Research Proposal: Nursing Conceptual Model Develop Your Own

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Nursing Conceptual Model

Develop your own conceptual model

Nurse conceptual model: Nurse 'burnout'

The most common reason nurses cite for entering the profession is their desire to help others. However, because nurses are often placed in the position of caretakers, they seldom have the ability to engage in positive self-care, especially under highly stressful situations when a patient's life is at risk, or when the organization for which they work is understaffed yet depends upon split-second, accurate reactions by the nurse. The result of these pressures is the phenomena of nurse burnout, a state of being which manifests itself in physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms and, if left untreated and ignored, can result in the nurse leaving his or her current position and even the profession of nursing entirely (Burnout: Warning signs, 2009). Nurse burnout is a serious issue, given the increasingly critical shortages of nurses across the nation. To reduce the rate of burnout amongst nurses, it is important to define its core features, which contain physical, emotional, and behavioral manifestations.

Physical symptoms

Physical symptoms of burnout are manifestations of burnout that affect the physical body or person of the nurse. Nursing is a demanding profession, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Because of the lack of nurses at many facilities, "many nurses work 12-hour shifts and have more schedules during which they work on their feet all day, lifting, rolling, and moving equipment and patients" (Gelinas 2003). A nurse can never simply 'coast' through her day: unlike an office worker, he or she must be 'on' every second of a shift. The physical demands may manifest themselves in back pain, swollen feet, or other occupational injuries. Also, the mental and intellectual demands put upon the person of the nurse may result in physical symptoms, such as high blood pressure, nausea, a craving for high-carbohydrate food or an inability to eat, and other manifestations of a high-stress response.

Additionally, like many shift workers, particularly those who do not see a great deal of daylight because of their eccentric hours, nurses may find it difficult to eat and sleep properly simply due to their schedule. This is how the nurse's 'environment' may predispose the nurse to an unhealthy physical state. A poor diet, addiction to caffeine or nicotine, and even prescription and non-prescription stimulants are ways that nurses may self-medicate to get through a difficult day, ironically sacrificing their own health while they take care of the health their patients. "Fewer nurses mean more work for all. Inadequate staffing results in a tailspin of events that is ultimately doomed to failure, resulting not only in loss of energy, burnout and disengagement, but also eventual loss of nurses. Many nurses feel overburdened by heavy patient loads and the increasing intensity of service that sicker patients require. They'll work a double shift today when asked, but leave tomorrow" when the demands become too great, and the nurse simply breaks down from the pressure (Gelinas 2003).

Physical stresses upon nurse demonstrate how health is holistic in nature -- a nurse cannot be physically healthy enough to take care of others if the environment places unsupportable physical and emotional demands upon the nurse's health. If the job requires physical heavy lifting, monitoring too many patients, and no counseling and professional support services, the nurse cannot physically sustain the demands of nursing for a long period of time, even if the nurse can do so in the short-term. A lack of opportunities for positive self-care, such as access to healthy food and sleep is also a contributing factor in burnout. A hospital that lacks such elements is especially debilitating to nurses doing long shifts at night, where there may be few opportunities to obtain decent food, or a decent place to rest.

Emotional

The emotional manifestations of burnout are the symptoms that are manifested psychologically, or within the nurse's psyche. They may be the most spiritually and psychologically debilitating, even though they are the least visible to others. Dealing with patients experiencing catastrophic illnesses can take an emotional… [END OF PREVIEW]

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