The effectiveness of sensory stimulation therapy to strengthen the well–being of operating room nurses
Highly skilled nurses amongst the OR team, are needed in the operating room (OR) to ensure optimal patient safety. Shortages in experienced OR nurses and a stressful working environment prove to have a negative influence on effective safe patient care as well as a negative effect on nurses’ own well-being. The research focused on the effectiveness of sensory stimulation therapy (SST) to strengthen the well-being of nurses in the OR of a private hospital in the North-West Province. SST, better known as Snoezelen™, is a blend of sight, sounds, textures, aromas and motion providing stimulation to the primary senses (Collier, McPherson, et al., 2010:698). The five primary senses are gently stimulated without any intellectual activity needed. A particular aim with SST is to improve the well-being of individuals by setting them at ease. The well-being of OR nurses was studied from a resilience viewpoint assuming that, if exposure to stressors was limited and the individual did have an opportunity to recover, stressors may have a positive, toughening effect. Well-being and resilience was used interchangeably in the study. The objectives of the study were to explore and describe OR nurses‟ needs for SST, to explore and describe OR nurses’ suggestions with regard to the implementation of SST in an OR and to explore and describe the effectiveness of a SST intervention to strengthen the well- being of OR nurses in a private hospital in the North-West Province. An explorative, descriptive quasi-experimental design within a quantitative approach was used. Seventy two participants from two private hospitals in the North-West Province voluntarily participated in the research. A pre-/post-test design was used. One pilot group, one intervention group and one comparison group were identified. Participants from all three the participating groups completed a self administered resilience scale questionnaire before and after the implementation of a SST intervention. Before the intervention 100% participants from the pilot group, 100% participants from the intervention group and 96% participants from the comparison group completed the self administered resilience scale questionnaire. Participants of the intervention group also completed a self report questionnaire from which their needs could be determined and suggestions were made on the implementation of a SST intervention. A 98% response rate was obtained for these self report questionnaires. After the intervention the intervention group’s participants were invited to write narratives regarding their experiences after visiting the SST room. The intervention was implemented for a period of two consecutive months in the OR of one of the private hospitals. After the intervention an 88% response rate from the pilot group, 100% response rate from the intervention group and a 63% response rate from the comparison group, completing self administered resilience scale questionnaires, were obtained. Data was analysed with the assistance of a statistical consultant at the North-West University in Potchefstroom by using STATISTICA (version 10) and SPSS (version 20, release 20.0.0) (StatSoft Inc., 2011, SPSS Inc., 211). Results indicated that there was no statistical difference between the three participating groups regarding their resilience before the intervention. However, after the intervention, the intervention group demonstrated a statistical increase in their resilience levels. Based on these results, as well as on conclusions of relevant literature and the feedback from participants in their written narratives, recommendations were formulated with regard to nursing education, nursing practice and further research. Briefly it means that there should be more consideration for OR nurses’ well-being by means of a SST program providing for their needs. Recommendations included the benefits of a SST room in a hospital environment as well as complete instructions on how to create and to furnish such a room. Attributes of resilience, factors influencing resilience levels and methods to increase resilience levels in the workplace should be included in a regular in-service training program. For future research the researcher recommended further studies in order to determine the resilience levels in various departments of private hospitals. This could mean the successful implementation of a SST room in other departments as well which will eventually lead to the improved well-being of all nursing staff. The researcher is willing to act as a consultant if the need arises for the comparison groups to implement a SST intervention in their different departments.
- Health Sciences