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Ways of Coping: Understanding Workplace Stress and Coping Mechanisms for Hospice Nurses

Harris, LaToya JM (2013) Ways of Coping: Understanding Workplace Stress and Coping Mechanisms for Hospice Nurses. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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OBJECTIVE: Hospice programs consider nursing their primary source of professional services. Recruitment and retainment of hospice nurses has been a challenge in the last decade due in part to workplace stress. This research seeks to expand the current body of knowledge surrounding the coping process for this group. Additionally, this research explores the availability and adequacy of workplace resources in order to recommend how organizations can assist in the coping process.

METHODS: This study included registered and licensed practical nurses. Eligible subjects were invited to participate in focus group sessions. Participants also completed a survey that collected demographic information and assessed coping strategies through the use of the Ways of Coping Questionnaire. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Content analysis was performed on interview data. Descriptive statistics and bivariate correlations were performed on the quantitative data.

RESULTS: Hospice nurses reported that social support, humor and prayer/meditation were the most effective coping mechanisms. The majority of the participants shared that their hospice agencies offered no formal resources to assist them in times of stress. Informal resources emphasized individual efforts at ameliorating stress that offer little to no long-term therapeutic value. Quantitative results supported focus group feedback in regards to most frequently used strategies. Moderate associations were found between hospice nurse experience and planful problem solving and seeking social support.

CONCLUSION: Traditional approaches to combat workplace stress have focused solely on individual efforts. Organizations have an opportunity to develop quality workplace resources that consider the person-environment relationship and build upon coping strategies that nurses find most effective. This information challenges organizations to explore and make available beneficial coping resources with their staff.

PUBLIC HEALTH SIGNIFICANCE: Hospice nurses have been identified as a high-risk group for burnout and fatigue as a consequence of workplace stress. The results of this study indicate that there are disparate programs across hospice settings to assist nurses in coping with job stress. Further, hospice nurses consider these efforts to be primarily inadequate and ineffective. Future research should focus on identifying standard policies and practices that best protect this group from injury and illness and ensures the longevity of hospice care.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Harris, LaToya
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairAlbert, Stevensmalbert@pitt.eduSMALBERT
Committee MemberTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberFriedman, Markmsf11@pitt.eduMSF11
Committee MemberHapp, Mary
Date: 30 January 2013
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 8 November 2012
Approval Date: 30 January 2013
Submission Date: 21 November 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 141
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: DrPH - Doctor of Public Health
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: coping, workplace stress, hospice care, social support, humor, prayer
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2013 15:43
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:08

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