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Items filtered by date: May 2014

Middle Range Theory of Unpleasant Symptoms

As a result of ethnic and religious diversity, nurses are required to care for patients from different cultural backgrounds (Pesut, 2009). To treat children, parental consent is required. However, there are occasions when parents may refuse to give consent the chosen intervention may contradict the family’s cultural or religious beliefs. Examples include Christian Scientists, who refuse consent for treatment because they believe that prayer is sufficient for healing.  Some parents are reluctant to allow immunization of their children. The scenarios are varied.

However, regardless of the form the refusal takes, unfamiliar situations occur leading to difficulties particularly when parents refuse options that hospital personnel presume to be the best course of treatment.  This leads to confusion on the part of the nurse as they are driven the respect for the will of the family while, at the same time, being an advocate for the child’s well-being.The purpose of this paper is to describe the middle range theory of unpleasant symptoms, relating it to the practice of nursing.  A case study of a situation involving a family that is a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which refuses to grant permission for emergency blood transfusion for their child, will be used to demonstrate the application of this theory.

 Description of the Theory

The middle-range theory of unpleasant symptoms was designed in 1995 (Finnell & Jezewesky, 2007). Individuals perceive similar symptoms differently. The purpose of creating this theory was to facilitate interventions that prevent or lessen the effect of unpleasant symptoms. The focus of this theory is the desire to reduce the effect of unpleasant symptoms. However, the overall goal for nurses is the development of interventions for individuals and groups. Symptoms can be situational, observable, psychological, and physiological (McCaffrey, 2010). These are factors that may act jointly or individually to create unpleasant symptoms. An example of a situation that can be addressed using this theory is extreme pain associated with early breastfeeding, which may impede a mother’s desire to continue breastfeeding (Kim, et al. 2011).

The theory proposes that alternative factors that increase unpleasant symptoms are identified, and multiple interventions tried.For practicing nurses, the concepts and proposition of the theory may seem like common sense rather than theoretical knowledge (Pesut, 2009). However, unpleasant symptoms remain problematic in the delivery of health care solutions. According to the theory, nurses should determine the possibility of the existence of multiple unpleasant symptoms. They should consider situations, emotions, experiences, and biophysical issues as the influencing factors. The main points, according to the theory, are that unpleasant symptoms are detrimental to recovery and patient care. Intensity levels, distress levels, timing, and quality of symptoms are variables that are measured in unpleasant symptoms. Other factors that affect symptoms include psychological, physiological, and situational factors. All these factors must be considered, in addressing unpleasant symptoms in patient care.

 Application of the Theory in Research

Theorists consider the theory of unpleasant symptoms a middle range-theory. In the words of Dyess (2011), middle range theories are sufficiently concrete to link t research with practice. The origin of this middle-range theory is traced to the development of two concepts: one regarding fatigue and the other regarding dyspnea. Dr. Linda Pugh and Audrey Gift combined the two concepts and found similarities between the two concepts. In 1997, Pugh, Gift, and Lenz collaborated to publish the concepts as an updated theory of unpleasant symptoms.

According to Dyess (2011), the dimensions of symptoms are defined by three categories of variables, which are psychological, physiological, and situational factors.  Psychological factors include knowledge of symptoms and mental state. Physiologic factors include energy levels, trauma, and function of body systems. Situational factors include environmental and social factors. The three components of the middle-range theory of unpleasant symptoms are applied to public health decision making. Social and interactional activities are perceived as the body functions. The decline in aspects of cognitive performance, including problem solving and thinking is viewed as the result of symptoms.

 Application of the Theory in Practice

The case of a parent who refuses blood transfusion for a seriously ill child poses a big challenge to the practice of evidence-based nursing practice (Kim, et al., 2011). The dilemma must be handled with care and great sensitivity. First of all, it is important to avoid convincing the parent to agree to blood transfusion. This is because the nurse does not know the consequences of a parent giving consent for blood transfusion for the child. They may be excommunicated from the church and forced to leave friends and family. Refusal of blood donation is a principal tenet of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They perceive it as a covenant with God that cannot be broken. Breaking the covenant may have consequences that include losing eternal salvation and position in the community. Being shunned by others has also been observed with members who are believers of the faith.

There is a possible that the children may survive. However, he will reside in a home that his family may never visit again.An attempt should be made to perform treatment with non-blood products while consulting with the church’s liaison committee. However, there may be a time when the nurse needs to speak on behalf of the patient. Traditionally, physicians would refuse to treat patients whose parents refused blood transfusion. For the sake of the patient, the hospital administration can obtain a court order mandating a life-saving transfusion. Once the Child Protection Service and the court orders blood transfusion, the child is removed under the child’s control.  This is an amicable solution because the parent will not break up with the church. Both the parent and the child would not be ostracized from the Witness community.


The determination of whether a decision that overrides the decision of parents is reached by applying the middle-range theory of unpleasant symptoms (Pesut, 2009). Children are not independent in terms of decision making. Therefore, they can fall prey to cultural and religious decisions that can have an impact on the health of the child. For this reason, the nurse acts as an advocate for the child. It is the role of the nursing practitioner to analyze the situation of the child and determine the emergency status based on symptoms. It is fundamental to respect the decision of the family. This implies that the actions taken do not imply a contravention of the religious and cultural values, which carry penalties for non-conformance.

 Alternative Theory: Theory of Spiritual Well-Being in Illness

The theory of spiritual well-being in illness can be useful in guiding the practice of any nurse proving holistic health care services (Burkhart & Hogan, 2008). The services could include paying attention to the needs of the body, mind, and spirit. The theory of spiritual well-being is particularly important for nurses carrying for patients experiencing life-threatening, chronic, and terminal illnesses, as well as injuries and illnesses that affect the individual’s professional or personal goals. In these situations, patients normally struggle to find meaning their status of disability or illness. Irrespective of their religious affiliation, individuals strive to make sense of the conditions in which they find themselves.

If they find this impossible, most patients seek to achieve acceptance and peace in the midst of their tribulations. The middle-range theory of spiritual well-being in illness helps both practitioners and researchers working persons who are seriously ill or injured to evaluate the spiritual needs of the patients and institute appropriate spiritual care interventions.The nursing research literature indicates that middle-range theories emerged from a combination of research and practice and the work of others theorists (Pesut, 2009). Nurse theorists assert that middle-range theories may be deduced from conceptual frameworks, established clinical guidelines, or grand theories.

The nursing theory of spiritual well-being in illness was derived from the nursing model conceived by Joyce Travelbee and other early conceptualizations (White, Peters, & Schism, 2011). The central focus of the theory is finding meaning in illness. The model was based on perceiving the nurse’s role as that of assisting the patients to experience hope as a means of coping with suffering.According to this framework, illness is perceived as physical, emotional, and spiritual experiences that can be described as both subjective and objective.  The definition of suffering and illness depends on the symbolic meaning attached to these concepts by an individual. According to the teachings of Joyce Travelbee, a nurse practitioner must be ready to assist individuals and families to cope with illness and find meaning in their experiences. It is a difficult task for the professional nurse practitioner but must not be evaded.


