Sample Nursing Paper on Analyzing Emotional Labour as a Challenge to Nurses

Hildegard Peplau Theory

Nursing interpersonal relation with her patients is a critical issue that the medical experts take caution of when handling. In an attempt to solve the problem, Hildegard Peplau published a theory in 1952 and 1968 known as the Theory of Interpersonal Relations (D’Antonio et al.). In her concept, Peplau proposes four sequential phases that make interpersonal relations when nurses deal with their patients. The stages include orientation, identification, exploitation, and resolution.

Firstly, the orientation phase identifies the problem, which begins when the patient meets the nurse as a stranger. Progressively, the phase continues to define the sort of services the patient needs. Ideally, the patient asks assistance from the nurses by telling them their needs, as questions and share expectations based on experiences. Clearly, the orientation phase is a process in which the nurse assesses the patient’s health and scenario. Secondly, the identification phase takes shape when the health professional selects the appropriate assistance to the patient. At this stage, the patient develops a feeling of belonging and capability of dealing with the problem, hence, reducing the hopelessness and the sadness. Evidently, this step enhances the development of a nursing plan customized to the patient’s situation and goals.

Thirdly, the exploitation phase occurs when the patients acquire professional services. Ideally, the patient develops the feeling of integration due to the environment that the nurses create. During this stage, the patients may make minor requests or seek attention from the nurses. Lastly, the final one is the resolution phase that involves the termination of a professional relationship after patients get the medical assistance from health practitioners.

Importantly, Peplau advises that the nurse should employ interview techniques when communicating with patients. Such technology enables nurses to explore, understand, and deal with the imminent problem. Additionally, the nurses must know the various communication stages because the patient’s independence is likely to stagger. Nevertheless, nurses should help patients move towards the final phase by implementing a nursing plan that is goal-oriented. Cautiously, Peplau asserts that it is necessary for nurses to terminate any bond between them and patients upon completion of the task. As such, her theory is important to the study topic in that it empowers nurses, who face difficulty in handling emotional attachment to the patients. In other words, such health professionals find the fundamental ideas on how to cope with the situation without interfering with their profession.

Literature Review

Gray, Benjamin. ‘The Emotional Labour of Nursing 1: Exploring the Concept.’ Nursing Times 105.8 (2009) 26-29. Web. 4 July 2015

In his article, Gray analyzes the emotional labour that nurses and other medical practitioners face and its implications for the nursing practice. The author asserts that the future research on emotional energy should associate other professions, relatives, as well as patients (26). Again, he insists that there is the need to research more on factors such a gender, personal, and professional barriers since they hamper the recognition of emotional labour.

Ideally, Gray refers to emotional labour as the suppression of feelings to maintain an outward outlook that indicates any sense of care in a convivial place (26). He continues to illustrate that emotional labour happens in face-to-face interaction with the public when workers produce an emotional feeling in front of another individual. For instance, nurses are expected to attach emotionally to control their patients. Most importantly, Grays work is a rich source of literature concerning the problem of the emotional attachment of nurses to their patients. The author does not only give models of emotional labour in health settings but also gives implications of his study to future nursing. For example, he says that nurses usually divide their patients depending on how well or bad such patients are (28). Health care professionals consider patients who resist professional help as bad ones while those cooperating are classified as healthy patients. Clearly, such stratification of patients strains the interpersonal relationship between healthcare professionals and their patients, hence, playing the concept of emotional labor on the nurses. Overall, Gray’s work is intense because it borrows from other scholars to make his arguments firm.

Lachman, Vicki D. ‘Strategies Necessary for Moral Courage.’ The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing 15.3 (2010): n. p. Web. 4 July. 2015.

Secondly, Lachman also highlights some important issues concerning the emotional attachment that a nurse may feel towards their patients. Practically, he borrows a lot from other authors such as Nightingale to explain the concept that moral, as virtue is very necessary for the healthcare sector. The author reminds that the existing professional nursing associations such as the American Nursing Association (ANA) give the explicit code of ethics for the nurse and other health care professionals to follow. However, given the intermediary nature of the health care setting, sometimes the ethical dilemmas possess emotional labour to medical practitioner overwhelmingly. For instance, the nurses need to keep the professional distance from their patients to uphold integrity, but what if sometimes neglecting a particular code of ethics enables a nurse to save patient’s life.

