Handling challenging emotions in nursing care

Document Type



Community Health Sciences; School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan


The aim of this study is to highlight the importance of emotions with respect to the patient's condition, circumstances during which patients exhibit these emotions and the strategies to provide holistic good quality nursing care accordingly. To analyze the issue, comprehensive literature review was carried. Research articles were reviewed from 2007 to 2015 and data was extracted from Science Direct, SAGE, and Google scholar search engine. Literature review showed that most patients fear diseases and their outcomes. Therefore, they exhibit negative emotions (anxiety, anger and depression). Patients undergoing invasive procedures exhibit more anxiety than patient with chronic diseases who experience depression. While perceived inadequate care due to staff shortage, late diagnosis, long waiting in an emergency, uncontrolled pain and terminal illness evoke anger in patients. Anger, anxiety and depression are interlinked with each other and can also be observed in one situation. If anger is not directly expressed by a patient, it turns back into self and leads to depression. If anxiety is ignored, it can also lead to depression. To deal with patients' anxiety, health education, informed consent, proper orientation of hospital, proper communication and music or relaxation therapy are found significant. Counseling and teaching of coping strategies for patients are core to alleviate or reduce depressive feelings of patients; while patients' anger can be dealt through maintaining patience, calm attitude and empathetic communication of nurses. Emotions are normal and natural part of our daily life. Increase in the emotion beyond their usefulness or control is harmful for health. Anger, anxiety and depression are generally observed emotions in hospital settings. This requires proper treatment modality and nursing intervention to convert them into healthy emotion. Maladaptive practices for emotion regulation can further deteriorate emotional, psychological, and health aspect. Therefore, to function better in life, one needs to understand their reactions.

Publication (Name of Journal)

i-manager's Journal on Nursing