Resilience of auxiliary nurses caring for intellectually disabled patients
Nthekang, Steven Dithapelo Mlungu
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Background: Although mental health is regarded by the International Council of Nurses (ICN) as a very important element of wellness, healthcare to patients with intellectual disabilities still remains neglected and under-resourced in most societies. Auxiliary nurses are crucial in providing nursing care to patients with intellectual disabilities. These nurses may not be prepared to handle challenges in caring for patients with intellectual disabilities, but their resilience can help them to manage these challenges. Limited research is available with regard to the resilience of auxiliary nurses caring for patients with intellectual disabilities. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the perceptions of auxiliary nurses caring for patients with intellectual disabilities on their resilience as well as on protective mechanisms and vulnerability factors that influence their resilience when caring for these patients. Design: The research project followed a qualitative descriptive inquiry approach. The population comprised of auxiliary nurses caring for patients with intellectual disabilities at mental healthcare institutions. Auxiliary nurses were selected through purposive sampling with the assistance of a mediator. The sample size was determined by data saturation. The data were collected through four semi-structured focus group interviews and captured on a digital recorder and transcribed verbatim. Both the researcher and co-coder analysed the data independently by making use of a content analysis and consensus was reached with regard to selected themes and sub-themes. Findings: Five main themes and seventeen sub-themes emerged from the data. The participants apply their practical wisdom when caring for patients with intellectual disabilities. They also make use of different forms of interactions and they apply strategies that help them to remain resilient. Although some protective mechanisms, such as trust in God, influence their resilience when caring for patients with intellectual disabilities, there are also some vulnerability factors, such as impatience, that also play a role. Conclusions: Recommendations to strengthen the resilience of auxiliary nurses caring for patients with intellectual disabilities were formulated from the research findings. Recommendations for the education of nurses and further research were also formulated.
- Health Sciences