Articles

Professional quality of life of nurses in critical care units: Influence of demographic characteristics

E Ndlovu, C Filmalter, J Jordaan, T Heyns

Abstract


Background. Professional quality of life, measured as compassion satisfaction, is a prerequisite for nurses working in intensive care units where patients rely on their care. Nurses who experience compassion satisfaction, or good professional quality of life, engage enthusiastically with all work activities and render quality patient care. In contrast, compassion fatigue eventually leads to disengagement from work activities and unsatisfactory patient outcomes. In this study, we described the demographic factors influencing professional quality of life of intensive care nurses working in public hospitals in Gauteng, South Africa (SA), during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Objective. To describe the demographic factors associated with professional quality of life of critical care nurses working in Gauteng, SA.
Methods. In this cross-sectional study, we used total population sampling and invited all nurses who had worked for at least 1 year in one of the critical care units of three selected public hospitals in Gauteng to participate. One-hundred and fifty-four nurses responded and completed the ProQol-5 tool during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics.
Results. The nurses’ average age was 45 years, and 59.1% (n=91) had an additional qualification in critical care nursing. Most of the nurses had a diploma (51.3%;n=79), with a mean work experience of 12.56 years. The main demographic variables that influenced professional quality of life were years of work experience (p=0.047), nurses’ education with specific reference to a bachelor’s degree (p=0.006) and nurse-patient ratio (p<0.001).
Conclusions. Nurses working in critical care units in public hospitals in Gauteng experienced low to moderate compassion satisfaction, moderate to high burnout and secondary traumatic stress, suggesting compassion fatigue. The high workload, which may have been associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, influenced nurses’ professional quality of life.

Authors' affiliations

E Ndlovu, Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

C Filmalter, Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

J Jordaan, Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

T Heyns, Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Cite this article

Southern African Journal of Critical Care 2022;38(1):39.

Article History

Date submitted: 2022-05-06
Date published: 2022-05-06

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