Impact of Stress : Nurses’ caring behaviors and  their health related quality of life

Impact of Stress : Nurses’ caring behaviors and their health related quality of life

Did the heading peak your interest?  A paper titled The impact of occupational stress on nurses’ caring behaviours and their health-related quality of life, published in the BMC Nursing Journal and enclosed below for your reading certainly peaked mine.  I was curious to discover if stressors identified by Nursing peers over time were  still an issue in the workplace as identified in this study.

Nurses are generally very resilient  individuals and this common trait is certainly strengthened by the work Nurses perform and the myriad of experiences they have throughout their career. Over time I have noted that despite the sheer grit and determination that Nurses display, they can get ‘worn down’ by the consistent and what appears at times to be never ending workplace stressors. Sadly for some, it has included unprofessional communication and conduct by others and horizontal violence with the perpetrators being peers.

The paper identified in part, the following interesting points.

‘Occupational stress can be defined as a situation wherein job-related factors interact with an employee, changing his/her psychological and physiological condition in a way that the person is forced to deviate from normal functioning’

‘The high job demands and the combination of too much responsibility and too little authority have been identified as some of the primary sources of occupational stress amid nursing staff’.

The key stressors were identified as:

‘Death and Dying Stressors

Inadequate Emotional Preparation Stressors

Discrimination Stressors

Workload Stressors

Uncertainty Concerning Treatment Stressors

Conflict with Physician Stressors

Problems with Peers Stressors

Problems with Supervision Stressors

Patient and Family Stressors’

I think most Nurses would be able to relate to each of these variables as stressors in the workplace. What I found a little surprising was the identification that ‘Job related stress has as a result loss of compassion for patients and increased incidences of practice errors and therefore is unfavorably associated with quality of care’.

I’m not sure that individually when stressed, Nurses develop a loss of compassion for their patients. What do you think? I agree when people are under undue stress – stress that is not motivating,  the incidence of errors appears to increase.

It was identified that a Nurse’s ability to cope with the demands and stress of work may be improved with specific occupational health education and specific training programs that improve their knowledge and ability. In particular it was identified that workshops targeting  verbalization of feelings, normalization of experience, relaxation techniques ,  and conflict solving and positive reappraisal may be of assistance to Nurses. In most organisations, there is now regular education on customer service, conflict resolution and communication, yet extended periods of stress for Nurses remain? Do you think additional education for staff is critical in reducing the incidence of workplace stress, or do you consider the root causes of stress to stem from management levels where staffing levels, skill base requirements and performance management policies are generated?  This paper raises many questions and I guess one of the most important is ‘where does the individual Nurse see themselves in terms of employing personal strategies to manage or negate the impact of the stressor on their professional conduct and most importantly on their general well being?

Do you think additional education for staff is critical in reducing the incidence of workplace stress, or do you consider the root causes of stress to stem from management levels where staffing levels, skill base requirements and performance management policies are generated?  This paper raises many questions and I guess one of the most important is ‘where does the individual Nurse see themselves in terms of employing personal strategies to manage or negate the impact of the stressor on their professional conduct and most importantly on their general well-being?

The Nurses for Nurses Network provides great information and CPD  on an array of nursing topics in a range of easy learning ways including webinars, quizzes and travel event on the latest information that Nurses need to know – remember the Nurses for Nurses Network was created by Australian Nurses for Nurses!  www.nursesfornurses.com.au

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