Emergency Nurses’ Professional Quality of Life and Professional Conduct During Nurse-Patient Interactions
Preliminary data analysis is now complete for the project “Emergency Nurses’ Professional Quality of Life and Professional Conduct During Nurse-Patient Interactions” (HREC CQUniversity H16/05-139 :H16/ 05-140). Many thanks for your assistance during recruitment (distribution of invitation to participate via your mailing list). A brief summary of results is now available.
The sample size achieved for this research was 810. From the data it is clear that the vast majority of Australian emergency nurses participating in the project experienced frequent abuse at the hands of patients. For many, professional quality of life was compromised by elevated burnout and secondary traumatic stress levels and diminished compassion satisfaction. These experiences in turn demonstrably negatively impacted attitudes towards and interactions with patients. A variety of concerning maladaptive coping behaviours were noted among participants. Participants often perceived stress as cumulative, culminating in an eventual “straw that breaks the camel’s back”. The impact of work-stress was recognised as crossing the line between work and home lives.
Abuse, ingratitude and perceived misuse of emergency resources by patients were commonly cited stressors. Seeming lack of collegial, managerial and institutional support was a source of dissatisfaction and frustration for many. Work-stress was something participants typically recognised in themselves and their colleagues however stigma associated with notions of “weakness” or “not being cut out for emergency nursing” was an impediment to seeking or offering help. Conflict was described as stemming largely from what participants perceived as patients’ unrealistic expectations.
Overall participants themselves articulated that work-stress negatively impacts the nurse-patient relationship and leaves them drained of the emotion and energy necessary to perform their duties to the standard they would wish. Nevertheless, despite recounting negative and often profoundly traumatising work-experiences, many participants took great pride in their tenacity, resilience, teamwork and capacity to overcome obstacles in the service of their patients. Improved security measures, justice for victims of abuse at the hands of patients, professional recognition of effort or expertise and greater managerial support were the main suggestions proffered by participants as ways their professional quality of life could be improved. More detailed statistical analysis is being prepared for publication over the course of the next 12 months. For ongoing information about upcoming publications please visit nurseburnoutresearch.com.
Thank you again to all those who engaged with this research. Please note that for anyone experiencing distress or requiring support, assistance is available in Australia through Lifeline 13 11 14 and Beyond Blue 1300 22 46 36. Those outside Australia are encouraged to Google their local crisis hotline.
Thank you, Jacqueline.