The relationship between hardiness and coping effectiveness among nurse middle managers

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Boyce, Dorothy
Ryan, Marilyn E.
Issue Date
Thesis (M.S.)
School of Nursing
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In balancing the divergent needs of staff, patients, families, support services and upper management, the nurse middle manager (NMM) in the acute care hospital faces daily stresses in dealing with the demands of the management role. The purpose of the study was to identify the relationship between hardiness, a stress resistance buffer, and coping effectiveness among NMMs. The conceptual framework used in the study was Lazarus' theory of stress and coping. The study was based on a descriptive correlational comparative design. The instruments used were: (a) the Health Related Hardiness Scale (HRHS), measuring hardiness; (b) the .Jalowiec Coping Scale (-JCS), measuring coping mechanisms and coping effectiveness; and (c) a demographic data form, describing the sample. A convenience sample of 201 (37.2X) NMMs representing 31 Indiana acute care hospitals participated in the study. Confidentiality of the subjects was maintained throughout the study. A Pearson r correlation, used to analyze the data of the HRHS and .JCS, indicated a weak: positive relationship at a significant level (r=.2S; p=':.OO1) between hardiness and coping effectiveness. Descriptive statistics wereused to determine that the most frequently used coping mechanisms were confrontive, optimistic, and self-reliant. No relationship was identified between hardiness and age (r=-.07; p=.33). No differences were identified between: (a) hardiness and present level of NMM educational preparation, and (b) hardiness and NMMs that reported 'adequate' and 'inadequate' social support (work and family). It was concluded that NMMs in the study had a high level of hardiness. A lower level of coping effectiveness (mean ;: effectiveness score, 3.30) indicated the use of a limited number of coping mechanisms, which may be the result of limitations in the work setting. The low correlation between hardiness with coping effectiveness may be the result of: (a) a low level of coping effectiveness, or (b) the use of a limited number of coping mechanisms resulting from limitations in the work setting. Confrontive, optimistic, and self-reliant coping mechanisms may be the most appropriate styles in the work setting for NMMs. The use of healthy coping mechanisms by the NMMs may be the result of the programs supporting the transition from clinician to manager provided by the participating hospitals. Organizations should plan strategies to help NMMs (both established and those new to the position) develop a sense of commitment to the organization, a feeling of challenge from the job demands, and a plan to provide control of the responsibilities of the position in order to sustain the present high levels of hardiness for the NMMs.