Nurses we hear about ‘burnout’ all the time yet did you know that “Burnout was originally conceptualized as a specific stress syndrome among healthcare professionals resulting from emotionally charged interactions with patients?
Now Interpersonal strain has recently been proposed as a new dimension related to burnout. I’ve enclosed an interesting research article Consiglio, C. Interpersonal strain at work: A new burnout facet relevant for the health of hospital staff. Burnout Res (2014), which identifies that:
“Interpersonal strain corresponds to the feeling of discomfort and disengagement in the relationships with people at work resulting from exceeding social and emotional pressures, not restricted to the recipient/caregiver relationship.”
It incorporates strain related to working with “colleagues, supervisors or clients. ‘Interpersonal strain includes the negative, distant, and callous attitude toward other people.”
I can’t imagine any Nurse who has not experienced this strain at some time in their career!
I’m sure most Nurses would agree that ” the management of emotions can be considered a crucial component of health care work. Health care professionals are expected to control their emotions and to adequately express them during the interactions with patients, families and colleagues”.
“Emotional dissonance refers to the discrepancy between the emotion felt and the emotion displayed, consistent with what is required and appropriate in the work context. Hospital staff interacting with patients is often expected to display a prescribed positive emotion (for instance, by switching sadness or irritation into an empathizing and compassionate attitude), or to suppress positive or negative emotions (for instance, by being neutral when announcing negative news to patients and family) In service professions, emotional dissonance has been considered an indicator to cover unpleasant and stressful interactions.”
The article identifies “ it seems that adopting a detached attitude toward people at work is unlikely a protective attitude for hospital staff, but a maladaptive coping strategy and a risk factor for ill-health.” As Nurses this article will give you food for thought regarding the need to be acutely aware of the negative consequences of interpersonal strain and exhaustion in the workplace!
We’d love to hear your suggestions regarding how you can reduce the potential for burnout at work!