OJN  Vol.5 No.5 , May 2015
Experiences of Staying Healthy in Relationally Demanding Jobs: An Interpretative Phenomenological Study of Work-Engaged Nurses in the Hospital
Abstract: Background: Based on the experience of hospital nurses, the aim of this study is to explore the phenomenon of how work-engaged nurses stay healthy in relationally demanding jobs involving very sick and/or dying patients. Method: In-depth interviews were conducted with ten work-engaged nurses employed at the main hospital in one region in Norway. The interviews were interpreted using the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis method (IPA). Results: The results indicate the importance of using the personal resources: authenticity and a sense of humour for staying healthy. The nurses’ authenticity, in the sense of having a strong sense of ownership towards their personal life experiences, and a sense of having a meaningful life in line with their own values and interests, was an important element when they considered their own health to be good in spite of repetitive strain injuries and perceived stress. These personal resources seem to be positively related to their well-being and work engagement, which serves as an argument for including them among other personal resources, often conceptualized in terms of Psychological Capital (PsyCap). The results also showed that the nurses worked actively and intentionally with conditions that could contribute to safeguarding their own health. Conclusion: The results indicated the importance of stimulating the nurses’ area of knowledge about caring for themselves in order to enable them to maintain good physical and mental health. A focus on self-care should be part of the agenda as early as during nursing education.
Cite this paper: Bjarnadottir, A. and Vik, K. (2015) Experiences of Staying Healthy in Relationally Demanding Jobs: An Interpretative Phenomenological Study of Work-Engaged Nurses in the Hospital. Open Journal of Nursing, 5, 437-450. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2015.55047.

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