In line with the theory of well-being in illness, a variety of hypotheses can be derived to describe the relationship between spiritual well-being and quality of life (McCaffrey, 2010). For example, it can be proposed that there will be a significant relationship between the faith of a sick person and their perceived quality of life in suffering. Secondly, there is a significant relationship between their religious practices and their perceived quality of life in situations of suffering. A third hypothesis can be stated that there is a significant relationship between the quality of life of persons experiencing disability or suffering. The rationale for using theory of spiritual well-being has to do with the gravity of the injury of the child. The parents are in a condition that is traumatizing. The theory guides the nursing professional to assist the family find meaning in the situation in which they are. This has to do with recovery from the shock resulting from the accident or the outcome of the surgical procedures.


Nursing philosophy is fundamental to the evidence-based practice (Pesut, 2009). Nurses who care for children from families and communities that embrace extreme religious and cultural beliefs experience dilemma in their service delivery. For example, members of some religious groups do not accept blood transfusions for their patients. This is particularly a challenge for emergency cases such as the one discussed where blood transfusion was the only viable solution to saving the life of the child.

Although Jehovah’s witnesses accept other modalities of hospital treatment, they object blood transfusions. Culture and religion are important. However, there are times when the nurse practitioner is justified to follow the hospital administration’s directives to bend cultural or religious laws for the benefit of the child.It is fundamental that the nurse takes precautions not to cause commotions between the family members or between the family and the community or religion to which it belongs. Perhaps, taking a court order to effect a mandatory blood transfusion may serve the best interest of both the child and the parents. The relevant church will perceive the hospital and not the parents as responsible for going against the non-tolerance of blood transfusion. 


Agrimson, L.B. & Taft, L.B. (2008). “Spiritual Crisis: A concept analysis”. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65(3): 454-461

Burkhart, N. & Hogan, L. (2008). “An Experiential Theory of Spiritual Care in Nursing Practice”. Qualitative Health Research, 18(7): 928-938

Dyess, S.M. (2011). “Faith: A concept of analysis”. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 67(12): 2723-2731

Finnell, S.L. & Jezewesky. M. (2007). “Spirituality in Nursing and health related literature”. Journal of Holistic Health, 25(4): 252-262

Kim, et al. (2011). “Spirituality and psychological well-being”. Research in Nursing &Health, 34(2): 103-105

McCaffrey, R. (2010). “Doctor of Nursing Practice: Enhancing Professional Development”. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company

Pesut, B.N. (2009). “Ontologies of nursing in an age of spiritual pluralism: Closed or Open World View”, Nursing philosophy, 11: 15-23

White, M., Peters, R., & Schism, S. (2011), “Spirituality and Spiritual Self-Care: Expanding Self-Care Deficit Theory”, Nursing Science Quarterly, 24(1): 48-56


Published in Sociology

  Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison

 Background Information

This prison was opened in 1968, in a Georgia Department of Corrections prison, for men. These men were in unincorporated Butts County, Georgia which was near Jackson. Study shows that the prison holds one of the most useful things, the state execution chamber. The execution equipment was brought to the prison in June 1980. Its first execution in the facility occurred on the 15th Dec, 1983. It is used to house the death row males who are serving the death sentence. Female in this category are not housed in this prison rather were housed in the Metro State Prison until the year 2011 when it was closed because of the state budget cuts. This is the largest prison in the state that comprises of eight cellblocks that contain both single bunked cells ad double bunked cells. The prison also has a medical unit as well as eight dormitories to serve smooth operations of this place. Evidence shows that the prison carries out state order executions by lethal injection, houses male offenders under a death sentence, and conducts diagnostic processing for the state correctional system, (Georgia Department of Corrections, 2013).

In the same prison, it has a special prison management unit that is used to house some of the dangerous and most aggressive prisoners in the correctional system. The place has a capacity of 2300 criminals, and its current status indicates that it is under operational. This complex serves as the central hub that is used for felon’s beginners who are under the process of being admitted into the prison system. It has been discovered that a number of county jails are used under payment method to hold the sentenced felons until a space is available in the main prison system. The state house makes payments to the county jails because these are not the suitable places to hold sentenced felons. The GDCP, inmates are either undergoing the process of being tested or classified, or they are already permanent inmates. Study shows that the permanent inmates always serve their sentence fully at GDCP while the rest are moved to other prisons depending on the nature and the classification of the sentences. A new electric chair is used for execution after the replacement that was done from the Georgia State Prison, (Mccarthy, 2013).

 Trip Description

The travel to Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison (GDCP) is among the few trips that have offered amazing and memorable events in this college life. Thousands of people travel to see the place with different aims. Some of the people who travel to this place are families, friends, loved once of the inmates as well as other people who have a personal interest in the visit of this region. Travelling to GDCP is not an easy thing like travelling in other open areas, in the world. There are rules and regulations that guidelines operations and engagements of activities in this place.

In order to get into this place, one has to go up to Atlanta by any means and then start the journey to the prison at that place. When at Atlanta, one has to take a bus to the GDCP that operates through that route. One heads northwest on Auburn Ave NE toward Peachtree St NE. after 0.2 min one takes the 1st right onto Peachtree St NE then turns right onto Ellis St NE after 0.4 min before merging onto I-75 S/I-85 S via the ramp to Montgomery/Macon Continue to follow I-75 S for about 46.5 mi. you have to take the exist for about .03 mi 201 for GA-36 towards Barnesville or Jackson and then turn left onto the same route for about 0.5 mi before turning left onto prison grounds, (Georgia Department of Corrections, 2013).

This state is located NW and has an area of about 10.3 km2. Based on the United States census bureau, the state of Georgia is comprised of land in its major part with around 0.25 percent being water. This city is located about 20 minutes north of Lake Seminole. The place has a population of about 3, 210 people. Study indicates that the agriculture mural paintings and the Olive Theatre demonstrate the cultural tone of the region. This is a city made of a mixed racial makeup with 58.73 percent being the African American. Native Americans take the smallest percentage of about 0.07 percent of the total population of this region, (Mccarthy, 2013).


Georgian state is a small state that serves as an important region in the nation’s judicial operations. It is the homeland of the largest prison in the state that comprises of eight cellblocks that contain both single bunked cells ad double bunked cells. The prison also has a medical unit as well as eight dormitories to serve smooth operations of this place. I have discovered that the mission of this prison is to ensure public safety and effectively house offenders. This is achieved while operating secure, and a safe facility that conducts diagnostic processing for houses offenders and operating out state ordered executions. It has also been discovered that the prison also offers special management programs that consist of 192 beds. What has been learnted is that the place has eight cellblocks that contain single and double bunked cells, as well as there, are eight dormitories. There is a fast track unit that houses 256 general population inmates and also the place had a medical unit that is used to offer medical services to the population, (Georgia Department of Corrections, 2013).

The population of this region is not high and contains a mixed-up racial population with Native Americans taking the largest portion. The prison has specified visitation hours and days, but they can be cancelled depending on the set-ups of the prison management. All professional visitations, unlike family visitations are allowed for any condemn during the active execution order. Rules and regulations of this place should be followed all times when the prison is undertaking its operations without any interference. The state is responsible for any expenses for inmates who are held in other county jails before they are taken to GDCP. It has been discovered that the judge must follow all the process of judgment in making any ruling for the criminals before they are termed as permanent inmates who serves their entire sentences in the GDCP, (Mccarthy, 2013).


