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Workplace Distress and Ethical Dilemmas in Neuroscience Nursing

Silén, Marit; Tang, Ping Fen; Wadensten, Barbro; Ahlström, Gerd

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: August 2008 - Volume 40 - Issue 4 - p 222–231
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This study concerns Swedish nurses' experiences of workplace stress and the occurrence of ethical dilemmas in a neurological setting. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 21 nurses. The interview results were subjected to qualitative latent content analysis and sorted into 4 content areas: workplace distress, ethical dilemmas, managing distress and ethical dilemmas, and quality of nursing. Common workplace stressors were high workload and lack of influence. These were perceived to have negative consequences for the quality of nursing. Ethical dilemmas mainly concerned decision making on initiation or withdrawal of treatment, which was experienced as a troublesome situation where conflicts could arise. The nurses managed the distress and ethical dilemmas by accepting and adjusting to the situation and seeking support from colleagues. They also endeavored to gain new strength in their private lives.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Marit Silén, MSc RN, atmarit.silen@hhj.hj.se.Silén is a doctoral student at the School of Health Sciences, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden.

Ping Fen Tang, MSc RN, is a professor and vice dean at the School of Nursing, Kunming Medical University, Yunnan, People's Republic of China.

Barbro Wadensten, PhD RN, is a researcher at Uppsala University and leader of nursing research and development in the Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, Uppsala University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.

Gerd Ahlström, PhD RN RNT, is a professor and dean at the School of Health Sciences, Jönköping, Sweden.

© 2008 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses