Article Review Oncology Nursing Forum

Article: “Wu, S., Singh-Carlson, S., Odell, A., Reynolds, G., & Yuhua, S. (2016). Compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction among oncology nurses in the United States and Canada. Oncology Nursing Forum, 43(4), E161-E169. doi:10.1188/16.ONF.E161-E169” Article Review Oncology Nursing Forum

Introduction

Wu et al. (2016) is a nine-page journal article that examines the experiences of oncology nurses in the USA and Canada with regards to compassion fatigue, burnout and compassion satisfaction in the professional environment. It notes that nursing personnel innately recognize pain and suffering, and take responsibility to offer relief thereby tasking their capacity for kindness, compassion and competence. Given that the nursing professional is founded on the need to offer quality compassionate care, it is not surprising that oncology nurses capacity for kindness, compassion and competence would be placed under greater strain given the challenging nature of cancer progression, care and prognosis. Given this awareness, the study intended to examine the experiences of compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction among oncology nurses in the United States and Canada.

Research question

The study had two main objectives. Firstly, it intended to evaluate the experiences of oncology nurses with regards to compassion fatigue, burnout and compassion satisfaction in their professional environment. Secondly, it sought to identify the differences that existed between the experiences that oncology nurses in the USA reported and the experiences that their counterparts in Canada reported. Given these intentions, the study identified two research questions. Firstly: What demographic, personal, health, and work related characteristics contribute to the risk for compassion fatigue and burnout among oncology nurses in the United States compared to those in Canada? Secondly: What is the relationship between compassion fatigue, burnout, and compassion satisfaction among oncology nurses in the United States compared to nurses in Canada, given the differing healthcare systems and organization of healthcare delivery? Addressing the two questions was anticipated to address the research intentions. Article Review Oncology Nursing Forum

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Research design

The study adopted a quantitative, descriptive and non-experimental approach. This entailed the use of surveys to collect primary data from participants. This approach was considered appropriate since it allowed for a large number of participants to be included in the study while collecting the required data. Although the applied design collected the required data, it missed the qualitative elements of the research problem, particularly the possibility of exploring the problem further and asking additional questions. In essence, the selected approach presents the possibility that a thematic saturation will not be achieved. As such, the study would have been best served by applying a mixed methodology approach that included elements of quantitative and qualitative methodology.

Research sample

The study sample comprised of 549 oncology nurses of which 486 nurses were from the USA while the remaining 63 nurses were from Canada. The participants were recruited from among CANO and ONS members using an email invitation. The number is considered a convenient sample since all the members who met the criteria for inclusion (5,000 members) had been approached for inclusion and only 549 members consented to participate in the study. This number can be considered appropriate since it included all the potential participants who were interested in participating in the study. Although the sample is a convenient number, it is 10% of the members who had initially been approached thereby making the results generalizable. Article Review Oncology Nursing Forum

Data collection method

The data collection relied on an online delivered survey managed by the researchers. The survey used version 5 of Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL) scale and a modified Abendroth Demographic Questionnaire that were delivered through FluidSurveys™, an online-based data collection instrument. Prior to the research commencement, ethical approval was sought from ethics research committee at the California State University, Long Beach. Before inclusion, all potential participants received an email that informed them about the research intentions, asked them to sign an electronic version of the consent form before directing them to the survey site. Overall, the study explains how data was collected to facilitate replication while also showing that ethical principles were observed to include protecting the participants along with voluntary participation.

Limitations of the study

The study identified some limitations that may have reduced the research value. Firstly, although there was a large number of responses, they were mainly from USA with only 63 oncology nurses participating from Canada thereby making it difficult to generalize the research results for Canada. This limitation can be addressed by recruiting a larger number of participants from Canada. Secondly, the study only recruited 27 male participants all from the USA to imply that they only represented 6% of USA participants with no male participants recruited in Canada. This implies that male perceptions were not collected. This limitation can be addressed by recruiting a larger number of male participants. The final limitation is that the study is that it included a large age range thus making it difficult to determine the significance of age. This limitation can be addressed by having smaller age brackets in relation to individual subscales.

Findings reported in the study

The study made three significant findings. Firstly, having a supportive environment significantly reduced compassion fatigue and burnout while increasing compassion satisfaction. Secondly, working in a team created a supportive environment. Finally, having a positive environment enhanced the capacity of oncology nurses to offer higher quality patient care and ensure safety. Given that these findings are based on primary research outcomes after statistical analysis, they can be considered credible. Besides that, the findings answer the research questions by identifying the best strategy for reducing compassion fatigue and burnout among oncology nurses while increasing compassion satisfaction. Article Review Oncology Nursing Forum

Summary

One must accept that compassion fatigue is a source of concern among oncology nurses since it hinders their capacity to delivery care. The study presented in Wu et al. (2016) elucidates this concern by applying a quantitative research approach to collect primary data. Evaluation of the collected data determined that working as teams in supportive environments significantly reduced compassion fatigue and burnout while increasing compassion satisfaction. Given that the research findings are based on primary research outcomes, then the results can be considered credible enough to suggest a change in oncology practice with the focus on having practice teams with supportive environments. Article Review Oncology Nursing Forum

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