Neonatal nurses’ professional quality of life: An integrative review

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Collegian, 2022, 29, (2), pp. 201-212
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Background: Nurses working in critical care environments, such as intensive care units, are susceptible to impaired professional quality of life. Those caring for babies and children, even more so. Aim: To appraise the extant literature regarding neonatal nurses’ professional quality of life and propose recommendations for neonatal nursing practice, policy, and research. Method: This integrative review aligns with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) framework and Whittemore and Knafl's five-stage methodology. A systematic search of the CINAHL, Medline, and PsychInfo electronic databases and grey literature was conducted. Peer reviewed articles referring to neonatal nurses’ work-related stressors and satisfiers which had been published in English language between 1990 and 2020 were included. Findings: Neonatal nurses of varying ages, experience levels and cultures, report burnout, secondary and post-traumatic stress; however, the cumulative impacts result in higher prevalence among experienced clinicians. Compassion fatigue is mitigated by compassion satisfaction. Discussion: Neonatal nurses’ report lower resilience and higher emotional exhaustion and sensitivity to organisational change than their medical colleagues. Despite workplace adjustments some nurses may remain disproportionately at risk due to factors associated with their personality traits, affect, and practice environments. Conclusion: Further research exploring the relationships between structural factors impacting neonatal nurses’ professional quality of life and organisational outcomes is required. The generalisability of future studies will be enhanced by longitudinal design, recruitment of heterogeneous samples, and use of scales with psychometric adequacy to capture complex interrelationships between variables.
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