alexa The Thing with Non-Physical Fatigue is that you cant Get Rid of it with Rest: Psychosocial Nursing Students Reflect on Their Clinical Placement, South Africa
ISSN: 2167-1168

Journal of Nursing & Care
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Research Article

The Thing with Non-Physical Fatigue is that you cant Get Rid of it with Rest: Psychosocial Nursing Students Reflect on Their Clinical Placement, South Africa

Anna E Van den Heever*


University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

*Corresponding Author:
Anna E Van den Heever
P.O Box 1654, Pinegowrie, 2123
Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel: +27 11 488-4061/4272
Fax: +27 11 488-4195
Email: [email protected]

Received date: November 30, 2016; Accepted date: February 21, 2017; Published date: March 1, 2017

Citation: Van den Heever AE (2017) “The Thing with Non-Physical Fatigue is that you can’t Get Rid of it with Rest”: Psychosocial Nursing Students Reflect on Their Clinical Placement, South Africa. J Nurs Care 6:381. doi:10.4172/2167-1168.1000381

Copyright: © 2017 Van den Heever AE. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited



The emotions of childhood are intense and difficult to control, but over the years, they are mixed and moulded into more subtle and expressed feelings full of meaning and under cognitive control. During this process, people use certain defense mechanisms to deal with the pressure of their emotions, or deceive themselves about the actual conditions so that they can view reality as non-threatening. While the community’s attitude towards people who live with a mental, physical or emotional disability or those who have been abused has been ranging from disregard, rejection and stigmatization to apathy; for health professionals and families of traumatized children, there seemed to be little opportunity to escape from the emotional and physical effects of being face to face with reality. Suggestions are that compassion fatigue could be due to psychological and physiological responses when working with and caring for traumatized people. A problem was identified during visits to the clinical facilities, when despite four years of exposure to general nursing, midwifery and community health; psychosocial nursing students expressed their fears of being traumatized by their experiences. Despite theoretical knowledge and practical training, they seemed to be in a state of emotional exhaustion. The question was asked: are nursing students emotionally prepared to work with severely emotionally, intellectually or physically traumatized children in the community? The qualitative, descriptive study and psychodynamic approach was to explore and describe final year psychosocial nursing students’ reflections and experiences during clinical placement with children who are traumatized by accidental or non-accidental injury or abuse. A purposive sample comprised of written and marked narratives from psychosocial reflective journals of 16 final (4th) year students until saturation of information was reached. Thematic analysis of the written narratives highlighted an emotional rollercoaster of feelings, ethical and professional conflict between the abused and being the abuser.


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