Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

First Advisor

Tracy D. Arnold

Abstract

A quazi-experimental, one-group, pretest/posttest study was conducted with a group of 25 hospice workers employed by a medium sized county hospice organization in the southeastern United States that was experiencing rapid personnel turn-over. Participants in the study included a doctor, a physician’s assistant, a nurse practitioner, a massage therapist, a grief counselor, a licensed practical nurse, a certified nursing assistant, two clergy, three administrative staff, three social workers, seven volunteers, eight registered nurses and one other. The purpose was to investigate whether attending four 1-hour art therapy sessions could help reduce stress and thereby Burnout. Stamm’s (2010) Professional Quality of Life theory was utilized to frame the study and Stamm’s ProQOL-5 was used as both pretest and posttest. The ProQOL-5 tested three elements of Stamm’s theory which cannot be combined: Compassion Satisfaction, Burnout and Secondary Traumatic Stress, and a paired sample t-test were applied to each element. No statistical differences were found between pretest and posttest scores on the ProQOL-5 in the areas of Compassion Satisfaction and Secondary Traumatic Stress. Interestingly, posttest scores on the ProQOL-5 went up instead of down significantly, after participants received four 1-hour sessions of art therapy. No quantitative evidence was found to support the use of art therapy to reduce Burnout and increase Compassion Satisfaction and Secondary Traumatic Stress. There were some minor qualitative data to indicate art therapy was helpful in reducing stress at least temporarily. More investigation needs to be done in order to develop evidence-based interventions to relieve stress and reduce Burnout in hospice/palliative care workers as the field is growing rapidly.

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