Nursing-Related Qualities, Personality and Work Satisfaction - Assistant Nurses in a Ten-Year Perspective

Detta är en avhandling från Department of Psychology, Box 213, SE-221 00 Lund

Sammanfattning: The personalities and qualities of nursing personnel are considered to be of great importance for their interactions with patients and may also influence work satisfaction. The aim of the thesis was to explore the extent to which different personal qualities and personality factors, with a possible effect on motivation, professional conduct, and coping with anxiety, are represented in a group of assistant nurses (in Swedish undersköterskor), and how these qualities are related to nursing competence and long-range work satisfaction. A group of 51 female nursing students (mean age 31.8 years) participated in the study. The nursing-related qualities were empathy, sensitivity to non-verbal communication, feelings of discomfort in different nursing situations and work satisfaction. The personality factors were psychogenic needs and defence mechanisms. Relations between base data were explored in papers I, II and III. Paper I: No correlation was found between the degree of affective empathy and the sensitivity to non-verbal communication. Affective empathy, i.e. the ability to share other people’s feelings, was negatively related to the presence of the identity defence of not recognising a separate identity. Introaggression was related to an enhanced capacity for apprehending non-verbal expressions. Presence of the mechanism of isolation appeared to be related to a lower degree of sensitivity. Paper II: The degree of affective empathy appeared to be correlated to social needs such as the need for affiliation and the need to help and care for other people. Sensitivity to non-verbal communication was correlated to the non-neurotic dominance factor and to an increased need to help and care for people.Paper III: Subjects with the defence mechanism of repression experienced a lesser degree of discomfort than the rest of the subjects when seeing patients with an amputated breast or an amputated leg. Subjects with an insecure sex identity experienced a higher degree of discomfort in the same situation. Subjects characterised by the defence mechanism of isolation experienced considerably more discomfort than the others in close contact with different bodily excretions. At a follow-up two years later, 43 of the subjects were interviewed, work satisfaction was assessed, and nursing competence was appraised. At a follow-up ten years after completion of nursing school, 33 subjects took part in a telephone interview. Work satisfaction was assessed in 23 subjects still working as assistant nurses.Paper IV: Cluster analysis performed on baseline data resulted in four groups: ‘empathic’, ‘discomfort prone’, ‘service-minded’ and ‘dominant’. At the first follow-up, the service-minded had the greatest work satisfaction, with many considered to be ‘real jewels’. At the second follow-up eight years later, there appeared to be an overrepresentation of injuries and long-term sick leave in this group, whose members had apparent difficulties in being dominant and asserting own interests. Work satisfaction diminished in all the groups over time. Long-term work satisfaction was positively related to degree of empathy and negatively related to degree of sensitivity to aggressive expressions.

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