Deborah Boyle, RN, MSN, AOCNS®, FAAN

Deborah Boyle, RN, MSN, AOCNS®, FAAN

In “Fostering Wellness and Healing at Work,” presented on Saturday, May 5, at the ONS 37th Annual Congress in New Orleans, LA, Deborah Boyle, RN, MSN, AOCNS®, FAAN, an oncology clinical nurse specialist at Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Irvine, and Nancy Jo Bush, RN, MN, MA, AOCN®, a lecturer/oncology nurse practitioner at the school of nursing at the University of California, Los Angeles, shared a blueprint for creating ideal work environments that foster wellness and healing in oncology nurses. They discussed common job-related issues that can generate distress in oncology nurses and provided practical inventories to enhance distress assessment in nurses.

According to Boyle and Bush, self-care is essential for coping with the adversities faced in caring professions that are exposed to trauma. Oncology nursing is the exemplar of a stressful profession in which nurses are confronted with potentially daily challenges, life and death, and moral quandaries. Historically, though, this issue hasn’t been widely addressed.

“Our interest in following the literature on self-care increased our awareness that, within nursing, there was very little research and information on the issue of fostering wellness and healing in the workplace,” Boyle said.

Nancy Jo Bush, RN, MN, MA, AOCN®

Nancy Jo Bush, RN, MN, MA, AOCN®

As retention and recruitment is increasingly addressed in the healthcare literature, it is of utmost importance that issues such as work stress receive similar attention. The psychological corollaries of oncology nursing stress include burnout, compassion fatigue, vicarious traumatization, and secondary traumatic stress. If nurses gain a better understanding of these syndromes and make the necessary changes towards self-care, work effectiveness and patient satisfaction will be enhanced.

Boyle and Bush sent attendees home with new knowledge to help them to identify self-healing strategies based on a variety of options to develop a template appropriate to their work setting. They say that that these self-care strategies are just beginning to be recognized as significant to the effectiveness of nursing practice and patient care and the individual nurse must have insight into how to address these issues of work stress and self-care.

The two speakers recently undertook a comprehensive review of the literature to help them prepare to write their new book, Self-Healing Through Reflection: A Workbook for Nurses.

“The literature demonstrates while there is a need to address this topic, there is a paucity of evidence relative to interventions to promote self-??care in the nurses workplace,” according to Bush. They hope to change all of that by helping to educate nurses about the importance of this growing focus in oncology care.

The complete recording of this and other ONS 37th Annual Congress sessions will be available by early June. Learn more or prepurchase the recordings. A total of 66.75 CNE credits can be earned through the conference recordings. ONS is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.