Role Strain in the Nursing Profession

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As health care in America continues to undergo rampant changes, nurses are presented with the task of accomplishing much more than the traditional roles of caring for patients. These challenges are increasing the incidence of role strain within the nursing profession. Role strain, according to V. Lambert and Lambert (2001), has been intellectualized as the result of incongruences in the expectations of a particular role compared to what is actually being accomplished in the role. Understanding the influence of role strain on nurses is integral to the preservation of the profession (Lambert, V., & Lambert, 2001).

Nurses in the United States have attributed manifestations of role strain to high job demands, dealing with issues of mortality, uncooperative patients and physicians, poor relationships with peers, feelings of the lack of control on the job, and shift rotations (Lambert, V., & Lambert, 2001). The following analysis will focus on the concept of role strain in nursing, and will include the definition based on the common and nursing usage, the defining characteristics, as well as a model case that encompasses the antecedents, consequences and empirical referents of role strain.

Definition of Role Strain

Mosby’s online medical dictionary defines role strain as “the stress or strain experienced by an individual when incompatible behavior, expectations, or obligations are associated with a single social role” (“role strain”, n.d.). Principally, these disparities emerge as frustration and undue stress within the nursing profession (Cranford, 2013). A global literature review conducted at Yamaguchi University School of Medicine in Japan reviewed more than 100 articles written since 1990 and established the accepted...

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