Background: Working with terminally ill patients places palliative care and hospice nurses at risk of chronic stress, mental health problems and burnout.
Aim: This study investigated the source and level of workplace stress experienced by palliative care nurses in Australia.
Methods: Seventy-one palliative care nurses completed a self-report questionnaire based on the Nurse Stress Index and the Nursing Stress Scale. Information was collected about aspects of work-related stress and level of stress.
Results: While the overall level of participants’ stress was low, older participants experienced significantly less stress than younger participants. More than 50% of participants experienced 48 of the 53 stressors. The main sources of stress related to ‘death and dying’, ‘workload’ and ‘dealing with patients and relatives’. The two stressors experienced by all participants were ‘watching a patient suffer’ and ‘dealing with patient and family conflict’.
Conclusions: These findings have implications for managers, educators and policymakers in relation to adequate nurse-to-patient ratios, education for staff and an evaluation of how palliative care nurses are supported in the workplace.
Conflicts of interest: none
- Palliative and end-of-life care
- Predictors of stress
- Workplace stressors
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