Date of Award


Document Type

DNP Project


School of Nursing

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Carol Rossman

Second Advisor

Andrea Baldwin



The nursing profession is an extremely stressful occupation. Psychiatric nurses face many of the general stressors that are inherent within the profession as well as unique challenges in taking care of psychiatric patients. Prolonged exposure to stress can impact the quality of the nurses' lives as well as the quality of patient care. Engagement in self-care activities can promote the well-being of psychiatric nurses.


To investigate the level of occupational stress in psychiatric nurses and offer them a guided six-week program on self-care activities. This intervention was measured for any change in the level of occupational stress that might have occurred.


A mixed-methods approach was used where participants were able to express their stress levels in a numerical form via the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and document self- care activities in numerical and textual form via the Occupational Stress in Psychiatric Nurses and the Impact of Self-Care questionnaire (OSPN INC). The sample was obtained through the snowball sampling method.


The instruments used were valid and reliable. The chi-square test showed significant movements within the stress categories from medium to low stress. With the paired sample t-test, although the null hypothesis was retained for the overall instrument, two items of the PSS were significant with positive correlation coefficients above 0.7. The modal responses for the OSPN INC showed participants experienced ongoing reductions in stress levels across the six weeks.


The sample size was small, but data suggested that self-care activities were beneficial in reducing occupational stress levels for psychiatric nurses. Similar investigations could be undertaken with larger sample sizes to enable generalization of the outcomes to wider groups of psychiatric nurses and the nursing profession in general.

Subject Area

Psychiatric nurses--Job stress; Self-care, Health; Nursing; Job stress