The author sums up the argument by insisting that nurses must uphold the values at any cost to avoid any liability whatsoever. However, she proposes that the relationship between emotional labour and moral dilemma needs scrutiny. Critically, Lachman’s work contributes to the issue of emotional labour by illustrating how ethics may also be a burden to those practices; hence, it creates emotional attachment, especially to the health care practitioners.

Sawbridge, Yvonne, and Alistair Hewison. ‘Thinking About the Emotional Labour of Nursing – Supporting Nurses to Care.’ Journal of Health Organization and Management 127.1 (2013): 127 – 133. Web. 4 July 2015.

Sawbridge and Hewson portray some of the issues that nurses face in the line of work, which promotes to the emotional burden they feel. They assert that most hospitals have no appropriate measures and conditions to enable nurses cope with their emotional labour problem. Interestingly, this article acknowledges the fact that health care professionals face a challenge when it comes to handling their patients (130). Some practitioners find it challenging to offer the needed emotional support to patients in helping them recover well. On the contrary, some nurses get over emotions when treating patients, a phenomenon that is ethical, according to medical ethics. The authors insist health institutions should create a favourable environment that facilitates nurses in dealing with their emotional burden. Ideally, Sawbridge and Hewson are critical to this study research because it illustrates that even hospitals and other medical facilities should play a role in helping their workers cope with emotional challenges.

Msiska, Gladys, Pam Smith, and Tonks Fawcett. ‘Exposing Emotional Labour Experienced by Nursing Students During their Clinical Learning Experience: A Malawian Perspective.’ International Journal of Africa Nursing Sciences (2014): 43-50. Web. 4 July. 2015.

Msiska, Smith, and Fawcett expose the emotional labour concept from an African perspective. They bring out another view that consists of the new variable, that is, African health setting and health students’ concerns. Practically, the study revealed that emotional problems accompany clinical learning. Eventually, medical students such as nurses have to meet the real practice in the medical field where they have to deal with real patients, not experiments. The authors assert that even when students are in the process of learning in the areas, they engage in emotional labour management. To reach their conclusions, the authors documented the narrative accounts of students’ experience while in clinical practice. Vividly, the students narrated their caring escapades, encountering the death of patients they cared for, and the fatigue they had to endure after such incidents during their attachments at the hospitals in Malawi.

Most importantly, the study gives evidence that effective teaching and learning need to incorporate the aspects of emotional labour seriously to enable clinical students manage their emotional encounters in the field appropriately. Fundamentally, the understanding of emotional labour will facilitate the creation of a clinical learning environment that conceptualizes the emotions in all dimensions, especially for students in Malawi. The study also brings the view that emotional labour is a component that the majority of nurses encounter around the globe.

To sum up all the facts and findings, the above literature gives plentiful references to the concept of emotional labour by covering all aspects that the challenge may present to health practitioners. My project is investigating the extent of the emotional burden to the nurses in their nursing profession. Additionally, the study will use the above literature in researching about the measures that leaders in the health care sector are doing to help practitioners cope emotionally.



Works Cited

D’Antonio, Patricia et al. “The Future in the Past: Hildegard Peplau and Interpersonal Relations in Nursing.” Nursing Inquiry 21.4 (2014): 311-317. Web.

Gray, Benjamin. “The Emotional Labour of Nursing 1: Exploring the Concept.” Nursing Times 105.8 (2009): 26-29. Web. 4 July 2015.

Lachman, Vicki D. “Strategies Necessary for Moral Courage.” The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing 15.3 (2010): n. pag. Web. 4 July 2015.

‘Msiska, Gladys, Pam Smith, and Tonks Fawcett. “Exposing Emotional Labour Experienced by Nursing Students During their Clinical Learning Experience: A Malawian Perspective.” International Journal of Africa Nursing Sciences (2014): 43-50. Web. 4 July. 2015.

Sawbridge, Yvonne, and Alistair Hewison. “Thinking About the Emotional Labour of Nursing – Supporting Nurses to Care.” Journal of Health Organization and Management 127.1 (2013): 127 – 133. Web. 4 July 2015.