Exploring nursing staffs communication in stressful and non-stressful situations
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Nursing Management 2015 10.1111/jonm.12319
Aim: To explore the factors that characterise the work environment, focusing on communication among nurses in stressful and non-stressful situations. Background: Nursing is often described as a stressful occupation. Implementation of change may be an additional stress factor. Methods: Nurses and assistant nurses completed a questionnaire from two different perspectives, ‘communication in non-stressful situations’ and ‘communication under stress’. The Systematising Person-Group Relations method was used to gather and analyse the data. Results: When the two perspectives, ‘communication in non-stressful situations’ and ‘communication under stress’, were compared, there were significant differences in 8 of the 12 factors. The stressful situations were characterised by low values in task orientation, caring, criticism, loyalty, acceptance, engagement and empathy; only the factor creativity had higher scores. Conclusion: The stressful situations were characterised by creative and spontaneous behaviour, not by task orientation and engagement, indicating a potential patient safety risk. Implications for nurse management: There is a need to help health-care workers develop more mature analytical and task-oriented behaviours related to both independent work and collaboration in stressful situations. Nursing leadership and organisation must focus on healthy work environments to promote engaged communication in stressful situations, ultimately increasing patient safety.