Emotional labour in oncology and haematology nursing: exploring effects and coping strategies
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Emotional labour in oncology and haematology nursing: exploring effects and coping strategies

Alice Ryan Clinical nurse specialist, haematology, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, Bath, England
Debbie Cross Senior nurse lecturer, nursing and midwifery, University of the West of England Bristol, Bristol, England
Judith Worthington Senior nurse lecturer, health and social care, University of the West of England Bristol, Bristol, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To find out how oncology and haematology nurses describe the emotional demands of their role

  • To read about formal and informal methods of mitigating the negative effects of emotional labour

  • To reflect on your own positive and negative experiences of emotional labour

Background Emotional labour can lead to emotional exhaustion and burnout, which contributes to a high turnover in the nursing workforce.

Aim The study had three aims: to investigate how nurses working on an oncology and haematology ward managed the emotional labour involved in patient care; to determine whether there were differences in resilience and coping strategies between less experienced and more experienced participants; and to explore strategies that could assist less experienced nurses in managing the emotional labour of patient care.

Method A preparatory literature review was undertaken, following which six registered nurses participated in individual semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes in the interview transcripts.

Findings The themes that emerged were divided into two broad categories: factors that contributed to the challenging nature of nursing shifts and factors that reduced the challenging nature of nursing shifts. The second category had two subcategories: personal resources and institutional resources. Personal resources included experience, resilience, coping mechanisms, support networks and compassion satisfaction. Institutional resources included training and team support.

Conclusion There was no clear differences in coping strategies between less experienced and more experienced nurses. To mitigate the negative effects of emotional labour, oncology and haematology nurses could benefit from stress management training and ongoing clinical supervision with a focus on the restorative aspect.

Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2022.e1815

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@yellowbangles

Correspondence

aliceryan@nhs.net

Conflict of interest

None declared

Ryan A, Cross D, Worthington J (2022) Emotional labour in oncology and haematology nursing: exploring effects and coping strategies. Cancer Nursing Practice. doi: 10.7748/cnp.2022.e1815

Published online: 27 June 2022

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