“We try our best to offer them the little that we can” coping strategies of Ghanaian community psychiatric nurses: a qualitative descriptive study Frederick Yaw Opare1, Patience Aniteye2, Agani Afaya1* and Nathaniel Glover-Meni3


Introduction: Community psychiatric nurses work in extremely stressful environments with intense patient relationships as they try to prevent self-harm and manage aggressive behaviors. In order to improve their ability to manage the stressful work environments, community psychiatric nurses need to incorporate formal coping strategies into their daily work routines. With evidence-based coping strategies, community psychiatric nurses can effectively manage the stressful situations in their work environment to increase their work longevity. The purpose of this study was to explore the individual coping strategies currently used by community psychiatric nurses in practice in order to develop an intervention strategy for future implementation.

Methods: This was an exploratory qualitative study using an interpretative approach. A purposive sampling method was used to identify participants from the community psychiatric nurses in a region of Ghana. Participants were recruited and interviewed, guided by semi-structured questions, until saturation was reached. The interviews were audio-taped, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed thematically.

Results: A total of 13 participants, 10 women and 3 men ages 26 to 60 years, were interviewed for this study. From the inductive analysis, four coping themes emerged from the data including: 1) self-disguise, 2) reliance on religious faith, 3) self-motivation, and 4) reduction in the number of home visits. The participants described their work environment as stressful, almost to the point of overwhelming. In this regard, they identified the individual coping strategies as critical daily practices for self care to manage their high stress levels.

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