The role of organizational support and personal coping strategies in reduction or prevention of occupational stress in registered nurses was discussed. It was proposed that occupational stress positively influences burnout and that both are negatively influenced by personal coping strategies and organizational social support. Work overload, lack of control, nonsupportive environments, limited job opportunities, role ambiguity, shiftwork, and machine paced work were cited as contributors to psychological disorders. Occupational stress was described in relation to the scope of the problem and related general studies. In nursing it was associated with intensive care work, repetitive exposure to death, lack of gratification from patients, and fear of error. Outcomes included lowered resistance, personality inventory, and substance abuse. Burnout, an outcome of occupational stress, was defined as physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion and considered in relation to perceived intensity of job related events and professional depression. Various methods of measurement were detailed for both occupational stress and burnout. Personal coping strategies such as a sense of competence, control over job practices, lifestyle management, and humor were listed along with use of a team philosophy, support groups, and job flexibility. Organizational social support involved supportive communication and control autonomy. Both personal coping strategies and organizational social support were described as buffering factors within the presented model.
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