Original Research

Exploring resilience in nurses caring for older persons

Petronella Benadé, Emmerentia du Plessis, Magdalena P. Koen
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 22 | a1021 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v22i0.1021 | © 2017 Petronella Benadé, Emmerentia du Plessis, Magdalena P. Koen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 October 2017 | Published: 10 October 2017

About the author(s)

Petronella Benadé, INSINQ Research Focus Area, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa
Emmerentia du Plessis, INSINQ Research Focus Area, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa
Magdalena P. Koen, North-West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa

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Abstract

Background: A shortage of nurses caring for older persons is experienced due to adverse working conditions. Resilience might empower nurses to persevere while caring for older persons. Research regarding the resilience of nurses caring for older persons is scarce.

Objectives: The objectives were to explore and describe the strengths and coping abilities of nurses caring for older persons and to formulate recommendations to strengthen their resilience.

Methodology: An explorative, descriptive qualitative research design was used. An allinclusive sample of nurses caring for older persons in an urban setting in the North West Province, South Africa, participated in the study. During phase one, demographic information was obtained, and narratives were written (n = 43). Four focus group interviews were conducted in phase two (n = 17) and recommendations were formulated in phase three. Content analysis was used.

Principal results: Participants experienced adverse working circumstances while caring for older persons and they needed resilience to balance the emotional nature of the work, work ethics, staff shortages, physical demands of the work and the dependency of the older persons. These nurses used personal, professional, contextual and spiritual strengths to handle adverse working conditions.

Conclusions: By applying their personal, professional, contextual and spiritual strengths, nurses could further enhance these strengths and possibly their resilience. The participants' identified strengths were used to formulate recommendations to strengthen resilience of nurses caring for older persons.


Keywords

Adverse working conditions; Care of older persons; Challenges encountered in caring for older persons; Nurses' strengths; Resilience of nurses

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