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As I lay on my bed after a long day at work, I am reminded of my life as a student nurse. These memories reveal a decline in empathy facing most of the nursing students which mostly occurs at the transition to third year from the didactic second year. This period is marked by apprenticeship in hospitals as well as lectures. The third year comes with what I can term as the most difficult rotation in nursing characterized by surgery, long lectures, personal life, exams and longer hours at the hospitals. It was at this juncture, just like many other nursing students, I found myself burned out, was stressed and felt like was being bullied by work, studies as well as my colleagues. There were several factors that made my third year nursing life so difficult; the flow of the hospital, adapting to the layout, learning time management skills, the overwhelming volume of information and knowledge to acquire, and the emotional experiences that drained me as I was expected to move from 6-7 hours of lecture each day to 15 hours of contacting patients where I faced impatient hospital staffs.
I had not noticed that I was burning out until when a colleague approached me and confessed that he had noticed some behavior changes at school as well as at work. It was then that I noticed many changes in my attitude towards patient and was no longer caring the way I used to be, I had become apathetical, developed a trend of taking shortcuts while providing care to the patients, ignored most of the nursing care activities like skin care, mouth care, and dressing changes. I used to ignore alarms from patients bedsides as I pretended to be busy. My social life had also been affected as I realized later I had withdrawn from social activities such as chatting easily with my workmates. The situation got worse as I extended my withdrawal to the patients, friends and family.
Apathy had been my root cause of frustration as I felt I was giving my best ethically, competence and professionally but still these efforts were thwarted and unappreciated by many circumstances. This left me dissatisfied, irritated and unfulfilled. My frustrations become evident when I started being sarcastic, refused to help my fellow collogues and students, and became in-subordinated. The frustration left me cynical in my behavior patterns and in my work. I became emotionally disconnected both from the patients, coworkers and the family. The frustration resulting from burnout and stress affected my control issues negatively in that I became rigid in my thinking, inflexible, was bully given the chance and wanted to be right always.
At this point, I could not take it in any longer, I seeked medical attention where I discovered I had burned out. I had other facets of burn out which I had not discovered like negative self image and depersonalization. I remembered then that I used to feel as though I was being watched from a distance yet did not know how to control the situation. I had developed an unreality sensation, always in a dream state, and divorced from my emotions. Thank God for the medical intervention as I was cancelled putting all the experience to be a thing of the past.
Research Critique: Dealing with Stress, Burn-out and Bullying in Community Nursing Profession.
The aim of this study was to examine how community nurses deal with stress, burnout and bullying and how this impacts on their general ability to work efficiently. The designation of the article- Stressors and coping strategies of students in accelerated baccalaureate nursing Programs-which highlights Community nurses occupational responsibilities, coping plans, work relations and professed stressors is of broad spectrum (Hegge and Larson 2008). This is so since it does not reflect on the precise content of the study. This scrutiny presented four research queries that are found and highlighted in the article. These include: a) what are the responsibilities and roles of community nurses? b) What are the nurses professed stress factors that are encountered while working? C) What methods are nurses using to cope with these stressing issues? D) What is the connection between stress, burnout and bullying and interpersonal work relation? E) What ways can nurses maintain professional standards to ensure quality services for their clients and care for self and their peers?
In the recent years, there has developed concern on the impact of occupational stress as the sole cause of job-related sickness, especially in the service professions including the community nursing field. This field faces a significant predicament with work-related injuries, turnover and absenteeism being commonly characterized to the demanding nature of the career. Occupational stress, burnout and bullying are partially responsible for these predicaments and have furthermore been recognized as a precipitating aspect in injury incidences at work (Arehart-Treichel 2002).
Organizational effectiveness and efficiency, quantity and quality of care, decreased work satisfaction, high staff yields and increased healthcare costs are hindered when stress, bullying and burnout exists among its employees. Studies applied on occupational stress, bullying and burnout in community nurses have unearthed several factors that contribute to these problems in this profession. In this specific field, the stressing factors as retrieved from the studies are interpersonal relationships, work plans and staffing matters, patient-associated stressors and the working atmosphere.
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To aid in assessing and controlling such predicaments that hinder the normal running of activities in the community nursing field, researchers have come up with several occupational and general scales that measure these problems. In this particular study regarding the community nursing field, a work-specific problem scale- the nursing bullying, stress and burnout scale- was utilized as a guide in developing the interview apparatus used. As much as these problems impact negatively on the health, work delivery and care of the nurses, the research has identified several moderating variables that can minimize the repercussions or the experience of these problems. The variables include collective support and coping tactics.
