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The complicated struggle to be a support: meanings of being a co-worker, supervisor and closely connected to a person developing burnout
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing.
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of this thesis is to illuminate meanings of being a co-worker, supervisor and closely connected to a person developing burnout, and to describe perceptions of signs preceding burnout. The thesis comprises four papers and is based on qualitative data.

In papers I and II, the data material consisted of interviews with 15 female coworkers of a person developing burnout, in paper III, interviews with 12 supervisors to care providers suffering from burnout, and in paper IV, interviews on two occasions with 5 people closely connected to a person developing burnout. Thematic content analysis (I) and phenomenological-hermeneutic method (II, III, IV) was used to analyse/interpret the interview text. The findings show that the coworkers retrospectively recalled different signs preceding their workmate’s burnout. They describe that their workmate was struggling to manage alone and was showing self-sacrifice. Co-workers also describe that their workmates were struggling to achieve unattainable goals and were becoming distanced and isolated. Finally, the co-workers describe that their workmates were showing signs of falling apart (I). Meanings of being a female co-worker to a person developing burnout are struggling, on the one hand to understand and help the person with symptoms of burnout, and on the other to manage one’s own work. This burdensome situation means that the co-workers are filled with contradictory and frustrating feelings and when the workmate is finally sick-listed, troubled conscience arise in the coworkers (II). Meanings of being a supervisor for care providers suffering from burnout are struggling to help the care provider continue to work, but being responsible for the unit, the supervisors are forced to ensure that the work is carried out. As the situation proceeds, supervisors are trapped in a predicament, unable to help and feeling inadequate. When the care provider is sick-listed, feelings of self-blame arise. When the time comes for rehabilitation the supervisors are once again caught between conflicting demands in a seemingly impossible mission (III). Meanings of being closely connected to a person suffering from burnout are putting one’s life on hold in order to help the person, striving to stand by to the person developing burnout, regardless of one’s own needs. Those closely connected are saving the face of the person developing burnout in order to protect them from stress. As the situation proceeds, those closely connected carry the burden alone in this strained situation and sometimes they are treated with disrespect by the person developing burnout, a situation which reveals their own suffering. Striving to find recuperation engenders troubled conscience. This situation reveals a huge need for support for those closely connected to a person developing burnout (IV). The comprehensive understanding is that meanings of being a co-worker, supervisor and closely connected to a person developing burnout are, on the one hand, a complicated struggle to support the person and on the other to shoulder a heavy burden. They try to do everything they can to help and support the person developing burnout (II-IV), these attempts, however, do not seem to reach through (I-IV). Co-workers describe signs that something is the matter (I), but they (co-workers, supervisors and those closely connected) do not understand what is happening (IIIV). This burdensome situation is full of conflict for those involved, torn between the complicated struggle to support the person developing burnout and to manage this burdensome situation. Faced with their own shortcomings, troubled conscience arises. The comprehensive understanding of the four papers (I-IV) are discussed and reflected on with the help of social support theories and the ideas of the Danish philosopher Lögstrup’s thoughts about the ethical demand.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Omvårdnad , 2008. , 105 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1193
Keyword [en]
burnout, co-workers, supervisors, closely connected, healthcare, phenomenological-hermeneutics, thematic content analysis, the ethical demand, social support
National Category
Nursing
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-1838ISBN: 978-91-7264-591-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-1838DiVA: diva2:142160
Public defence
2008-10-02, Aulan, Vårdvetarhuset, Umeå Universitet, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-09-19 Created: 2008-09-19 Last updated: 2010-01-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Burnout - co-workers' perceptions of signs preceding workmates' burnout
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Burnout - co-workers' perceptions of signs preceding workmates' burnout
2007 (English)In: Journal of Advanced Nursing, ISSN 0309-2402, Vol. 60, no 2, 199-208 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Keyword
burnout, co-worker, interviews, medical staff, nursing, perceptions, signs, thematic content analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-6803 (URN)doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.04399.x (DOI)17877567 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2007-12-18 Created: 2007-12-18 Last updated: 2015-08-11Bibliographically approved
2. Meanings of being a female co-worker to a person developing burnout.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Meanings of being a female co-worker to a person developing burnout.
2007 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, ISSN 0283-9318, E-ISSN 1471-6712, Vol. 21, no 2, 155-162 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Burnout is dramatically increasing in many industrialised countries. Burnout is mainly studied from the perspective of the burnout person although it has been confirmed to affect co-workers as well. This study aimed to illuminate meanings of being a female co-worker to a person developing burnout. Fifteen interviews with nursing and medical staff were performed, tape-recorded and transcribed verbatim and a phenomenological-hermeneutic method was used to interpret the text. One meaning of being a female co-worker is struggling, on the one hand to understand and help the person developing burnout and on the other hand to manage their work and survive oneself. This means to be torn between helping the workmate and managing their work. Co-workers are filled with contradictory feelings, from deep concern to aversion and when the workmate finally goes on sick leave, co-workers' feelings of shortcomings and failure emerge, along with troubled conscience. This study reveals a picture of the difficulties of being a female co-worker to a person developing burnout that it is crucial to be aware of.

Keyword
Burnout; Professional, Female, Humans, Interprofessional Relations, Interviews as Topic, Medical Staff, Nursing Staff
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-6799 (URN)doi:10.1111/j.1471-6712.2007.00451.x (DOI)17559433 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2007-12-18 Created: 2007-12-18 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
3. Meanings of being a supervisor for care providers suffering from burnout: from initial signs to recuperation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Meanings of being a supervisor for care providers suffering from burnout: from initial signs to recuperation
2009 (English)In: Journal of Nursing Management, ISSN 0966-0429, E-ISSN 1365-2834, Vol. 17, no 3, 366-375 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To illuminate meanings of being a supervisor for care providers suffering from burnout: from initial signs to recuperation.

Background

Supervisors in health care, i.e. supervisors with first-line responsibilities for a work unit, are exposed to heavy demands, especially in times of downsizing and restructuring of the healthcare system. When care providers show signs of developing burnout, these demands are even greater. Methods Interviews with 12 supervisors in health care were interpreted using a phenomenological-hermeneutic method.

Results

Being a supervisor when someone in the work team shows signs of burnout means struggling to help them to continue working. In this predicament and being responsible for the unit, the supervisors are torn between focusing on relations and on production. When the care provider reports sick, they are left with feelings of hopelessness and self-blame.

Conclusions and implications for nursing management Supervisors face almost unmanageable strain, caught between conflicting demands. It seems important that supervisors are offered opportunities to share their feelings about this predicament as well as gaining increased knowledge about burnout. This is important if the supervisors are to give proper support, but it will also help to turn supervisory failure into development and to protect the health of the supervisors.

Keyword
burn out, care providers, phenomenological-hermeneutics, supervisors
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3454 (URN)10.1111/j.1365-2834.2008.00933.x (DOI)
Available from: 2008-09-19 Created: 2008-09-19 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
4. Meanings of being closely connected to a person suffering from burnout: putting one's life on hold in order to help
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Meanings of being closely connected to a person suffering from burnout: putting one's life on hold in order to help
Manuscript (Other academic)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-3455 (URN)
Available from: 2008-09-19 Created: 2008-09-19 Last updated: 2010-01-13Bibliographically approved

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