Georgia Department of Corrections. (2013). Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison. retrieved from, http://www.dcor.state.ga.us/GDC/FacilityMap/html/ga_diag_class_pris.html, On November 19, 2013

Mccarthy, C. (2013). Books reveal human cost of capital punishment. National Catholic Reporter50(1), 6a-7a


Published in Sociology
Saturday, 24 May 2014 09:09



Schizophrenia is a serious and challenging type of disorder that makes it difficult for a person to distinguish between a real thing and the unreal thing, relate to others, manage emotions, function normally, and think clearly. Although this disorder is that serious, it doesn’t mean there is no hope for someone suffering from that condition. Schizophrenia is managed and treated well it can be handled, and the person returns to normal. The first thing suitable for this disorder is to identify symptoms and signs. After signs and symptoms are identified, the person should seek help without delay to a qualified profession. The patient should stick to the medications provided in order to fight the situation.

Evidence shows that, with proper support and treatment, an individual suffering from schizophrenia can be managed and get a better life, (Gallagher & Jones, 2013).Study shows that Schizophrenia is type of disease that affects an individual’s perception of thinking and reality. Experts in healthcare say that this disorder can be strong, and there are times when it’s difficult to notice it. Scientists who have studied this type of disorder have a good number of reasons why they doubt the exact factors that cause the disease. Based on their analysis, it is with no doubt that individual affected by this type of disorder feel, see, and hear what others in their surroundings can’t. Schizophrenia is a disease that can affect women and men irrespective of the age.

Population above the age of forty-five is at lower risk of getting this disorder as compared to young people. Schizophrenia is not easy to be noticed to the young people. This is a very serious disease whose causes and symptoms require care and attention. Study shows that if the situation is not treated in accordance, it develops unpleasant effects to the patients, (Bender, 2010).People with Schizophrenia have a significant loss of contact with reality something that makes their life difficult. The illness of Schizophrenia has its unique symptoms that are used to determine whether a person is sick. Symptoms of this illness are seen between the age of sixteen and thirty years. Study indicates that Schizophrenia symptoms develop slows over a given period.

A patient with this illness may have few symptoms, and in some instances one may have many symptoms. Individuals suffering from Schizophrenia have a tendency of keeping work and friends. They suffer from challenges and problems of suicidal thoughts, depression, behaviors, and anxiety. Some of the early symptoms of Schizophrenia include trouble sleeping, trouble concentrating and tense feeling and irritable. Experts have discovered that when the condition continues, the patient may have challenges with behavior, emotions, and thinking in a positive manner, (Peterburs et al., 2013).People who feel some of these symptoms should be very careful as well as seek medical help.

The reason why they should be careful is due to the fact that these symptoms come and go something that may be difficult to tell exactly what one is feeling. This illness mostly makes people very agitated, and in some instances they feel immobile. There are positive and negative symptoms of Schizophrenia. Both positive and negative Schizophrenia symptoms should be viewed in a critical approach in order to provide the right treatment to the patient, (Maguire, 2002).Scientists have no idea on what causes Schizophrenia. According to researchers, they have come across a number of chemical differences possible in the brains of humans that can develop the disease.

There are also some genes that exist in human biology that extends the risk of getting Schizophrenia. Some of the experts believe a number of factors contribute to the development of Schizophrenia. It has been discovered that this illness can develop from strong congenital traits. Individuals from families with a history of mental illness have high chances of contracting Schizophrenia. Genes plays a major role in influencing this illness although they do not determine its occurrence. Despite that Schizophrenia runs in families, a large percentage of people who suffer from the illness (60%) don’t have any history of the disease in their families. Stress is also another factor that contributes to the development of this illness.

Experts believe that high level of stress play a role in the disease development because they increase the production of the hormone cortisol that ignites or triggers the development of Schizophrenia. Another cause of Schizophrenia is the abnormal brain chemistry and brain structure. Physicians have observed big brain ventricles in patients suffering from this disorder, (Bender, 2010).Treatment of Schizophrenia is easy provided that symptoms are discovered in early stages, and right measures are put into consideration.

Study shows that symptoms of this illness should be properly treated simply because if they are not treated in accordance, the effects not only affect the patient but also those who are around. Among these effects include schizophrenics, suicide risk increase, and self isolation that affect once relationship. The person suffering from Schizophrenia should always stay in the hospital in order to get right treatments as well as for safety reasons. Antipsychotic medicines are used for the treatment of Schizophrenia since they do change the balance of chemicals in the brain plus they do help control symptoms, (Fortugno et al., 2013).


Bender, K. J. (2010). New Recommendations for Treatment of Schizophrenia. Psychiatric Times27(2), 54

Fortugno, F., Katsakou, C., Bremner, S., Kiejna, A., Kjellin, L., Nawka, P., & ... Priebe, S. (2013). Symptoms Associated with Victimization in Patients with Schizophrenia and Related Disorders. Plos ONE8(3), 1-9. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058142

Gallagher III, B. J., & Jones, B. J. (2013). Childhood Stressors and Symptoms of Schizophrenia. Clinical Schizophrenia & Related Psychoses7(3), 124-130. doi:10.3371/CSRP.GAJO.020113

Maguire, G. A. (2002). Comprehensive understanding of schizophrenia and its treatment. American Journal Of Health-System Pharmacy59S4

Peterburs, J., Nitsch, A. M., Miltner, W. R., & Straube, T. (2013). Impaired Representation of Time in Schizophrenia Is Linked to Positive Symptoms and Cognitive Demand. Plos ONE8(6), 1-7. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067615

Updated PORT psychopharmacological treatment recommendations. (2010). Brown University Psychopharmacology Update, 21(4), 1-7


Published in Nursing

Regional Trade Agreements versus Global Trade Liberalization

 The world has become largely globalized, and the desire for trade liberalization has intensified.  Countries are engaging in regional trade agreements, as well as global trade liberalization endeavors so as to improve national welfare and have a positive impact on development. The paper takes analyzes regional trade agreements versus global trade liberalization with the intention ofRegional Trade Agreements (RTA) is reciprocal trade agreements between two or additional country partners.

RTAs remove all barriers of trade and foreign investments that may have otherwise been hindering business processes across the involved countries. RTA is beneficial to companies that are equal in terms of economic viability (Freund, & Ornelas, 2010). However, RTAs between countries that are unmatched, e.g. a rich and poor economy country means that the rich economy country may benefit more from the trade agreement than the poor country. When a poor country gets into a regional trade agreement with an economically stable country, the poor nation may be affected with some of the rules that the agreement may bring forth. For instance, the RTA may rule that countries should not use import tariffs.

Whereas such as rule may be beneficial for the rich country it may be detrimental for the poor country that needed to safeguard their emerging industries from being pushed out of the market through cheap imports (Moe-Lobeda & Spencer, 2009; Taifeng, 2009). It is preferable, therefore, for developing countries to unite and work together and have their strengths in numbers against decisions that developed countries may make. In most instances, developed countries will pass regulations that will favor them.Critics of RTA have argued that RTA does not necessarily improve the welfare of member states as dominant members may push for the removal or inclusion of tariffs that favor them.

