Original Research

The impact of caring for persons living with HIV and AIDS on the mental health of nurses in the Limpopo Province

M Davhana-Maselesele
Curationis | Vol 31, No 2 | a987 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v31i2.987 | © 2008 M Davhana-Maselesele | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2008 | Published: 28 September 2008

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M Davhana-Maselesele,, South Africa

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Abstract

This study assessed the impact of caring for AIDS sufferers on the mental health of nurses. This assessment was measured against the level of burnout, stress and depression among 174 nurses caring for people living with HIV and AIDS in Limpopo Province, South Africa. A structured questionnaire was used for data collection. The questionnaire incorporated the AIDS Impact Scale (AIS), Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the participants’ demographic and professional profiles. Participants were conveniently selected from five selected hospitals in Limpopo Province. The study participants’ valuation using the AIS showed that nurses tended to develop strong bonds and relationships with the patients; felt frustrated by their inability to help the terminally ill AIDS sufferers and were subsequently affected by the death of their patients. Personal accomplishments of the nurses remained high and the levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization levels were low. The BDI showed that over 3 out of 4 nurses were experiencing between mild mood disturbance and extreme depression. Higher average scores were noted for items of the depression scale like sadness, dissatisfaction, fatigue and low level of energy. The findings highlight the need to develop psychological support programmes for nurses caring for AIDS patients and promote the provision of social incentives and recognition of the role of nurses in AIDS care.

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