Effects of the stress management intervention amonsgt intensive care nurses in a Gauteng public hospital

Haarde, Marlise
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Background: South African professional nurses, working in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) experience many physical and psycho-social hazards and risks. Stress, provoked by failure to meet work demands, leads to illness, injury and psychological suffering. This in turn may result in absenteeism and to the nurse abandoning the profession. It is therefore necessary for healthcare administrators to address the aspects leading to nurse stress and work burnout. Setting: The study was conducted in the adult intensive care units of a public sector hospital. Purpose of the study: The purpose of the study was to develop and pilot test a stress management intervention for professional nurses practising in ICUs. Method: A quasi-experimental non-equivalent control group design was selected for this study. It comprised of pre-testing, development and implementation of the intervention and post testing. Both groups of professional nurses were recruited from the same hospital by means of convenience sampling. Each group was asked to complete the Expanded Nurses Stress Scale (ENSS). The Intervention group participated in the educational intervention on stress management. The control group received no form of any intervention. Both groups completed the ENSS, four weeks after completion of the intervention. The intervention group of participants also completed a stress management intervention assessment form in order to collect feedback for the evaluation of the workshop and the researcher. The quantitative data was analysed by means of descriptive summary statistics. Results: There was clear evidence of significant differences (p=0.000) emerging in all 9 subscale total average scores with respect to level of stress when considering the pre-test score and the post-test score. This indicates the stress management intervention had an effect on the stress levels of nurses practicing in the ICUs at the selected study sites. Evaluation of stress management intervention workshop also revealed that an overwhelming (>87%) number of nurse participants experienced all activities as meaningful, with contributory worth. Recommendations arising from the study findings are put forward for intensive care nursing practice, occupational health nursing, executive hospital management and further research. Key words: intensive care, nurses, stress management intervention.
A research dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Nursing