For instance, dominant states in a RTA may push for the removal of tariffs that may subsequently lead to trade diversion as imports may shift away from efficient suppliers to nations receiving preferential treatment (Wilson, 2012). Such a move would result to inefficient production that may affect bloc non-members. RTA can also affect members through strategies such as price adjustments that may lead to consumer surplus (Zeng, 2010).Global trade liberalization is the removal of all trade barriers and practices that interfere with the free flow of goods and services across nations. Global trade liberalization ensures the removal of tariffs such as duties and export subsidies.

It also ensures that non-tariff barriers such as licenses and quotas are also eliminated (Urata, 2002). Global trade liberalization ascertains the global flow of goods, and services hence an essential driver of global economic growth and development. According to Bouet, (2006) global trade liberalization is expected to act positively on development and poverty reduction. Liberalization of trade is expected to improve agricultural prices, for instance, hence raise activity and payments in agriculture, in developing nations. Most developing nations depend on the agricultural sector in which trade distortions are high.

Global trade liberalization is likely to lead to higher world agricultural prices thus benefits to developing nations. Other industries such as textile and apparels are also bound to improve and give developing countries a comparative advantage. Critics, however, argue that global trade liberalization can lead to a shrink in government transfers due to the elimination of trade-related taxes. Liberalization can also affect terms of trade due to price adjustments. Price adjustments also have the potency of exposing nations to short-run risk arising from competition and reallocation of productive factors (Jones, 2006).


 Bouet, A. (2006). How much will trade liberalization help the poor? International food policy research institute. Research brief No. 5

Freund, C. Ornelas, E. (2010). Regional trade agreements. Policy research working paper 5314. The world Bank development research group

Jones, E. (2006). Europe's market liberalization is a bad model for a global trade agenda. Journal Of European Public Policy13(6), 943-957. Doi: 10.1080/13501760600838714

Moe-Lobeda, C. D., & Spencer, D. T. (2009). Free Trade Agreements and the Neo-Liberal Economic Paradigm: Economic, Ecological, and Moral Consequences. Political Theology10(4), 685-716. Doi:10.1558/poth.v10i4.685

Taifeng, C. (2009). Regional trade agreements vs. multilateral trading system. NUPI working paper 762. Department of international economics

Urata, S. (2002). Globalization and the Growth in Free Trade Agreements. Asia-Pacific Review9(1), 20-32. Doi: 10.1080/13439000220141569

Wilson, J. D. (2012). Resource security: a new motivation for free trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region. Pacific Review25(4), 429-453. Doi:10.1080/09512748.2012.685098

Zeng, K. (2010). Multilateral versus Bilateral and Regional Trade Liberalization: explaining China's pursuit of free trade agreements (FTAs). Journal of Contemporary China19(66), 635-652. Doi:10.1080/10670564.2010.485400


Published in Business Studies

Culture Shock among International Students

Globalization has increased the number of students who study abroad. These students often experience loss of emotional equilibrium when they move to these unfamiliar environments. This experienced is what is referred to as culture shock. Various authors have explored the issues of culture shock and recommended solutions that would help international students cope with this experience. This paper examines some of the recommended solutions and points out some problem concerning these solutions.


Marx (2001), in her book Breaking through Culture Shock, suggested that one of the strategies for coping with culture shock is to anticipate. She suggests students planning to travel to other country to study should try to learn the cultural values of these countries. This will help the student to anticipate the negative emotions that he or she is likely to encounter during his stay in the foreign country. She argues that anticipation will give the student an idea of the experience that he is likely to encounter. However, Gordon noted that people often have stereotypes about other people’s culture.

Stereotypes are general perceptions about a group of people which may or may not be founded on facts. Encourage students to anticipate the culture of the destination country may encourage them to adopt these stereotypes. The stereotypes will only serve to increase the isolation of the student and culture shock. Brown (2011) suggests that students should, instead, go to the foreign countries with an open and flexible mind. They should be willing to learn new ideas and accept new ways of doing things.

 It has also been argued that thinking differently can help a student deal with culture shock (Marx, 2001). According to Marx (2001), different cultures have different ways of thinking and doing things. Thus, in order to cope with culture shock, international students should embrace local ways of doing things. While it is important for international students to show sensitivity to the local culture, they should not lose their identity because of this new environment. They should remain proud of their own cultures. Brown (2011) argues that the international students should be willing to accommodate new culture and, at the same time, teach their own culture to local people with whom they have close interactions.

He encourages international students to maintain high levels of self confidence and self esteem.The Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (2010) suggests that a suitable way of managing culture shock is for a person to explain his feeling to the people around. This committee suggests that the foreigner should solve the problem on the spot with the concerned people. It also suggests that foreigners should try to negotiate with local people. However, the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service’s (2010) argument fails to recognize the nature of this problem.

As Brown (2011) points out, culture shock is a negative feeling that usually originates from inconsistency between the foreigners culture and that of the local people. This feeling does not arise from a problem within the local community. The local community does not have any problem that need to be addressed as they are only practicing their culture. Trying to negotiate with the local people implies that the student should attempt to change the culture of the local people. This will prove to be a very difficult task and will only add to the frustration of the visitor. Instead, the student should focus on understanding the cultural differences and appreciating the diversity that exists between the two cultures.

International students need to understand that culture shock is a normal experience for any person who is not used to changing his or her living environment (Brown, 2011). Therefore, they should not pay much attention to this problem as it often fades with time. The student should not try to imitate local behaviors as this will lead to loss of self identity and self esteem, which only makes the feeling worse. Students need to go into the foreign countries with an open and flexible mind. They should focus on learning and embracing new culture, but they should also teach their own culture to the local people. This will lead to cultural integration rather than cultural assimilation.


In conclusion, moving to a new environment is often accompanied by negative emotions and feelings. These emotions are often brought about by inconsistency between the student’s culture and that of the local people. This feeling is a normal part of settling into a new environment and, therefore, students should not pay much attention to it. They should not focus their energy in addressing this feeling as this is just a temporary experience that will fade with time. Students should instead focus on positive experiences offered by the new destinations. Strategies such as attempting to anticipate the local culture, trying to negotiate with the local people, and trying to adopt a different way of doing things will only add to the student’s frustrations. 


Brown G. (2011). How to Cope with Culture Shock. November 11, 2013. http://www. /assets/pdf/HowtoCopewithCultureShock.pdf

Marx E. (2001). Breaking through Culture Shock. USA. Nicholas Brealey Publishing

The Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (2010). How to Overcome Culture Shock. November 11, 2013. http://ccivs.org/New-SiteCCSVI/VolunteersInfo/Documents/overcome.htm


Published in Sociology
Saturday, 24 May 2014 08:59

Ethics in Business

Ethics in Business

Ethical business practices drive organizations to great heights as the organization engages in organizations practices that are appropriate.  Ethical practices are inculcated in an organization through human resource. Leaders are responsible for the organizational outlook and overall performance of the company. Ethical leaders drive the organization to success as employees emulate their leaders. In contrast, unethical leaders engage in practices that benefit their selfish interest thus interfering with the overall performance of the organization.

