Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing




Dr. Mary-Anne Andrusyszyn

Second Advisor

Dr. Carroll Iwasiw


Nursing career stress (NCS) will continue to gain prominence as impacts of the nursing shortage worsen. Measures targeting NCS are well researched, although predominately focus on the existing workforce and/or workplaces. Little exploration has occurred about preventing nurses’ stress prior to workforce entry. Baccalaureate nursing education (NE) has unparalleled access to, and influence with, nursing students (NS). It is thus proposed that explicitly preparing NSs for realities of nursing practice and work life can prevent exposures to NCS, ameliorate responses to it, and prevent its negative outcomes. Stress prevention/management has previously been incorporated into baccalaureate curricula; however, in all cases except one, NSs, stress was the sole focus. The potential role ofNE in preventing its graduates’ future NCS has yet to be explored. This descriptive study was part of a larger study about NCS prevention (NCSP). The specific purpose of this study was to begin exploring NE’s potential participation in NCSP, by garnering views of baccalaureate nursing faculty about NCS, and NE’s past, present, and potential roles, opportunities, barriers, and responsibilities in NCSP. The study was theoretically framed on a researcher-developed model that demarcated potential modalities for NE-driven NCSP. Using a researcher-developed instrument, 215 faculty teaching in baccalaureate nursing programs in Ontario were surveyed. Nursing education was not perceived by faculty as significantly impacting NCS; however, NE was perceived to share responsibility for, and be capable of doing so; therefore, can and should explicitly expand its role in NCSP, focusing on that specific to stressors and responses to them. Several barriers to NE’s role expansion were noted, including: a lack of understanding of NE’s current role and what an expanded role could be; a knowledge deficit among nurse educators about the subject; a lack of room in current curricula; a shortage of faculty; and faculty’s heavy workloads and time constraints. Current curricula, especially the clinical portions, were seen as ineffectively impacting graduates’ NCS and/or negatively contributing to it, and warranting critical assessment and radical revision. There are no simple solutions for NCS or the nursing shortage. However, this research gives impetus for further study of NE’s potential involvement in NCSP, and provides initial direction for NE to expand its involvement in NCSP through explicitly incorporating NCS and NCSP content and processes into the baccalaureate curriculum.



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