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Keywords:

  • burnout;
  • cancer;
  • death and dying;
  • instrument development;
  • nurse practitioners;
  • stress

Abstract

Aim

This study is a report of the development and testing of the Work Stressor Inventory for Nurses in Oncology.

Background

Stressors in oncology nursing are generally assessed using generic stress scales like the Nursing Stress Scale or the Health Professions Stress Inventory. However, qualitative investigations have highlighted the specific nature of the stress to which nurses are exposed.

Design

The Work Stressor Inventory for Nurses in Oncology was developed using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

Method

For the item generation phase, a semi-structured interview was conducted with 59 nurses working in oncology units during 2007. A total of 51 work-related items were retained for the final survey. A convenience sample of 582 nurses working in oncology completed the survey between January 2008–June 2008. They also completed the General Health Questionnaire and the Maslach Burnout Inventory. The Work Stressor Inventory for Nurses in Oncology was further tested for theoretically supported constructs, internal consistency reliability and concurrent validity.

Findings

The exploratory results revealed five factors: workload, dealing with death and dying, dealing with suffering, interpersonal conflicts, dealing with patients and relatives. The internal consistency of the five subscales was satisfactory. Correlation patterns between the Work Stressor Inventory for Nurses in Oncology dimensions and both mental health and burnout variables support the criterion-related validity of the scale.

Conclusion

Future quantitative or qualitative studies using this scale could add knowledge about the experiences of emotional and organizational stressors related to this area of nursing.