McGill University Ingram School of Nursing,Canada
Title: Experienced Pediatric Nurses’ Perceptions of Work-Related Stressors on General Medical and Surgical Units: A Qualitative Study
Biography: Alexandra De Almeida Vicente
Experienced pediatric nurses caring for increasingly sick and vulnerable children on medical and surgical units may be at particular risk for work-related stress. In view of their positive impact on quality of care, and the fact that they are particularly difficult to retain, it is imperative to understand the work-related stressors these nurses encounter in order to develop effective organizational interventions to minimize stressors and promote retention. The purpose of the study was to explore experienced pediatric nurses’ perceptions of work-related stressors in medical and surgical units. The study was conducted in a quaternary care pediatric hospital in Montreal, Canada. Qualitative descriptive design was chosen with semi-structured interviews. Eligible participants were nurses recognized as experienced by the nursing leadership team as reflected by having been ‘in charge’ of the unit, or having trained junior staff, and who had been practicing full-time for three years or more on a general medical or surgical pediatric unit. Purposive sampling was used, and nurses recruited until data saturation was reached (n = 12). The study findings reveal that nurses described a strong sense of responsibility for providing excellent patient care, and identified stressor that negatively impacted their ability to do so. Stressors are reflected in three themes: (1) “The kids are getting sicker and sicker”: Difficulty ensuring excellent patient care to an increasingly vulnerable population, (2) Feeling powerless to provide quality care, and (3) Being a “Jack-of-all-trades”: Struggling with competing demands. In conclusion, experienced pediatric nurses felt powerless to provide quality care to an increasingly acute and vulnerable population. Dealing with multiple and diverse responsibilities, and limited resources and support, were important stressors.