Role conflicts and distress among surgical nurses associate to quality of contact with patients and their family: a multicentre cross-sectional study
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Background: After surgery, patients are often cared for by family caregivers in addition to nursing care. Involving family caregivers could prevent surgical complications and provide valuable outcomes for patients, such as decreased stress and pain levels. Family caregivers’ increasing role during hospitalisation may intervene with the role of nurses, as both parties become involved into a patient’s care. This could result into a lack of role clarity and may lead to role ambiguity, role conflict and distress among nurses. Aim: To examine whether role conflict, role ambiguity, respect, distress, or trust in collaboration, due to interactions with family caregivers, associate (in)directly to nurses’ quality of contact with patients and their family. Methods: Between January and March 2020, a multicentre cross-sectional study was conducted and surgical nurses were asked to fill-out questionnaires anonymously in university (n=2), teaching (n=1) and peripheral (n=1) hospitals. The questionnaire recorded role conflicts, role ambiguity, respect, distress, trust in collaboration and quality of contact with patients and their family. Data were analysed using bivariate, multiple linear regression and mediation analyses. Results: A total of 135 nurses completed the questionnaire. Most nurses were female (n=119,88%) and the median age in years was 26 (IQR=11). Multiple regression analyses revealed statistical significant associations between role conflict on quality of contact (B=3.62, p=0.02) and between distress on quality of contact (B=3.51, p=0.00). The mediation analysis revealed that role conflict associates indirectly with quality of contact through distress (p<0.05). Conclusion: Role conflicts among nurses associate significantly with distress and quality of contact with patients and their family. Recommendations: It is critical to address role conflicts that nurses might experience due to interactions with family caregivers, because such role conflicts could have an impact on the quality of care.