 Ethical and Unethical Leadership

Ethical practices within an organization emanate from ethical leaders who integrate ethical and ethical cultures among employees. Organizations with leaders practicing ethics are bound to realize increased efficiency in its operations, as well as efficient decision making. Similarly, companies that are ethical are bound to have enhanced employee commitment, customer loyalty and improved financial performance. A company that upholds ethical practices is bound to encourage ethical conformity among its employees.

Employees will thus perform their duties and make organizations decisions that integrate ethical considerations (Kaufmann, 2012). Ethical leaders can establish shared values that influence the ethical behavior of employees, which in turn will result to an improvement of relationships with customers, investors, and suppliers. Ethical leaders will influence individuals and groups within the organization to attain organization goals from the ethical perspective. As an ethical leader, CEOs, for instance, play a crucial role of transmitting and diffusing values, norms and codes of ethics among employees. Overall, ethical leaders promote organizational commitments to the quality production of goods and services; enhance employee committee and helps in developing an ethical organizational climate.

Companies with leaders that are unethical and engage in unethical practices are bound to have a negative effect on organizational performance. Unethical leaders use their power and authority in a manner that serves their own selfish interests. These leaders are also manipulative and controlling. Unfortunately, these factors affect the overall organizational performance as employees are not motivated to perform. Employees working under such leaders may lose their morale to work and instead focus on seeking alternative jobs (Kalshoven, 2009). The turnover rate is thus higher in such organizations compared to organizations that have ethical leaders. The actions of a leader influences employee behavior thus the likelihood of an unethical leader to influence employees to engage in unethical practices.

 Consequence of Unethical Business Practices

 It is an undeniable fact that a leader’s actions have a direct impact on the attitude and behavior of those that they lead. Leaders engaging in unethical practices risk arrest, prosecution and revocation of their professional licenses. Leaders involved in unethical practices are often held accountable for their actions once they are discovered. The psychological trauma involved in cases of Unethical business practices can affect a person’s well-being.  

There is also the risk of financial loss as a result of fines and penalties for engagement in unethical practices (Kaufmann, 2012). Leaders who engage in unethical practices can also affect the operations and sale of product and services manufactured in the organization. This is especially so, if the details of unethical practices are made public and customer begin to shy away from the organization and its products. Organizations found to have leaders engaging in unethical practices is also bound to lose existing and potential investors. Investors are usually aware of the high risk of getting involved with organizations engaged in unethical conduct.

 Social responsibility and performance

Organizations that are successful must create an organizational culture that encourages employees to become increasingly dedicated and committed to the organization. Employees can engage in social responsibility initiatives as a way of making a difference in their community and the organization. Whole Foods is an example of an organization that has succeeded to participate in socially responsible initiatives. Whole Foods is leading in practices involving sourcing for food products responsibly. Whole Foods has always been at the forefront in finding innovative solutions to protect and improve the environment.

Whole Foods commitment to the sale of organic foods improves the sustainability of the agriculture industry. The company’s commitment to organic foods has also enabled the company be at the forefront in the fight against the use of pesticides and its effects on pollution, as well as land degradation practices such as expansive monoculture. In 2006, Whole Foods managed to offset 100% its energy costs by turning to wind power as an alternative form of energy. In 2008, Whole Foods eliminated the use of plastic bags for packaging purposes.

 Whole Foods effort at conserving the environment has seen it gain global recognition for its business strategy. Environmentally savvy persons have moved to Whole Foods as they identify with organizations that participate in environmental conservation exercises. Whole Foods also participates in philanthropy by contributing at least 5% of its annual profits to the community. These funds are used to support members of the community, as well as support programs such as the Whole Kids Foundation. Companies, such as Whole Foods that participate in various social responsible initiatives are able to inter-connect their organizational goals with their community service initiatives. In the end, the organization is able to attain it organizational objectives while at the same time serve the community (Bello, 2012).

 Leadership qualities of an ethical business leader

 Ethical leaders are receptive, open and possess leadership traits such as integrity, honesty and trust. Ethical leaders with these qualities set standards of performance that are in light to appropriate ethical behavior. These ethical standards form the basis of organizational performance. Employees thus execute their duties based on already set ethical standards. An ethical leader also has mediating qualities. The ethical leader plays a mediating role in the relationship between culture within the organization and expected employee outcomes. As a mediator, the leader is bound to bring out a leader’s effectiveness and willingness to put extra effort to have a task completed. This will ultimately lead to increased job performance.  Ethical leaders also lead by example by performing their duties in line with existing ethical standard.

Employees follow their leaders and an ethical leader will provide employees with an ideal example to emulate (Bello, 2012). Ethical leaders cultivate the spirit of accountability hence employees perform their duties in line with expected ethical standards. Ethical leaders are also open to communication. It is through communication and sharing of ideas that an organization is able to move forward. Ethical leaders involve themselves with employees in an effort to establish ideal strategies that can be integrated within the company. An organization is bound to thrive if it integrates its employees in establishing elaborate business strategies. Employees are committed to working in environments where they acquire the sense of belonging (Kalshoven, 2009).


Ethical leaders embrace ethical practices that they integrate into their organizational operations. Organizations that are ethical participate in activities that are beneficial for the organization and the surrounding community. Ethical practices serve as the platform for organizations that desire to prosper.


Bello, S. (2012). Impact of ethical leadership on employee job performance. International journal of business and social science. Vol. 3(11); 228

Kalshoven, K. (2009). Ethical; leader behavior and leader effectiveness. International journal of leadership studies. Vol. 5(2); 101

Kaufmann, M. (2012). The impact of corporate social responsibility on business.  The Berlin international economics congress


Published in Business Studies
Saturday, 24 May 2014 08:56

Book Review

Book Review

Standage, T. (2010). A history of the world in six glasses. Toronto. Canada. Doubleday Canada publishing company

 Author Tom Standage writes the book "A history of the world in six glasses" in which he analyzes the six important drinks in a person’s life. These drinks are tea, coffee, Coca-cola, spirits, beer and wine. Standage demonstrates how these drinks are the most important in a person life as the drinkers get to enjoy them. Traditionally, it was assumed that water was the only vital drink essential for man’s survival.

Water took such preeminence in people’s lives, and it is only in the recent decades that these 6 other beverages have been created and challenged water’s preeminence. The author organizes the content of her book in a chronological manner form the invention of beer in Mesopotamia and Egypt to the invention of wine in Greece and Italy, then spirits in the colonial period, coffee in the age of reason, tea and the British Empire and finally Coca-cola in America. The author follows is written from a historical perspective following the invention of different drinks from 5th millennium BC to the 21st century.


The main thesis of author Tom Standage is that liquid refreshments other than water have become essential elements that man cannot do without. The author illustrates how man relied heaving on water for refreshment and survival. Man lived near rivers, and other water bodies so as to access fresh water. However, man’s innovative easy have seen him invent other drinks that have led to the introduction of alternative refreshments. The author supports this thesis by giving readers a historical background of the different drinks discussed.

