Stressors and coping of nursing students in clinical placement: A qualitative study contextualizing their resilience and burnout

Shirley Siu Yin Ching, Kin Cheung, Desley Hegney, Clare S. Rees

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to explore the stressors and coping of nursing students with differing levels of resilience and burnout during clinical placement. A qualitative descriptive study was conducted with twenty-four final-year baccalaureate nursing students, who were identified in the quantitative phase of the study as having scores indicating either: a) low resilience and high burnout; or b) high resilience and low burnout. Ten focus group interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide. A thematic analysis of the data identified two main themes: a) stressors arising from the students aligning their expectations with the demands of the clinical placement (i.e., practice demands in busy wards, striving for learning opportunities, and discovering the social rules), and b) coping as a process of fitting into the ward culture. Those students with high resilience and low burnout scores had self-directed goals and coped by using self-regulation strategies. Those with low resilience and high burnout adopted external orientation and self-blame strategies. As suggested by the findings, the following approaches are recommended: offering interventions to enable students to fit actively into the clinical environment; encouraging engagement in reflection to facilitate self-awareness; and encouraging flexible use of personal and external resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102690
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Burnout
  • Clinical placement
  • Nursing
  • Qualitative study
  • Resilience
  • Students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Education

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