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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Patient stories project : a solution-based approach to decrease burnout in critical care Gurney, Lara Nicole


Problem: Burnout is particularly prevalent among nursing staff in intensive care units (ICUs), and it is associated with job dissatisfaction, staff shortages, and high turnover rates (Moss, Good, Gozal, Kleinpell, & Sessler, 2016). Burnout is also related to negative outcomes associated with the quality and safety of patient care, such as medical errors, decreased patient satisfaction, and higher rates of health care-associated infections (Moss et al., 2016). Nurse burnout is a significant problem in high intensity environments, such as ICUs. Background: One potential buffer against nurse burnout is nurses’ awareness of the value of what they do. The Patient Stories Project (PSP) was initiated to share patients’ stories of their ICU experience with those nurses who cared for them. Through stories, nurses have another lens to appreciate the value of their work and the importance of nurse-patient relationships. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore nurses’ perspectives of the PSP. Is there evidence that the PSP influences nurses’ perceptions of the value of nurse-patient relationships? Design and methods: This was a qualitative descriptive design. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews with 12 critical care nurses were conducted between June 2019-July 2019. Thematic analysis was used to code data from the focus groups. Results: The findings from this study demonstrate that story telling has the potential to give meaning to nurses’ work. The PSP provides avenues for nurses to think about their work differently and positively. Five themes emerged: (a) perspective taking (b) recognizing the value in humanizing care (c) cultivating positive closure for the nurses (d) creating a sense of belonging through teamwork (e) creating a sense of hope. Conclusion: The PSP (patient storytelling) may be a relational strategy to protect against burnout among nurses. Storytelling may also have the capacity to go beyond the ICU environment to buffer against stress among healthcare providers, their patients, and families in other settings.

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