Original Research

Risk and reward: Experiences of healthcare professionals caring for drug-resistant tuberculosis patients

Avhapfani Musie, Jacqueline E. Wolvaardt
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 19 | a1191 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1191 | © 2021 Avhapfani Musie, Jacqueline E. Wolvaardt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 March 2019 | Published: 22 January 2021

About the author(s)

Avhapfani Musie, School of Health Systems and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Jacqueline E. Wolvaardt, School of Health Systems and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) continues to be a global public health challenge. Healthcare professionals caring for MDR-TB patients face the occupational risk of being infected.

Research purpose: To describe the experiences of healthcare professionals caring for MDR-TB patients at one TB hospital.

Motivation for this study: Managers of healthcare settings, which posed a specific occupational risk, struggle with recruitment, retention and a high turnover. What is not known is what can be performed in these settings to mitigate these human resource challenges.

Research approach/design and method: This study used a qualitative research design. A fieldworker collected data via in-depth individual interviews from 20 participants. A purposive sampling technique was used.

Main findings: Six themes emerged: Infrastructure challenges, Human Resource Challenges, Lack of Equipment and Supplies, Support, Risk and Reward and Emotions. This environment led to additional risk-taking with regard to working outside the scope of practice and feelings of burnout. Participants valued the opportunity to develop relationships with patients in their journey of recovery in an atmosphere that was not characterised by urgency.

Practical and managerial implications: This study offered managers some insight on how to create a rewarding working environment and atmosphere that were favourable to deliver quality patient care services to MDR-TB patients. Participants provided insight into the previously unknown risks in the workplace, which can be ameliorated.

Contribution/value-add: This study identified the key interventions – some of which can receive immediate attention – to ensure recruitment and retention of this specialised workforce.


Keywords

qualitative; healthcare professionals; tuberculosis; retention; human resource management

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