Nursing & Health Sciences Research Journal


Introduction: The average day-to-day nursing profession is a stressful one. The job often requires dealing with patients enduring some of the worst times of their lives, as well as contending with patients' emotional family members. This stressful environment is heightened even more for nurses employed in critical access hospitals (CAHs) due to the limited resources usually associated with these smaller facilities. Methods: Research and Evidence-Based Practice Council members at one CAH explored how to help nurses deal with the elevated work stress level. Aromatherapy tabs were used as an intervention to reduce nurses' stress. The nurses who participated in this pilot study took a short survey before starting their shifts, indicating their stress levels. Following the survey, scented aromatherapy tabs were attached to the nurses' uniforms and worn for the entirety of their shifts. At the end of their shifts, the participating nurses completed the same stress survey. Results: Twenty-five nurses participated in the pilot study. Nurses who did not wear the aromatherapy tab reported higher stress levels at the end of the shift than at the start, with a 3% overall average increase. Nurses who wore the aromatherapy tab reported lower stress levels at the end of the shift with a 12% overall average decrease. Discussion: Using aromatherapy tabs positively impacted nurses' reported stress levels, indicating that aromatherapy tabs can be a tool for nurses to utilize within the workplace, supporting the need for further research.