting the patient and the offending person. However, nurses are expected to adhere to a code of professional conduct that includes refraining from attacking patients even when provoked. Hence, students venturing into the caregiving arena should expect physical and verbal threats and attacks in their work.

Moreover, candidates entering the medical services field should understand the acute shortage of professional service providers and their burden when operating in an understaffed unit. Singh et al. aver that staff shortage causes a buildup of stress among care providers as they strain to keep up with the job’s demand (2). For instance, a facility with staff shortage is characterized by regularly scheduled double shifts. The strenuous work environment causes fatigue among the staff, affecting their judgment and propensity to making errors (Singh et al. 2). Moreover, the repeated mistakes might cause the facility to face disciplinary actions and fines for negligence. In return, the management might initiate stricter operational requirements, straining workers and increasing their chances of leaving the institution or service altogether. Therefore, students entering the medical profession should expect to work multiple shifts concurrently due to staff shortages.

Effects of Stressful Events on Care Delivery

Students entering healthcare services should be wary of engaging in harmful stress-coping mechanisms. Fernandes et al. believe that a stressful work environment can wear down caregivers, exhausting their psychological and physical resources and threatening their wellbeing (436). Caregivers use socialization with family and friends as unique coping mechanisms. However, there are instances where these healthcare service providers explore non-adaptive coping strategies, causing them to engage in drug abuse and alcoholism as a distraction from disagreeable sensations (Fernandes et al. 436). Thus, students entering the nursing profession should recognize constructive and destructive coping mechanisms for their stress while at work to improve their judgment.

Moreover, prospective nursing candidates should understand the impact of excessive workload and stressors on their physical and emotional status. Horiuchi et al. contend that sleep deprivation caused by excessive work builds up anxiety levels, causing a person to feel irritable and unable to discharge duties effectively (9). The ripple effect is that the care provider might vent these stresses on patients, reducing the quality of services afforded clients. At other times, the care provider may engage in verbal altercations with colleagues, causing unnecessary strife that affects service delivery. Hence, a student entering the healthcare delivery program should expect situations that cause an adverse emotional reaction that affects service delivery and interaction with colleagues.


Students entering into care provision services should understand the most effective coping mechanisms for work-related challenges. Russell et al. claim that severe events such as the COVID-19 pandemic cause traumatic stress that exacerbates preexisting stress among care providers (672). Seeking professional help for traumatic experiences at work is a sign of maturity because it helps care providers avoid developing post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) as they repeatedly replay adverse events in their heads. According to Hawken et al., caregivers must learn to share information and experiences within their social network to help them cope with work-related challenges (5). The social network may comprise colleagues and spouses that offer emotional support. Supportive partners and colleagues can plan for excursions or engage in physical activities such as jogging, yoga, and aerobics that help them relieve stress. In addition, group therapies may be implemented from an administration level to deter caregivers from venturing into non-adaptive coping strategies that affect their judgment and ability to discharge services effectively. Therefore, students pursuing medical-related fields should understand effective coping mechanisms to sustain a healthy work relationship.


Students venturing into the life-saving service should expect physical and psychological problems in their line of work. For instance, the learners must expect to work in environments of high work demands. Physical and verbal abuse may occur unexpectedly and have more profound reactions. Specifically, inadequate staffing forces existing workers to work for longer shifts to meet workload demands, causing burnouts, physical and mental exhaustion. Sometimes caregivers may experience physical and verbal abuse. Furthermore, nurses may find it hard to cope with social hardships. Nevertheless, students should know that constructive coping mechanisms allow caregivers to relieve stress and enjoy the service they dispense to clients.

Works Cited