Factors associated with critical care nurses’ acute stress disorder after patient death

Chao Ping Wang, Fang Ming Hung, Mao Sheng Ling, Hsiao Yean Chiu, Sophia Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: In intensive care units, patient death can have a negative psychological influence on the patient's nurse. However, how the frequency of events and factors contributed to acute stress among nurses remains unknown. Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the prevalence of and the factors affecting acute stress disorder among intensive care unit nurses after their patient death. Methods: Nurses from five adult intensive care units whose patient had died during the nurses' working shift were recruited from July 2018 to April 2019. Bryant's Acute Stress Disorder Scale, the Beck Anxiety Inventory, and the Beck Depression Inventory-II were used to measure acute stress, depression, and anxiety. Descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, independent sample t-tests, and stepwise logistic regression were used for data analysis. Results: In total, 119 nurses were enrolled. Nearly one in three nurses (29.4%) had suffered from acute stress disorder after their patient had died. Nurses experienced a higher risk of acute stress disorder when their patients underwent cardiopulmonary resuscitation before death (odds ratio [OR] = 13.75, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.59–72.95), when their patients died unexpectedly (OR = 4.88, 95% CI: 1.16–20.56), and when they experienced verbal abuse from the patient family at the patient death (OR = 4.61, 95% CI: 1.18–18.05) compared with their counterparts. Conclusion: Intensive care unit nurses often experience acute stress disorder after their patient death. The nurses of patients who underwent cardiopulmonary resuscitation before death and/or who died unexpectedly and/or nurses who were subjected to verbal abuse by the patient's family were at higher risk of acute stress disorder. A comprehensive program aimed at improving the knowledge, skills, and resilience of nurses is needed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralian Critical Care
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Acute stress disorder
  • Intensive care unit
  • Nurse
  • Patient death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency
  • Critical Care

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