Skip to content

First Responders First - Stressors for nurses outside the workplace



There are a number of stressors that can occur daily outside the workplace that can impact a nurse’s ability to work within the workplace. Constant exposure to these stressors, or constantly feeling stressed, can negatively affect a nurse’s mental health.

For example, Briana is a nurse manager at a pediatric specialty clinic. When COVID-19 hit, many policies at childcare centers changed. Children were often sent home at the first possibility of illness, putting a lot of stress on Briana to figure out childcare. She and her co-workers worked to save PTO days in anticipation of when schools or childcare centers closed, and while not an ideal or permanent solution, this allowed Briana and her co-workers to be prepared for challenges ahead. This situation isn’t unique to COVID-19. Nurses often work long hours throughout their careers and arranging childcare can be stressful. Coordinating work schedules with parents or extended family can be tricky, and using professional childcare services can be expensive, particularly for single-parent households. In some cases, it may not be possible to pay for professional childcare, and you may need to make career decisions, such as moving to an outpatient unit with shorter working hours, to accommodate your family circumstances.

Besides childcare, there will likely be a number of other financial stressors you may face. The cost of living in some cities may be higher than expected, making it difficult to live within your planned budget in an area close to work. Combined with long shift work schedules, long commutes could further increase childcare costs while also decreasing available time to spend with family and raise children. All of these stressors can weigh heavily on a natural caregiver. If you’re experiencing any of these stressors, talk with your family and friends and see if any creative solutions can be arranged, such as a friend picking up your children from school and supervising them on workdays, and you can do the same for them on your days off. Alternatively, talk with your leadership team to see what options are available for your financial situation or your parental commitments.

  1. "Women's experience of shiftwork in nursing whilst caring for children: A juggling act" Journal of Clinical Nursing (2019)
  2. "Stress, anxiety and depression in clinical nurses in Vietnam: a cross-sectional survey and cluster analysis" International Journal of Mental Health Systems (2019)
  3. "Coping with Stress"  (2021)