Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/51601
Type: Thesis
Title: Action research in preventing workplace burnout in rural remote community mental health nursing.
Author: Petrie, Eileen Margaret
Issue Date: 2008
School/Discipline: School of Population Health and Clinical Practice : Nursing
Abstract: The social phenomenon of stress and workplace burnout has spanned over five decades. Despite a plethora of literature that exists, there still remain problematic issues that neither scientific investigation or government legislation have been able to resolve. The literature examined throughout this research is extensive and does reflect this 50-year period. It demonstrates that studies into this phenomenon have attempted to define stress, identify causal factors of workplace stress, workplace burnout and environmental congruence; and discusses strategies (focused on both the individual and organizational levels) that have been implemented to effect beneficial outcomes for individuals affected by any one of these. As this thesis continues, the more recent literature gives a greater recognition to violence in the workplace and legislative enactments as preventative measures to reduce the heavy burden of costs, both physical and financial, to organizations. This extensive literature review indicates no answer to the problem has been identified to date and that this phenomenon remains, giving a clear indication that further scientific investigation is required to find a solution to what was described as the most serious health issue of the 20th century. Based on the literature examined this health issue has now gone well beyond the 20th century, giving relevance to the research study described in this thesis. The investigation is validated as vital and should be used as a basis for further research. This study undertook a collaborative social process, action research, empowering participants to identify and change stressful factors identified within their practice indicative to rural remote community mental health teams. A critical social theory arose out of the problems within the context of the research setting, based on the ideal that the significant issues for this group of individuals within this organization could be solved through the action research process. The group ‘existed’ within the issues indicative to this rural remote area, however these issues were outside their control. Through the implementation of the action research process courses of actions were undertaken that provided enlightenment in self-knowledge with dialogue heightening collective empowerment to effect change within their practice. The action research process, being a holistic process, facilitated this change in practice, developed and refined theory as it proceeded in a cyclic fashion within this local setting. It concerned actual not abstract practices in the social world in which these participants practice. This methodology facilitated examining the significant stressors identified by the Community Mental Health Support Team (CMHST) that caused distress, allowing them to implement changes in their practice. The forum provided an avenue that could reduce stressors significantly and prevent ongoing occupational stress that contributes to workplace burnout. It offered an opportunity to work with a group of participants in a nonhierarchical and non-exploitative manner and enabled members of this group to identify their roles as effective practitioners, empowering them to effect the changes they deemed as essential criteria to reduce the stress they were experiencing indicative to their remoteness. Critical reviewing throughout the data collection attempted to understand and redefine these significant issues. It aimed to acknowledge the way things were relative to how things could be improved from organizational, personal and wider community perspectives. Simple principles and guidelines of action research were followed potentiating acceptance as a rigorous research approach from a positivist perspective whilst retaining the attributes that characterise action research. There are solutions to the dilemma of the employee overcoming the debilitating effects of stress leading to workplace burnout. This includes the cooperation of managers, policy makers, academic researchers and government officials working collaboratively to reduce the impact of occupational stress. Through this collaborative process, changes can be effected to ensure the health of the nation improves and that relevant recognition is given to the fact that there is a significant threat to a healthy workforce. Examining the nursing profession from a social perspective provides alternatives to medicalising workplace injuries and illnesses.
Advisor: Pearson, Alan
Schultz, Timothy John
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) - University of Adelaide, School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, 2008
Subject: Psychiatric nurses Job stress Australia. Burn-out (Psychology) Prevention. Rural mental health services Australia. Community mental health personnel Job stress Australia.
Keywords: action research; workplace burnout; rural remote; community mental health nursing
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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