This paper presents an overview of the concept of "coping" and the skills that are used by nurses in an acute care setting, such as intensive care or trauma care. The starting point for the paper is an analysis of the uses of the concept of coping in various areas of nursing, as opposed to non-nursing areas. Theories for nursing are based on the conceptual models for nursing practice. The model's view of the human person is the basis for a theory of the functioning of the human person.Attributes of the coping mechanisms are explored, with specific emphasis on the nursing profession. It is shown that in the nursing profession, specific physical, social, and psychological services are required to provide patients and the family or significant others with as high a level of comfort as possible. Antecedents and consequences of the nursing concept of coping are explored and referents are provided. Finally, the concept is described in the context of an actual case, with observations relating to a model and contrary case scenario. Implications for the coping concept in nursing are further examined within the context of burnout and stress.
The term "coping" refers to the responses made by an individual who encounters a situation with a potentially harmful response. In general, two major functions of coping have been identified (Meichenbaum, 1983, p. 70). One function of coping is to alter the situation that is causing the stress: problem-oriented coping consists of efforts to deal with the source of the stress by changing the environment either by direct actions or by changing one's behavior. The second function of coping is emotion regulation: coping efforts aimed at reducing emotional distress.
Coping is the natural counterpart to stress. It generally refers to the person's efforts to anticipate and respond to challenging or troublesome conditions. The study of coping does something significant for the human spirit: