Introduction to Stress
Stress is caused by any life stressors, including nursing school. It raises blood pressure, strains the body, and makes thinking more difficult.
As nurses, we can identify the resources available in our communities and refer clients to counseling when necessary.
The stress response is initiated when the hypothalamus detects danger. This triggers an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as an increase in the release of certain hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
These changes prepare the body for fight or flight, which helps us deal with emergencies by increasing our ability to react quickly. The body also produces more white blood cells to help fight infection.
However, stress is a major factor in many health problems. This is why nurses often notice that their patients become more susceptible to illness during times of intense stress, such as during an illness or surgery.
It’s important for nurses to know about the body’s stress response to treat patients in a way that respects the body’s natural response and doesn’t interfere with it unnecessarily.
Physiologic manifestations of stress include:
- Increased blood pressure
- Decreased gastrointestinal motility
- Increase in respiration rate
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle tension
- Increased sweating
Signs and Symptoms of Stress
- Changes in appetite
- Aches and pain
- Difficulty sleeping
- Chest pain and/or tightness
- GI upset
- Decreased immunity
Central Nervous System vs Peripheral Nervous System
The central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS) are two of the most essential systems in your body. The CNS includes the brain and spinal cord, while the PNS extends to all body parts.
Central Nervous System (CNS)
The CNS is what you usually think of when you hear “nervous system.” It’s the command center of your body’s nervous system, as it controls the mind’s and body’s main functions.
It’s essentially what makes you, you.
Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)
The PNS contains nerves coming from the brain and spinal cord to all network body parts.
It’s more like an extension cord that extends from your brain to your limbs and organs, so that when you tell your arm to move, it can move.
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)
The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is part of the peripheral nervous system that controls body functions that aren’t under conscious control.
The ANS comprises two parts: the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.
The sympathetic system is activated by stress, resulting in creased blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate. The parasympathetic system activates when at rest, resulting in slowed heart rate and blood pressure, while increasing digestion.
Sympathetic Nervous System
The sympathetic nervous system is a part of the peripheral nervous system and regulates many of the body’s internal systems. It’s also known as the fight-or-flight response because it controls emotions and physical reactions to stress.
Parasympathetic Nervous System
The parasympathetic nervous system is all about rest and digest. It can be considered an accelerator for the rest of your body, helping to slow down all of its functions when you’re tired or relaxed.
The parasympathetic nervous system works with the sympathetic nervous system to keep the body balanced. They work together to control how organs function and respond to stimuli.
Somatic Nervous System
The somatic nervous system (SNS) contains sensory (afferent) and motor (efferent) nerves to perform reflex actions.
It’s the part of the peripheral nervous system that controls skeletal muscles. The SNS is responsible for voluntary movements and activities like breathing, chewing, and blinking the eyes.
During my exam, I could literally see and hear him going over different areas as I was answering my questions.
This past Friday I retook my Maternity Hesi and this time, I decided for my last week of Holiday break to just watch all of his OB videos. I am proud to say that with Mike’s help I received a score of 928 on my Maternity Hesi!