This study engaged in handling strategies that aid to reduce bullying, stress and burnout among the community nurses and the means by which nurses could maintain professional standards to guarantee quality care for their customers as well as themselves and their peers. The participants singled-out various strategies outlined to counteract the work-related stressors. This study tackles the predicaments of the community nurses.
This study employed a qualitative research approach as it utilized questionnaires, observations and objective data to answer the research queries. The data collection technique primarily utilized was a semi-structured interrogation of the contributors. The contributors included twelve community nurses with seven being men and five females. The tools recruited for the purpose of interviewing the participants were designed after prior research on the literature and the specific scale occupational burnout, bullying and stress scale was enlisted to provide guidance in developing interview queries that are specific to community nursing field (Heinrich 2007).
Procedures for Collecting Data.
An informed approval was obtained from the participants prior to the collection of the required data. The participants were informed on the purpose of the study, the means that will be employed in the study, the essence of the study and guarantee of their privacy. Furthermore, authorization was sought from the University and the community nursing organization that provided the source of observations made. The privacy guaranteed was achieved through omitting the names of the participants and the organization. Individual community nurses were personally interviewed and the information recorded with participants consent and then copied. The participants were also given the opportunity to go through the copy and make changes to their statements.
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The data was analysed using comparative methods. This was done as the process of obtaining data was progressing. The gathered information was coded and developed into themes. This was done through the analysis of the information obtained in relation to the queries of the research. The participants’ experiences and opinions were also considered. These were then developed into brief essays and profiles with regard to the outcome obtained from the study.
The responsibilities of the community nurses were brought out by this study. These included: provision of medical care and services to their clients, administrative responsibilities and continued education of the masses. The participants identified that bullying, stress and burnout were the major problems in this field. The methods utilized by the community nurses to cope up and maintain the required standards in their profession included: internal reflection and meditation, prayers, making jokes, observing patience and getting involved in hobbies excluded from their field of operation. Moreover, the study discovered that associations formed between the participants and other staff members also contributed to these predicaments.
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Importance of Research
This study is essential as the data obtained can be utilized by the community nurses to evaluate their operations and how different factors influence their work. As much as the research could be wide, the findings can aid the community nursing profession in various ways. From the data obtained regarding the ways of tackling stress, bullying and burnout, community nurses can utilize these techniques in maintaining professional standards in carrying out their duties. Coping techniques are very important and being familiar with the strategies the community nurses employ can be of great help to the rest of the people in that field (Clark and Springer 2004). To realize the maintenance of professional standards among the community nurses, several factors ought to be considered.
Methods of maintaining Professional Standards for Quality Care of Clients
Professional standards vary in particulars among nursing categories. However, there exists a general expectation that cuts across all these categories. These guidelines are meant to provide direction on the expected conduct and responsibilities of the community nurse. The laid down standards include: ethics, knowledge, accountability, competence and proper practical submission of the knowledge in the field (Lashley and deMeneses 2001). The observation of these standards among the community nurses ensures the maintenance of professional conduct that influences the quality care of their clients.
Quality assurance for clients is very essential. This standard guarantees the proper practicing of the nursing knowledge and its application in order to meet the clients’ expectations. This promotes competence among the community nurses. To achieve this, the nurse is required to be consistently educated on his or her role and the standards of quality assurance (Clark 2008). By comprehending their expectations always, nurses in the long run end up maintaining their professional standards which ensure the quality care of their clients. This forms part of their responsibilities.
Another element that constitutes community nursing professional standards is confidentiality. As part of nurses’ responsibilities to their clients, this requirement ensures quality care for clients. The upholding of confidential and private information about their clients guarantees that community nurses operate within the nurse-patient realm. Patients seek after medical services with the understanding that their private data and record are safeguarded by the right individuals, which are the nurses. The observation of this standard leads to the maintenance of professionalism and the delivery of quality care to the clients.
Methods of maintaining Professional Standards to ensure Care for Self and Peers.
The consideration of the methods used to curb stress, burnout and bullying assists in achieving the nurses’ care and that of their peers. The way the community nurse relates to the people around him or her determines the maintenance of professional standards and the care for their peers. There should exist a good working environment among the nurses. Associations built to foster communication and share responsibilities, also ensures care for self and the peers. The participation of nurses in activities such as hobbies aids in reducing stress. The observation of respect among the community nurses helps curb the bullying menace. In case of any problem, the required authority should be informed. As a result of these observations, the self-care of nurses and their peers is ensured (Childers 2004).
Generally, this study illustrated a classic educating atmosphere. The techniques employed to ensure proper congregation and organization of the study facts helps to comprehend the predicaments of this professional field. Furthermore, the analysis and synthesis of the data coupled with the contributions of the participants helped to appreciate the tribulations faced by the community nurses and the ways in which the professional standards could be maintained.
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