The stress of caring: The manifestation of stress in the nurse-patient relationship

Schoombee J.C. ; van der Merwe J.M. ; Kruger L.-M. (2005)


Several studies have shown that nursing professionals in South Africa suffer from high levels of stress and are at increased risk of burnout. The authors contend that it is important for mental health professionals in South Africa to understand the experiences of nurses, since they have to provide support to these workers. Eight maternity ward health-care workers in a state hospital in the Western Cape were interviewed. The grounded theory analysis yielded three major but related issues. Participants experienced their work of taking care of patients as extremely stressful. Moreover, hierarchies in the hospital seemed to be very important for nursing staff. Finally, many of the interviewees reported that patients who were regarded to be out of control or disobedient often elicited aggressive thoughts, feelings and even actions in nursing staff. It was argued that the central underlying concept to all three core categories is the concept of power.

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