Adapt and Overcome: Unraveling the Dynamics of Job Stressors and Coping Mechanisms among Nurses in the UK


  • Rawling K. Austen University of Manchester
  • George J. McEwan University of Manchester
  • Zadie W. Tolkien University of Bath



This study provides a comprehensive exploration of the multifaceted stressors encountered by nurses working within the UK healthcare system and the coping strategies they deploy in response. As the backbone of healthcare provision, nurses confront numerous occupational stressors, exacerbated by the inherent demands of their profession. These stressors range from high patient loads, long working hours, emotional strain, to evolving professional responsibilities. In the face of these challenges, this research adopts a mixed-method approach, combining quantitative data analysis with in-depth qualitative interviews to offer an illuminating perspective on the stress-coping patterns among nurses. The findings reveal that while these stressors can have deleterious effects on nurses' physical and mental health, they also possess an impressive array of adaptive strategies, involving a blend of problem-focused and emotion-focused coping techniques. These coping mechanisms span from collegial support, personal resilience building, stress management training, use of reflective practices, to organizational strategies such as balanced rosters and enhanced professional development opportunities. The results underscore the critical role of a supportive work environment and proactive personal initiatives in fostering resilience among nurses, while also shedding light on the need for healthcare systems to better recognize and mitigate the unique stressors experienced by nurses. Importantly, the study advances our understanding of how nurses' stress and coping mechanisms interact in a dynamic and reciprocal manner, offering important implications for healthcare policy, nurse education, and management practices. The research emphasizes that strengthening coping mechanisms and reducing job stressors should be seen as dual priorities to promote nurses' well-being, job satisfaction, and ultimately, to enhance patient care. In conclusion, this study offers novel insights into the interplay between job stressors and coping mechanisms among nurses in the UK, urging both individual and institutional responses to promote a more sustainable and resilient nursing workforce.

Key words: Job Stressors, Coping Mechanisms, UK Nurses, Healthcare System, Occupational Resilience

Author Biographies

Rawling K. Austen, University of Manchester

The Alliance Manchester Business School

George J. McEwan , University of Manchester

The Alliance Manchester Business School

Zadie W. Tolkien, University of Bath

The School of Management at the University


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How to Cite

Austen, R. K. ., McEwan , G. J. ., & Tolkien, Z. W. . (2023). Adapt and Overcome: Unraveling the Dynamics of Job Stressors and Coping Mechanisms among Nurses in the UK. Journal of Human Resource & Leadership, 7(1), 12–21.