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Stress in the Professional Practice of Oncology Nurses

de Carvalho, Emilia Campos PhD, RN; Muller, Melina RN; de Carvalho, Patricia Bachion RN; de Souza Melo, Alexandra RN


Oncology nurses have been identified as a group at risk for stress. This project aimed at identifying stress-generating situations. There was an attempt at identifying stressful situations through the application of a stress evaluation scale (Stressor Scale for Pediatric Oncology Nursing) (Hinds et al, Cancer Nurs. 1990;13:354-360). In the opinion of 35 oncology nurses, 88.57% of whom were women and 73% of whom had more than 24 months of experience, 38 out of the 50 analyzed statements involving work situations were considered stressful in some way. Fifty-four percent of the statements disclosed a medium or high stressor capacity, and 22% were seen as extremely high stressors. These situations were included in the categories “work organization,” “relationships among staff members,” and “care restrictions.” It is reiterated that the set of activities developed by oncology nurses is stressful, and that there is a need for institutional intervention, due to the narrow relation between work environment and care results.

University of São Paulo at Ribeirão Preto College of Nursing, Brazil.

Corresponding author: Emilia Campos de Carvalho, PhD, RN, University of São Paulo at Ribeirão Preto College of Nursing, Av. Bandeirantes, 3900, Campus Universitário, 14.040-902, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil (e-mail:

Accepted for publication January 18, 2005.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.