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Occupational distress in nursing : a psychoanalytic reading of the literature

Evans, Alicia M., Pereira, David A. and Parker, Judith M. 2008, Occupational distress in nursing : a psychoanalytic reading of the literature, Nursing philosophy, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 195-204, doi: 10.1111/j.1466-769X.2008.00356.x.

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Title Occupational distress in nursing : a psychoanalytic reading of the literature
Author(s) Evans, Alicia M.
Pereira, David A.
Parker, Judith M.
Journal name Nursing philosophy
Volume number 9
Issue number 3
Start page 195
End page 204
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2008-07
ISSN 1466-7681
1466-769X
Keyword(s) nursing
psychoanalysis
anxiety
occupational stress
literature review
Summary Occupational stress in nursing has attracted considerable attention as a focus for research and as a consequence multiple objects of nurses' stress, or 'stressors', have been identified. This paper puts into question the dominant conceptual and methodological approach to occupational stress in nursing research by both foregrounding the notion of anxiety and juxtaposing it with the notion of 'stress'. It is argued that the notion of 'stress' and the domination of the questionnaire have produced a narrow reading of the topic. Some of the literature on occupational stress/anxiety in nursing is reviewed and our analysis illustrates how the identified objects of stress have a tendency to multiply contingent on the number of studies undertaken. Thus definitive objects of nurses' stress remain elusive. We argue that a return to the notion of 'anxiety' and methodological approaches other than empirical ones can bring both depth and breadth to the consideration of occupational distress in nursing. Further, we argue that the object of 'anxiety' is unconscious, thus unknown, and given this, a more informative approach is to map nurses' response to anxiety, the discursive formations arising out of anxiety, rather than attempt to define those objects of anxiety.
Notes Published Online: 28 Jun 2008
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1466-769X.2008.00356.x
Field of Research 111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, The Authors & Blackwell Publishing Ltd (journal compilation)
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30017102

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Nursing and Midwifery
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