Coping with Occupational Stress among Nursing Staff by Participatory Action Research

Reference: Morano-Baez, R., Albar, M. J., García-Nieto, A. A., García-Ramírez, M. y Prieto-Guerrero, M. M. (2009). Afrontamiento del estrés ocupacional entre profesionales de enfermería hospitalaria desde la investigación acción participativa. Enfermería Clínica, 19, 240-248. doi: 

Abstract: Objective: To describe a collaborative practice focused on coping with the occupational stress among nursing staff in a hospital setting.

Method: These practices focus on the contextualization of the problems and the design and implementation of actions using the psychopolitical model and the participatory action research (PAR) methodology. Participants were the nurses of 4 units of internal medicine at the public hospital “Virgen Macarena” in Seville. We have used the ISTAS questionnaire, interviews and discussion groups through which nurses and researchers have assessed, defined, proposed and implemented different actions in order to improve their work conditions.

Results: Problematic situations detected by the questionnaires are associated to psychological demands, role conflicts and esteem. The main cause of stress in healthcare professionals is the lack of staff, according to the opinion laid by supervisors. In the discussion groups, nurses accorded to get involved in three situations: a) the need of the continuous presence of an orderly to move patients which aren’t autonomous; b) the need of controlling visit hours and the number of accompanying people with each patient; and c) the need to improve the registration of the activities assigned to nursing staff.

Conclusions: Among the strength of the psychopolitical model and PAR in a hospital context we must emphasize on the mobilization of professionals and the development of a critical consciousness. Among the weakness, those derived from bureaucratic processes. These barriers imply a challenge for change and organizational development.

Keywords: Occupational stress, Participatory action research, Collaborative practice, Nursing, Psychopolitical model.

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