The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in December has seen more than 76,000 cases in China, causing more than 3,000 medical staff infections. As the disease is highly contagious, can be fatal in severe cases, and there are no specific medicines, it poses a huge threat to the life and health of nurses, leading to a severe impact on their emotional responses and coping strategies. Therefore, this study will investigate nurses’ emotional responses and coping styles, and conduct a comparative study with nursing college students. This study was conducted through the online survey ‘questionnaire star’ from February 1 st to February 20 th, 2020 in Anhui Province, using the snowball sampling method to invite subjects. The results found that women showed more severe anxiety and fear than men. Participants from cities exhibited these symptoms more than participants from rural areas, however rural participants experienced more sadness than urban participants. The nearer a COVID-19 zone is to the participants, the stronger the anxiety and anger. The COVID-19 outbreak has placed immense pressure on hospitals and those nurses at the frontline are more seriously affected. Hospitals should focus on providing psychological support to nurses and training in coping strategies.