A qualitative exploration of flourishing among nurses working in palliative care
Motloung, Keisamang Gaile
MetadataShow full item record
This mini-dissertation presents the findings of a study that qualitatively explored flourishing, as conceptualised in the model proposed by Keyes (2013), among a sample of nurses working in palliative care in South Africa. The topic under investigation focuses on flourishing among nurses working in palliative care in the South African context, a topic about which little is known in the South African context. Given that a large number of stressors associated with their profession and a vast array of negative outcomes have been reported, such as compassion fatigue, moral distress and burnout, it was deemed important to explore how and why some nurses manage to flourish in spite of the stressors of palliative care work. A purposive sampling method was used to obtain 14 participants (all females, 11 black and 3 white) who self-identified as flourishing and were also identified as such by their clinical palliative managers. Participants were recruited from different parts of the Gauteng province in South Africa. Data were collected by means of semi-structured and focus group interviews. All interviews took place at palliative care institutions at Wide Horizon hospice, Steppingstone hospice, Hospice Wits, F.W.C. hospice, East Rand Hospice and Sebokeng Old Age Home and Multipurpose Centre from August 2017-September 2018. Data were analysed by means of thematic analysis. A total of 17 themes emerged from the data in relation to how nurses working in palliative care flourish in South Africa despite being challenged by their work conditions. These include religion and spirituality and associated aspects like faith, prayer and receiving support from clergy, making a difference (generativity), being motivated, having a positive mind-set/attitude towards the job, and having passion for the job. Furthermore, participants mentioned that the support they received from their management team, family and neighbours played a significant role in enabling them to flourish. Some participants also mentioned that receiving counselling is helpful to them as they were able express their feelings about their daily life challenges which helped them in dealing with these challenges. However, for some participants, cultural norms existed that made them unwilling to receive counselling. Moreover, participants expressed that having meaningful and nourishing relationships, both outside and inside the workplace, helped them cope with challenges of their work as they confided in other staff and family members. The participants also pointed out that being actively involved in physical activities enabled them to flourish because it helped induce a positive mental state. Furthermore, participants emphasized the importance of receiving positive feedback from the management team, patients and patient’s families, which contributed to their capacity to flourish. The participants also mentioned that having specific personality traits such as a sense of humour and being introverted helped them cope with stress and challenges they encountered at work. Finally, participants also mentioned that time away from work were essential in supporting their ability to flourish, as they were able to rest and re-energize. The mini-dissertation concludes with a chapter outlining the conclusions, limitations, implications and recommendations that are associated with the study. In addition to recommending the use of quantitative approaches to empirically verify and quantify the findings that emanated from the study, the researcher also recommends that future research on male nurses be conducted as they might experience different pathways to flourishing. It is also recommended that the findings of the study be considered when developing various interventions for counsellors, palliative care organisations and the Department of Health (DoH) in order to assist palliative care nurses who are languishing.
- Humanities