He uses historical facts such as the practice of hunting and gathering by early man, to the settling and practice of agriculture. It is through agricultural practices such as the cultivation of wheat and grapes that attempt to make other refreshments are begun.He uses pictograms such as the Mesopotamian pictogram to demonstrate how the people of Mesopotamia shared communal beers.  The author also quotes Egyptian proverbs in several sections of the texts. The author also uses quotes and statements from famous philosophers such as Aristophanes. He mentions Aristophane’s quote“quickly bring me a bicker of wine… and say something clever.” Such a quote brings humor to his writing as readers perceive how wine was associated with privilege and sophistication.

The author gradually shifts from the discussion of beer and spirits and introduces a world of soberness with the discussion of tea, coffee and coca-cola.In conclusion, the content of the book illustrates Standage’s perception of drinks as a form of technology that has advanced over the years. Similarly, Standage’s article is an illustration of the development of civilization from the 5th millennium to the 21st century. Standage provides readers with a masterpiece that specifically focuses on drinks that exist in society today.

The content of the book is clear and easy to follow through the centuries.  In fact, this is the first book that I have read that focuses squarely on drinks that exist and their historical background. Reading through the book, I learned to appreciate the drinks we have to-date. Today, we take drinks such as beer, wine or coffee for granted with the surety that they shall forever be in existence. Standage has managed to take readers to the historical context associated with these drinks. Readers are able to appreciate every bottle/can of beer or every cup of tea/coffee that they take.


Published in Education
Saturday, 24 May 2014 08:53



Leadership is a fundamental component within the framework of organizational performance in modern-day entities. The strategies used within the leadership framework are inherently associated with the kind of performance experienced in a company. As one of the globe’s most successful organizations, Google has been founded on exceptional leadership systems. The framework of profitability in this organization has been pertinent with regard to overall performance.

Bisciglia is an outstanding entrepreneur who has worked extensively with Google and also at an individual level. His excellent leadership skills have been instrumental factors towards Bisciglia’s success at numerous levels.This analysis narrows down on the leadership frameworks used by Google Inc. and Bisciglia in line with the case study. The most effective leadership frameworks will be identified in terms of the outcomes and methods used in the different styles. Another pertinent aspect of analysis involves the framework for situational leadership as exemplified in the case. In view of such aspects, this analysis will delve into numerous aspects of leadership from the basis of Google Inc. and Bisciglia.

 Leadership Styles and Qualities

In view of the insights evident in the case, various leadership styles are notable from Google Inc. Firstly, situational leadership is a pertinent leadership method used at Google. The company uses this style of leadership especially in uncertain situations. As a company in the dynamic technology sector, it is massively essential to have adequate leadership platforms that help in the handling of uncertainties (Gill, 2011). Situational leadership is among the most effective blueprints for integration into uncertain situations. This strategic framework of leadership has been massively essential in bolstering the organizational efficiency of Google Inc.

Apart from situational leadership; another notable style used by Google is transformational leadership. This leadership system is characterized by excellent standards of efficiency because it contributes towards motivating employees.Additionally, it is notable that transformational leadership has greatly enhanced the relations between employees and the senior managers at the company. This style of leadership has also been employed by Google Inc to ensure that all stakeholders are integrated into the framework of resolving problems (Gill, 2011.

This is massively essential in terms of bolstering the standards of performance. On his part, Bisciglia is also characterized by various leadership qualities. For instance, he is highly democratic. He likes to incorporate the views of other employees into his decisions. It is also notable that Bisciglia has an excellent framework of delegating responsibilities to employees. While the different leadership styles are obviously associated with merits and shortcomings, transformational leadership is the most effective. It is an excellent blueprint for leadership that has immensely enhanced the framework for change management at Google Inc (Gill, 2011. This leadership style is not as rigid as other leadership methods, and this is vital in terms of enhancing the framework of efficiency.

 Relevance of Situational Leadership in the Case

The relevance of situational leadership in the case can be exemplified in various ways. Firstly, situational leadership is characterized by an excellent degree of flexibility. The leader can adjust into different strategies based on the emerging requirements or leadership needs. Such an aspect of flexibility has immensely benefited the company especially due to the high levels of uncertainties in the information technology sector (Gill, 2011.

Apart from flexibility, the relevance of situational leadership in the case is exemplified by the framework of change management in the company. Change management affects numerous operations in the entire company. This cannot be implemented effectively without having a solid framework for leadership. Based on such stipulations, situational leadership is the most effective platform for helping in the implementation of change. Google is a highly dynamic company. Such dynamism is strongly influenced by the framework of delegating responsibilities to employees. In view of such stipulations, situational leadership is massively beneficial in line with the organizational and human resource needs of the entire company.

 Google’s 20% Time Program

Google’s 20% time program refers to a strategic policy by the company for giving employees an off-day on a weekly basis. The company introduced this policy as a strategic platform for enhancing its competitiveness. The program seeks to empower employees by providing them with an excellent chance to invest time on personal projects (Gill, 2011. There are various ways in which the 20% program has affected the employees and overall framework of organizational performance. Firstly, this program has been incredibly beneficial in terms of enhancing the levels of motivation among employees. In essence, the company’s employees feel valued, and this is one of the best platforms for boosting performance.It is massively complex for an organization to optimize performance when the employees are poorly motivated.

Apart from motivation, another platform that exemplifies the implications of the 20% program is job satisfaction. Google has one of the world’s highest levels of employee satisfaction. The company’s employees are strongly satisfied with their respective jobs compared to employees in other companies. Such a framework for job satisfaction is inherently connected to strategic leadership frameworks such as the 20% program (Gill, 2011. The implications of the program can also be examined from the perspective of employees’ innovativeness. This organization is associated with magnificent standards of innovation for products and services. This can be partially attributed to the magnificent blueprint of the 20% program.

 Preferred Leadership Style

While numerous leadership styles are used by Google, transformational leadership is seemingly the most preferred. The senior leaders and managers in this organization are associated with the different attributes notable within the framework of transformational leadership. There are various ways in which this style has impacted the company and the entire framework of organizational performance. Firstly, this style has enhanced cohesion and cooperation among employees at Google (Gill, 2011.

Teamwork is a notable aspect within the workforce of Google due to the extensive emphasis on transformational leadership.  Apart from teamwork, exceptional standards of employee satisfaction in this company can be attributed to the extensive emphasis on transformational leadership. The levels of motivation within the workforce are magnificent because employees enjoy excellent relations with senior executives. The framework of decision making in this company has also been massively bolstered by the use of transformational leadership as the preferred framework of leadership.


The numerous aspects of leadership have been evaluated based on the case. In view of the analysis, numerous styles of leadership are employed at Google. The relevance of situational leadership has also been evaluated in line with the leadership systems of Google. This style is effective in terms of the enhancement of human resource efficiency across the entire organization. The 20% program used by Google has also been underlined as an exceptional strategy for promoting the efficiency of employees and the standards of job satisfaction.


Gill, R. (2011). Theory and practice of leadership, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage                                             Publications  


Published in Sociology
Saturday, 24 May 2014 08:49

Gender Issues in Leadership

Gender Issues in Leadership

            Adult and community education is constantly evolving, in response to the heightened demands of the new world (Appelbaum, Audet, & Miller, 2008). Increasing diverse adult learners, emerging technologies, demands for accountability, budgetary fluxes, the pressures of changing workplace and world events are factors that contribute the changing face of leadership. Specifically, the roles of directors, principals, and other administrative leaders have expanded to include a wider focus on learning, teaching, data-driven decision making, accountability, and professional development.

