The Association Between Emotional Labour and Emotional Exhaustion Among Undergraduate Nursing Students During Clinical Posting
Introduction: Nursing students with lesser experience and training are likely to react negatively to emotional labour and are at higher risk for deterioration of psychological well-being and increase emotional exhaustion due to accumulated stress. This study aims to determine the level and association between emotional labour and emotional exhaustion among undergraduate nursing students during clinical posting.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among undergraduate nursing students in a public University in Malaysia using online surveys. The Nurse Emotional Labour Scale (NELS) consist of 15 items and scored the response using the 5-point Likert scale was used to measure the level of emotional labour. Meanwhile, emotional exhaustion was measured using 9 items Emotional Exhaustion subscale of Maslach Burnout Inventory.
Results: A total of 155 students (81.3% female and 18.7 % male) responded to the study. The level of emotional labour among nursing students were found to be moderate with a mean score of 20.26 and most students used genuine acting. More students engaged in deep acting (Mean = 11.30) compared to surface acting (Mean = 8.97). A high level of emotional exhaustion was identified in 14.2% of the students. Clinical posting experience and emotional exhaustion were found to be associated. Posting in the operation theatre and labour room leads to emotional exhaustion. There was positive significant association between emotional labour and emotional exhaustion of the students.
Conclusion: Overall, it can be concluded that emotional exhaustion during clinical posting is related to emotional labour. Thus, measures in dealing with emotional labour such as effective coping strategies and stress prevention can be encouraged. Close monitoring and support from the clinical teachers should be strengthened so that early assistance can be delivered to the needy students. Also, steps in the arrangement of the clinical posting should be employed to make it student friendly and interesting clinical learning. Further research from the clinical teachers’ perspective should be done so that early assessment of students’ performance or any emotional issues that arise can be monitored and detected early.
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