OBJECTIVE: To assess the main signs of stress, coping and stressors of nursing Master's students, and the process of writing their dissertation with professional insertion. METHODOLOGICAL PROCEDURES: A explorative qualitative research of thematic analysis was conducted using individual interviews. The convenience sample comprised 18 Master's students and six tutors of a university in the State of São Paulo, in 2004. ANALYSIS OF RESULTS: Although the course was stressful at times, Master's students considered the study as an opportunity to leave care and start teaching. The most satisfying aspect of the post graduation course was to be in an environment where professional issues were reflected upon reinforcing the view of Master degree as an escape and a search for support. The Master's degree was seen by nurses as the legitimization of knowledge to be professionally recognized. That does not occur in care, where they feel neglected, and probably from this context there is this need of "escaping" from the hospital. CONCLUSIONS: For nursing Master's students, the Master's course was less stressful than their professional activities, and it was a way of coping, escaping, and looking for support to deal with care.
Students; Stress, Psychological; Dissertations, Academic; Qualitative Research; Health Postgraduate Programs