Sources of stress in nursing students: a systematic review of quantitative studies

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This study aimed to identify the main sources of stress for students of nursing and the evolution of the stressors when training in nursing competences.


Levels of stress are higher for health professionals than for other workers. A higher number of stressors with negative health consequences are present, especially among nursing professionals. Stress is a psychosocial factor that influences the academic performance and well-being of this group. The interest in analysing sources of stress in nursing students is due to the influence that their training period may have on their perceptions of stress on their future work.


We conducted a systematic review of the scientific literature on stressors in nursing students. The search comprised all the articles published at the end of 2010.


The most common sources of stress relate to academics (reviews, workload and problems associated with studying, among others). Other sources of stress include clinical sources (such as fear of unknown situations, mistakes with patients or handling of technical equipment). In general, no changes occur at the different years of the student's education.


Comparing studies is difficult because of the differences among them (designs, instruments, number of stressors, etc.). However, our revision gives a current state-of-the-art and includes descriptive information that might be very useful for future research. Furthermore, we offer some recommendations for improving the design of curricula taking into account sources of stress.

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