It is for this reason that the issue of gender diversity has become important. Education management can take advantage of gender-diverse leadership to improve outcomes, in adult and community education programs.Statistics indicate that women account for 51% of the global population and 46% of the labor force, but they account for a negligible proportion at senior levels of administration (Sanchez & Thornton, 2010).

The underrepresentation of the female gender in leadership positions has given rise to a gender gap that not only exists in education, but in a variety of areas of the workplace. The traditional notion is that men are superior, and so the society has pre-determined that they make good leaders. This conservative perspective continues to be a barrier for women seeking administrative positions because, according to the general view, they do not fit the norm. Therefore, women experience barriers to entry into leadership positions, and, so, give up. This paper looks at the gender diversity scenario, in the educational settings. Particular attention is given to the participation of women in financial leadership.

Gender Diversity in Adult and Community Education

Gender diversity is no longer an option but a pre-requisite for competitiveness and innovation in the 21st century (Sanchez & Thornton, 2010). The achievement of the 50% women representation in the workplaces of developed countries has begun to change the power dynamics between women and men. The new trends have set the foundation for the advancement of women to administrative positions. These megatrends that define the global workplace are making gender diversity in the education leadership mandatory. The challenges that face educational institutions are remarkable.

These challenges are likely to increase in complexity and scope due to technological innovation, globalization trends, and other developments.In order to survive, leave alone prosper, organizations must be exceptional at both the planning execution functions. They must be visionary, nimble, and maximize their potential from the use of their resources. They must ensure efficiency and effectiveness in utilizing all the resources at their disposal including women. Organizations incur loss by failing to utilize their female employees, in two ways. They do not benefit fully from the unique talent of female employees.

Men and women have different leadership styles with respect to team-based management, trends towards flat organizations, and advancement in globalization.Secondly, educational institutions lose employees whom they have spent money training.  This is because the training gained by female employees will only benefit the employees as entrepreneurs, but not employees of the institutions. If unutilized the employees benefit in a couple of areas including finance, marketing, technology, and management, for their own benefit. Adult and community educational programs that want to benefit from the talent of women must make changes in their top leadership to reflect the reality of the current times.

 In the United States, studies indicate that boards that are gender diverse outperform their competition significantly. For example, studies also indicate that gender-diverse business institutions register higher sales, return on capital, and return on equity than businesses that are less diverse. The other significant fact is that women account for 50% of private wealth, and are one-third of heads of all households. Recognizing the need for greater diversity, the leadership of adult and community education should consider and adopt initiatives that require programs to increase the number of women serving at the management level.

Financial Leadership, Education, and Gender

Finance is the backbone of adult and educational programs (Sanchez & Thornton, 2010). In education, management is a process of relating resources to goals of an organization that explicitly exists to provide education. Therefore, financial management is seeing to it that the educational institution has funds required to meet its goals and that the funds are used for the purposes for which they were meant.  Financial management deals with the complex process involving the procurement of funds, allocation of funds and monitoring their usage. Financial leadership is much more than financial management.

Financial leadership is required to guide an educational program or organization to sustainability beyond profitability. Financial leaders are responsible for creating and maintaining a model that produces exceptional impact and sustainable health of a program. They should be mindful of the vital nonprofit realities and concepts.  Therefore, the persons in charge of financial leadership must have exceptional skills required to develop annual budgets, plan financial goals, diversify income, pursue restricted funding, manage personnel, discuss expectations of financial responsibilities and roles, and evaluate risks to the financial stability of an educational program.

This discussion of financial leadership reinforces the new for exceptional leaders, with respect to the management of finance, in education. Embracing gender diversity and encouraging more women to enter into financial administration increases the pool from which to identify the best talent (Appelbaum, Audet, & Miller, 2008). The current status where men are dominant in administrative positions restricts the number of exceptional leaders available to transform adult and community education.

As will be discussed later, gender diversity expands the capacity of an educational institution to have exceptional leadership and manage its finances, in accordance with the principles of financial sustainability.Research shows that the leading chief financial officers (CFOs) around the world say that they need financial leadership, in order to bring their finance teams to the next level in driving institutional performance. Those from the Institute of Management Accountants say that financial leadership is required both to advance their careers and those of their staff. Attaining financial leadership is a reasonable aspiration for every institution.   

Leadership Effectiveness by Gender

In a report presented by the Harvard Business School, women at all levels of leadership outscored men in leadership ratings (Zenger & Folkman, 2012). The report was based on an evaluation of 7,280 leaders through a compilation of ratings by their peers, bosses, direct reports, and other associates. The report confirms that female leaders are better leaders than their male counterparts. The relative ratings of female leaders across management levels are given, in the table, which shows a comparative performance of men and women.





Top Management, Executive, Senior Team Members



Reports to Top Management, Supervises Middle Managers



Middle Manager



Supervisor, Front Line Manager, Foreman



Individual Coordinator










Changing Perceptions and Raising Aspirations

Norms related to gender are expectations societies hold for feminine and masculine behavior. Norms serve to limit roles considered appropriate for women and men. Norms are learned behaviors and roles. They are not determined biologically. However, the two have become ingrained such that it is difficult to distinguish. Norms have a significant impact on leadership in many ways. For example, the type of character and behavioral traits associated with leadership are influenced by masculine norms.  This is because, according to culture, masculinity is defined by strength and action while femininity is defined by passivity, vulnerability, and fragility (Appelbaum, Audet, & Miller, 2008).

According to Sanchez and Thornton (2010), women are torn between societal expectations and enormous demands of administration. This tension is caused by norms, which values women at home and men at work. The implication is that women must figure out how to balance career choices and family responsibilities, deciding what must be given up so as to pursue leadership positions. Societal norms, therefore, can result in females holding lower expectancies for possible leadership careers in education. The society must discard the expectancy that becoming a leader requires adopting masculine behavior and character.

Career planning, mobility, preparation, career path, and planning are factors that determine entry into financial positions, in the education settings. According to research studies, men enter into administration earlier than women. This affects women’s advancement opportunities. Also, there is a difference in preparation between women and men prior to taking up administrative roles. For example, studies have revealed that women complete requirements for administrative certification far earlier than men. However, they wait for their children to join or finish school before applying for an administrative position.

Up to 16% of men entered administrative positions without the necessary requirements for certification and degree. On the contrary, women wait until they meet all the educational requirements before making an application and subsequent entry into administration. In terms of mobility, men switch locations seeking administrative roles at a higher rate than women. Women, on the other hand, wait for a recommendation to apply for positions rather than moving on their own volition as men do.  Studies indicate that men in administrative positions had the intention to become leaders from the onset of their educational careers.

