Exploring the behavioural manifestation of work-stress among ED nurses at the point of patient care

Jacqueline C. Ingram1, Trudy Dwyer2, Kerry Reid-Searl3, Tania Signal4

1 Central Queensland University, Bruce Highway, Rockhampton, QLD, 4700, j.ingram@cqu.edu.au
2 Central Queensland University, Bruce Highway, Rockhampton, QLD, 4700, t.dwyer@cqu.edu.au
3 Central Queensland University, Bruce Highway, Rockhampton, QLD, 4700, k.reid-searl@cqu.edu.au
4 Central Queensland University, Bruce Highway, Rockhampton, QLD, 4700, t.signal@cqu.edu.au

This presentation provides preliminary results and an overview of recent research into the behavioural manifestation of work-stress among ED nurses at the point of patient care. The main aim of this research is to explore if/how work-stress among ED nurses impacts upon their professional conduct towards patients and the conflict resolution tactics they employ within the therapeutic relationship. Additionally, this research will explore whether demographic characteristics including work-experience, abuse at the hands of patients, work environment and training are predictive of work-stress, professional conduct or conflict resolution skills.  Historically, it is well established that work-stress such as burnout, compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress and poor professional quality of life are common among ED nurses and can have devastating personal consequences. While much is already known about the ways in which work-stress affects nurses’ health and home-lives, nothing is really known about if/how work-stress tangibly affects their behaviour during day-to-day interactions with patients. As such, this research is the first of it’s kind and addresses a significant gap in nursing knowledge.  Due to the underexplored nature of the subject, the current research adopts a sequential explanatory mixed method approach.  Phase-one consists of the collection of quantitative data via an online survey.  Work-stress will be measured using the ProQOL V survey while an adaptation of the Conflict Tactics Scale will be used to assess professional conduct and conflict resolution skills. Analysis of the quantitative data will then inform the specific content of phase-two consisting of semi-structured telephone interviews. Finally, quantitative and qualitative data will be amalgamated to produce a contextualised understanding of the problem.  With an emphasis on ED nurses’ lived experiences and the inclusion of real-life scenarios this research seeks to give voice to font-line ED nurses so that those outside this specialist field can understand the unique challenges and pressures faced by ED nurses and the effect this might have on the nurse-patient relationship.

Biography

Jacqueline is a PhD candidate through Central Queensland University with almost 20 years ED nursing experience. Jacqueline has completed undergraduate degrees in Nursing, Health Promotion and Health Education. She received 1st class Honours for her research into the abuse of ED nurses by their clients and colleagues. Jacqueline’s key areas of interest are emergency nursing, workplace violence, professional conduct, ethical decision making and patient’s rights.