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Striving to care : a qualitative study of stress in nursing

This study advances current explanations of stress in nursing. Research reports have documented a broad range of stressors experienced by nurses. This study was motivated by the scarce agreement across studies regarding how these stressors affect nurses and how they are managed by nurses. Virtually all studies of stress in nursing have been based exclusively on self-report data. As well, no studies have been documented regarding the enrichments of nursing that may serve to offset the effects of stress among nurses. A phenomenological method was used in this study in order to obtain rich descriptions of nurses' experience of stress and enrichment within their workplace. Twelve nurses were recruited, six from an intensive care unit and six from a medical unit, in a university-teaching general hospital. These nurses were observed while working on their units and then subsequently interviewed. The principal sources of stress reported were "conflict with the physicians," "complex patient care situations," and "shortstaffing." The coping strategies employed to manage these were "drawing on support" and "stressor-specific strategies." The principal sources of enrichment observed were "the patient" and "the team." A central developmental phenomenon was uncovered that described the nurses' overall attempts to manage their work stress, which has been named "striving to care." The informants' early career was characterized by reports of self-sacrifice, followed later by reports of disenchantment, which sometimes led to a discovery of "relational mutuality." This process resembles the psychological development of women described by Carol Gilligan. Implications for counselling research and practice are outlined in relation to the experience of nurses. These are also related to the broader counselling literature that addresses issues in the work of women and female-dominated occupations.
Date January 1994
CreatorsCarnevale, Franco A.
PublisherMcGill University
Source SetsLibrary and Archives Canada ETDs Repository / Centre d'archives des thèses électroniques de Bibliothèque et Archives Canada
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
CoverageDoctor of Philosophy (Department of Educational Psychology and Counselling.)
RightsAll items in eScholarship@McGill are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
Relationalephsysno: 001425937, proquestno: NN00083, Theses scanned by UMI/ProQuest.

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