How Much Compassion Have I Left? An Exploration of Occupational Stress Among Children's Palliative Care Nurses
International journal of palliative nursing 2010 May; 16(5): 233-40
Nursing is a stressful occupation. While children's palliative care nurses encounter many of the stressors in common with other nurses, this unique context of care generates specific aspects of stress that warrant further examination. This qualitative study explores the experiences of stress in nurses providing children's palliative care in one region of the UK. In total, four focus groups took place with children's hospice nurses, community children's nurses and children's nurse specialists based in the regional children's hospital. The focus groups were taped, transcribed and analysed through the application of Newell and Burnard's thematic content analysis methodology. Four core themes emerged: work demands; relationships, maintaining control, and support and roles. Of particular note were stressors associated with the sub-themes of relationships, emotional demands and ethical conflicts. Conclusions illustrating how individuals and organizations may reduce the impact of stress in nurses contributing to the palliative care of children and their families are made.
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