Introduction Stroke is a major cause of disability in Japan especially among middle-aged and elderly workers. Nurses take part in patients’ care as front-line professionals; thus, they may play an important role in patients’ return to work (RTW). However, there is limited research on a clinical nurse’s role in RTW. The purpose of this study was to clarify the aspects of recognition and support of nurses in acute care hospitals toward stroke patients’ RTW.
Methods Participants were ten nurses with clinical experience of 7 to 20 years. The data were collected using semi-structured interviews conducted from August to September 2014. A Qualitative descriptive approach was employed. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Yokkaichi Nursing Medical University and the hospital.
Result Participants felt they were providing insufficient support for patients’ RTW, and that they were busy and providing inadequate care without long-term prospects. Meanwhile, they were aware of the importance of increasing awareness regarding RTW through care that consisted of work and support for patients since hospitalisation. Therefore, they extended support to motivate patients for RTW, and helped expand the activities of daily living and care to increase patients’ self-confidence. They also extended the provision of care among other staff through cooperation and coordination. As the care reached and helped the patient and provision of care expanded in the hospital, they realised the rewarding feeling of being a nurse, their recognition as a patient’s advocate, and the effect of care. At the same time, they were aware of the importance of prevention and promoting a healthy lifestyle for their patients.
Discussion Nurses were involved in providing care by assessing the occupational background of patients since hospitalisation. Recognition of RTW was deepened by continuous interaction with patients, and the recognition was fostered over a course of time.
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