The psychosocial functioning of nurses in a burn unit
The aim of the study was to determine what the effect of a stressful work environment is on the psychosocial functioning of burn unit nurses. A standardised scale, the Psychosocial Functioning Inventory, was used to measure psychosocial functioning. In addition, a questionnaire was constructed to identify sources of stress, coping mechanisms and the need for support programmes. Scaling and interpretation of the Psychosocial Functioning Inventory were done by a computer program. A qualitative analysis of data patterns on the questionnaire was done according to modal class. Twenty-one nurses in the burn unit completed the scales. The control group consisted of 18 nurses from the departments of plastic surgery and obstetrics. The psychosocial functioning of burn unit nurses was within optimal levels, except on the stress scale, where they were slightly overactivated. Workload and poor remuneration were the most important stressors. Good relationships amongst the nurses and team support enabled them to cope with the stressors. It is recommended that attention be paid to remuneration of nurses, a better nurse-patient ratio and the promotion of interdisciplinary teamwork.