Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Commentary on Empathy and stress in nurses working in haemodialysis

Comment on: Vioulac C., Aubree C., Massy Z.A. & Untas A. (2016) Empathy and stress in nurses working in haemodialysis: a qualitative study. Journal of Advanced Nursing 72(5), 1075–1085

Nakisha Ice, BSN, RN
The University of Texas at Arlington

The article by Vioiulac et al. (2016) was eye-opening and very true to the past and current issues in the field of dialysis. The chronic haemodialysis setting continues to suffer from increased nurse burnout and turnover due to the demands of the work environment. As an eleven-year dialysis nurse, I have experienced burnout personally and have been impacted by increased rates of nursing turnover. Böhmert et al. (2011) discuss how the lack of knowledge and education related to dialysis contributes to the increased turnover rate of dialysis nurses. Nurses want to be comfortable in their role and feel they are providing safe care to their patients. The field of dialysis has experienced such high rates of nursing turnover the education and orientation to dialysis is little to be desired. The inability to troubleshoot the technical issues and have adequate training on how to handle emergent situations in the dialysis setting increases the stress level of dialysis nurses (Vioulac et al. 2016).

The rising demands and expectations set forth by regulatory entities continue to increase the already heavy workload of haemodialysis nurses. Researching and investigating the demands of companies’ expectations to manage a successful, profitable business while striving to meet the stringent guidelines of federal and state regulations, as well as following a strict budget that requires the dialysis team to provide exceptional quality care based on the bundled reimbursement rate will be beneficial to the field of dialysis. The federal and state guidelines are necessary for quality patient care; however, the implementation and continuous improvement comes with a price. The cost of living fluctuates as does the cost of adequately caring for the end-stage renal disease population. Medication costs increase, employee salaries increase and the overall cost to operate a facility continues to rise. While so many aspects of the business are becoming more costly the expectation of caring for more patients with limited resources tends to be the accepted norm.


Vioulac, C., Aubree, C., Massy, Z. A., & Untas, A. (2016). Empathy and stress in nurses working in haemodialysis: A qualitative study. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 72, 1075-1085. doi:10.1111/jan.1289

Böhmert, M., Kuhnert, S., & Nienhaus, A. (2011). Psychological stress and strain in dialysis staff‐a systematic review. Journal of Renal Care, 37, 178-189. doi:10.1111/j.1755-6686.2011.00236.x

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