This study aims to examine the stress, coping behaviors and self-esteem of students in the two and four-year nursing programs in Vietnam related to clinical practice. It also identifies the correlation among these variables. In this cross-sectional correlation descriptive study design, two hundred and twenty seven Vietnamese nursing students completed the self-reporting questionnaires, which included the Perceived Stress Scale, the Coping Behavior Inventory and the Self-esteem Scale. The results show that the mean score of the perceived stress is 2.64 and also indicates that Vietnamese nursing students have the moderate level of stress. The most common factor of stress indicated is "assignment and workload", followed in the order by “taking care of patient”, “clinical environment”,
“teachers and nursing staff”, and “lack of professional knowledge and skill”. Moreover, the four-year program was more stressful than the two-year program, with some high significant factors such as “taking care of patients”, “the clinical environment”, and “teacher-nursing staff”. Among the common types of coping behaviors, staying optimistic was used most frequently, while avoidance was the least frequent one. Comparing the two groups, transference and avoidance were less frequently used in the two-year group than the fouryear group. This study also exposed the mean score of the self-esteem of nursing students which was 16.81 and it was the moderate level as well. Especially, the self-esteem in the four-year program group was significantly higher than the two-year group. On the other hand, the outcome from testing correlation between these variables showed that stress was inversely related to self-esteem and positive coping behaviors. Stress also had a positive correlation with avoidance coping behaviors. In conclusion, this study provided the common stress factors which nursing students in Vietnam have to face in clinical practice and the
frequent behaviors which they used to cope up with stress within the two nursing programs.
It also gave information about the general self-esteem of Vietnamese nursing students. The results produced evidence for the obvious correlations between stress, coping behaviors, and self-esteem as well. This data will help nursing educators recognize their students’ difficulties when they practice in clinical settings and also identify how to support students learn nursing skills more proficiently.
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