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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848


ELKONIN, Diane  and  VAN DER VYVER, Lizelle. Positive and negative emotional responses to work-related trauma of intensive care nurses in private health care facilities. Health SA Gesondheid (Online) [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.1, pp.1-8. ISSN 2071-9736.

Intensive care nursing is a stressful occupation and nurses are continually subjected to both primary and secondary trauma. Responses may be positive in the form of compassion satisfaction, or negative in the form of compassion fatigue. However, nurses tend to deny the negative impact of secondary trauma which leads to the silencing response and subsequent burnout. This article explores and describes the presence of these emotions and the relationships between them. A quantitative approach with a non-probability sampling method was used. The sample consisted of 30 registered nurses working in private health care intensive care units in East London, Eastern Cape. Data were gathered via the Professional Quality of Life Scale: Compassion Satisfaction and Fatigue Subscales - Revision IV (ProQOL - R-IV) and the Silencing Response Scale and were analysed according to descriptive statistics and correlation coefficients. Findings suggest a high risk for compassion fatigue, a moderate risk for burnout and the silencing response and moderate potential for compassion satisfaction. A marked negative relationship was found between compassion satisfaction and burnout and a substantial positive relationship between compassion fatigue and burnout, as well as compassion fatigue and the silencing response.

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