Helper secrets: Internal stressors in nursing
Analyzed the content of the major themes and issues of troubling thoughts and feelings nurses keep to themselves regarding their work situations ("helper secrets"). Content analysis was performed on the responses of 495 nurses who were attending professional conferences and educational programs when they were asked to anonymously share helper secrets. The 8 categories of responses were feelings of inadequacy, 1-way giving, too many demands, anger, emotional overinvolvement in work situations, emotional and physical distancing, wishing for a patient's death, and desire to leave the nursing field. Other responses composed 11% of the secrets. The results of keeping these secrets can be an inhibition of healing communication processes and cognitive obsession that increase the likelihood of long-term stress-related illness and burnout. Interventions need to be designed to help promote self-revelations and their healing effects for nurses.
Larson, D. G. (1987). Helper secrets: Internal stressors in nursing. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 25, 20-27.