Stress First Aid for Nurses

A peer-to-peer supportive model within an organization


What is Stress First Aid? SFA is a set of supportive and practical actions to assist nurses experiencing stress. SFA helps team members identify and address early signs of stress reactions in themselves and others in an ongoing way (not just after “critical incidents”). The ultimate aim is to enhance individual and unit resilience.
Goals: The goals of the Stress First Aid (also referred to as Stress Control) training program when implemented in the organization include:
a. Improve peer and leader abilities to recognize stress reactions and injuries using the stress continuum model and respond with compassionate, restorative support
b. Deliver occupational stress first aid (continuous, primary, and secondary aid) techniques to address stress and respond with appropriate tailored support to the individual and organizational context
c. Enhance individual and team ability to have conversations about work stressors
d. Integrate caregiver occupational stress control principles into clinical leadership skills and management strategies as applicable.
Anticipated Outcomes
  1. Increased individual resilience
  2. Increased staff engagement
  3. Increased unit resilience and cohesion

The Stress Continuum Model

The Stress Continuum Model is a visual tool for assessing your own and others’ stress responses. It views stress along a continuum with increasing severity. It acknowledges that every person will react differently when faced with severe or long-term stress. How a person reacts is dependent on their coping skills and resiliency and their preparation for and interpretation of the stressor event. Moving across the continuum, a person’s state can change from the Green to Yellow to Orange to Red zone, and back again. The approach provides a flexible multi-step process for the timely assessment and preclinical response to psychological injuries in individuals or units. SFA provides tools to recognize the signs of Orange zone stress and take steps to lessen the severity of the situation and our response.

NJNI Stress First Aid Train the Trainer

To date NJNI has supported 53 nurses to become SFA Trainers within more than 25 organizations including Health Systems, Schools of Nursing, Long-Term Care Facilities and Community Nursing Organizations.


To learn more about SFA and /or to participate in the upcoming Cohort III (August 9, 16 & 19, 2021 from 8am-12pm) Train the Trainer please contact the NJNI Program Office at

For more information, click here

Nurses Week 2021

Meet some of the nurses engaged in peer support.