Workplace stress and resilience in the Australian nursing workforce: A comprehensive integrative review

Eric Badu, Anthony Paul O’Brien, Rebecca Mitchell, Mark Rubin, Carole James, Karen McNeil, Kim Nguyen, Michelle Giles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


This integrative review aimed to identify and synthesize evidence on workplace stress and resilience in the Australian nursing workforce. A search of the published literature was conducted using EMBASE, MEDLINE, CINAHL (EBSCO), PsycINFO, Web of Science, and Scopus. The search was limited to papers published in English from January 2008 to December 2018. The review integrated both qualitative and quantitative data into a single synthesis. Of the 41 papers that met the inclusion criteria, 65.85% (27/41) used quantitative data, 29.26% (12/41) used qualitative data, and 4.87% (2/41) used mixed methods. About 48.78% (20/41) of the papers addressed resilience issues, 46.34% (19/41) addressed workplace stress, and 4.87% (2/41) addressed both workplace stress and resilience. The synthesis indicated that nurses experience moderate to high levels of stress. Several individual attributes and organizational resources are employed by nurses to manage workplace adversity. The individual attributes include the use of work–life balance and organizing work as a mindful strategy, as well as self-reliance, passion and interest, positive thinking, and emotional intelligence as self-efficacy mechanisms. The organizational resources used to build resilience are support services (both formal and informal), leadership, and role modelling. The empirical studies on resilience largely address individual attributes and organizational resources used to build resilience, with relatively few studies focusing on workplace interventions. Our review recommends that research attention be devoted to educational interventions to achieve sustainable improvements in the mental health and wellbeing of nurses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-34
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • coping strategies
  • mental health nursing
  • resilience
  • stress
  • workplace

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