Secondary Traumatic Stress in Oncology Staff.
Quinal L, Harford S, Rutledge DN.
Authors' Affiliations: St. Joseph Hospital, Orange, California (Mss Quinal and Harford and Dr Rutledge); and California State University, Fullerton (Dr Rutledge). The authors can be reached at the following emails: Leonida.Quinal@stjoe.org , Stephanie.Harford@stjoe.org, Dana.Rutledge@stjoe.org
As empathetic caregivers, oncology staff may be prone to secondary traumatic stress (STS). Secondary traumatic stress results from exposure to persons who have experienced trauma and from giving care to such persons. The presence of STS among oncology staff has not been documented. This correlational descriptive study examined STS among oncology staff at a 500-bed Magnet-designated community hospital by determining the presence of individual symptoms and frequency with which diagnostic criteria for STS are met. Also determined were associations between STS demographic characteristics and specific stress-reduction activities.In this study, 43 staff members from an inpatient oncology unit completed mailed surveys. The Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale assessed the frequency of intrusion, avoidance, and arousal symptoms associated with STS; also assessed were use/helpfulness of stress-reduction activities. In this first study to document the prevalence of STS among oncology staff, prevalence ranged from 16% (Bride's method) to 37% (cutoff-score method). Most common symptoms were difficulty sleeping, intrusive thoughts about patients, and irritability. Least common were avoidance of people, places, and things and disturbing dreams about patients. Current use of massage was significantly predictive of not having STS. Ethnicity of staff member was related to having STS. Further research is warranted evaluating STS prevalence in different groups of oncology staff along with the effect of STS on burnout and job retention.
PMID: 19444086 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]