Publicaciones científicas

How palliative care professionals develop coping competence through their career: A grounded theory

21-feb-2024 | Revista: Palliative Medicine

Maria Arantzamendi  1   2 , Paula Sapeta  3 , Alazne Belar  1   2 , Carlos Centeno  1   2   4

Background: Palliative care professionals face emotional challenges when caring for patients with serious advanced diseases. Coping skills are essential for working in palliative care. Several types of coping strategies are mentioned in the literature as protective. However, little is known about how coping skills are developed throughout a professional career.

Aim: To develop an explanatory model of coping for palliative care professionals throughout their professional career.

Design: A grounded theory study. Two researchers conducted constant comparative analysis of interviews.

Setting/participants: Palliative care nurses and physicians across nine services from Spain and Portugal (n = 21). Theoretical sampling included professionals who had not continued working in palliative care.

Results: Professionals develop their coping mechanisms in an iterative five-stage process. Although these are successive stages, each one can be revisited later. First: commencing with a very positive outlook and emotion, characterized by contention. Second: recognizing one's own vulnerability and experiencing the need to disconnect. Third: proactively managing emotions with the support of workmates. Fourth: cultivating an integrative approach to care and understanding one's own limitations. Fifth: grounding care on inner balance and a transcendent perspective. This is a transformative process in which clinical cases, teamwork, and selfcare are key factors. Through this process, the sensations of feeling overwhelmed sometimes can be reversed because the professional has come to understand how to care for themselves.

Conclusions: The explicative model presents a pathway for personal and professional growth, by accumulating strategies that modulate emotional responses and encourage an ongoing passion for work.

CITA DEL ARTÍCULO  Palliat Med. 2024 Feb 21:2692163241229961.  doi: 10.1177/02692163241229961