Transforming Financial Leadership through Gender Diversity

Women can add to effective leadership in a variety of ways (Zenger & Folkman, 2012). According to the Harvard evaluation survey of leaders based on gender, women outscored men in a variety of areas. These include taking

  • ·Taking initiative
  • ·Practicing self-development
  • ·Driving for results
  • ·Practicing self-development
  • ·Displaying integrity
  • ·Developing others
  • ·Building relationships
  • ·Establishing stretch goals
  • ·Collaboration and teamwork solving problems and analyzing issues
  • ·Championing change
  • ·Inspiring and motivating others
  • ·Innovation, developing strategic perspective
  • ·Connecting group to the outside world
  • ·Technical or professional expertise
  • ·Communicating powerfully and prolifically

These are areas through which female leaders can transform the management of education finance. The current problem is that educational organizations search hard to find talent that they require to obtain exceptional results. Therefore, they need to be aware of the impressive skills that women have. Research indicates that these leadership traits are strongly correlated to institutional success factors in areas of financial management, personnel supervision, talent recruitment and retention, and other areas.  Maximizing talent, with respect to these leadership traits, ensures that financial performance is enhanced, which ensures sustainability of adult and community education programs.


Religion, race, social class, and culture are all fundamental, but there is none that dominates the human identity more than gender. Therefore, gender awareness is essential for good leadership. However, nothing will ever change unless the patterns deep within an individual are recognized. Despite accounting for half of the workforce in financial administration, women continue to lag behind male representation, drastically. Globally, women comprise approximately 60% employed in the financial services industry. However, only a negligible percent rise to executive finance positions.

Adult and community education can benefit by tapping the unique talent of female employees and utilizing it effectively to improve the organization’s financial leadership.The current trends, in the field of education, require diverse skills to excel. This justifies the creation of more opportunities for women participation in financial leadership. It is very important, therefore, that educational stakeholders create policies that encourage recruitment of women and promote their advancement to administrative positions. The next objective is to ensure that they are well equipped to contribute to the development and management of better educational programs. In a nutshell, financial leadership promotes sustainability of positive outcomes in adult and community education.


Appelbaum, S.H., Audet, L., & Miller, J.C. (2008). Gender and Leadership? Leadership and gender? A journey through the landscape of theories. Leadership &Organization Development Journal, 24(1): 43-51

Sanchez, J.E. & Thornton, B. (2010). Gender Issues in K-12 Educational Leadership. Advancing Women in leadership Journal, 30(13): 2-15

Zenger, J. & Folkman, J. (2012), “Are Women Better Leaders than Men”, Harvard Business Review, Retrieved November 7, 2013, from blogs.hbr.org/2012/03/a-study-in-leadership-women-do/


Published in Sociology
Saturday, 24 May 2014 08:45

Burnout, Stress and Patient-Nurse Ratio

Burnout, Stress and Patient-Nurse Ratio

Stress has been classified as a precursor or stimulus, as an outcome or response, and as an interaction.   Since 1950’s, stress has been regarded as an work-related hazard.  Occupational stress has been cited as a serious health problem.  Work stress in nursing has been a subject of research since early 1960’s when Menzies identified patient care, taking responsibility, decision making and change as the main causes of anxiety among nurses.  The role of nurses in health care has for long been regarded as stress-filled due to the physical labor, human suffering, long working hours, staffing, and interpersonal relationships which are central to nurses’ work.

Since 1980, the nurses’ work stress has escalated due to an increase in the use of technology, increasing cost of care, inadequate staffing and turbulence work environment. The term “burnout” was coined by Freudenberger in 1974 to describe workers’ reaction to chronic stress common in occupations that involve direct interactions with people. Burnout is a syndrome that is characterized by emotional exhaustion, reduced personal accomplishment, and depersonalization.

 The American Association of Colleges of Nursing states that insufficient staffing is raising the level of stress of nurses, impacts job satisfaction, and drives many nurses to leave the profession.  The high-patient-to-nurse ratios and nurse burnout has also been linked to poor patients outcome such as increased urinary tract and surgical site infections. Nurses believe the huge shortage of nurses present a great challenge for the quality of work, their life, quality of care, and the amount of time nurses spend on patients.

 93% of nurses view the shortage of nurses as a major cause of stress in the future (Beurhaus et al 2005). Therefore, it is important to address the issue of work-related stress, which results to burnouts, and patient-to-nurses ratios.  The purpose of this study is to explore the concept of burnout, work-related stress and patient-to-nurse ratio.  The paper explores the history of the concept through comparative analysis of previous studies, definition of terms, concepts and framework of previous studies.

 Literature review

Benett & Michie (1991) conducted a quantitative study to investigate burnout and its associated factors in AIDs nursing.    The study compared burnout between nurses working in oncology wards and those working in the AIDs patient wards.  Participants completed the Maslach Burnout Inventory. According to the study, despite the fact that nurses in the oncology wards suffered burnout in greater frequency, nurses working with AIDs patients’ burnout in greater intensity.  The study explored the “Depletion model of Freudenberger of 1977,” the “Alienation model” proposed by Karger (1981) and the Maslach model of 1982.

 Benett & Michie report that there is no gender difference on the frequency or intensity of burnout. Both female and male nurse experienced the same amount of stress. Younger nurses experience more burnout than old or experience nurses.  However, they found a significant difference on the level of stress among hospitals.   According Benett & Michie, the difference in the level of burnout among different hospitals was a result of factors relating to personal accomplishment such as opportunities for promotion, and differences in patient-nurses ratios between hospitals.

Jenkins (2004) investigated and compared the levels of stressors and burnout experienced by qualified and unqualified nurses, the relationship between stressors and burnout and the impact of social support on burnout.   According to the study, the main stressors included lack of resources in case of qualified nurses and client-related difficulties in the case of nursing assistance.  Jenkins defines burn out as the experience of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment.  Most qualified nurses quoted lack of adequate staffing and lack of cover as the major stressors that result to burnout.   Nursing assistances were challenged by “difficult’ demands from patients and “physical threats” from patient.  The level of burnout was categorized using MBI scale.

According to scale, workload caused emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and personal accomplishment.  Other stressors highlighted in the study include organizational structure, relationship with other care givers, and lack of resources, professional self-doubt and home-work conflict.  Jenkins concludes that qualified and unqualified nurses differ in term of job stressors.  However, the findings of the study are consistent with the notion of burnout developing to job-related stressors such patient-to-nurse ratio. He recommends that staff support groups may be useful in alleviating feeling of burn out. However, they must be structured to minimize negative communication and encourage staffs to discuss their concerns constructively.

 In 2011, Purcell, Kutas & Cobb, studied the relationship between nurses’ stress and nurse staffing factors in a hospital.   The study involved a sample of 197 registered nurses providing direct patient care.  The study explored a number of cross-sectional, quantitative and qualitative studies that highlighted various themes and concepts in relation to nurses’’ burnout, stress, job satisfaction and staffing.  According to the study, age, work load and  the number of days worked in a week are important factors affecting nurses’ stress levels.  As quoted in the study, Aiken et al (2002), in hospital with the highest number of work load, surgical patients have the highest risk adjusted mortality and nurses working in these areas have the highest level of burnout.

 Purcell reports that less experienced nurses are more stressed than experienced nurse.  The stress among nurses is across all ethnics and nationality.  Nurses relate nursing burnout to lack of perceived support, exhaustion, lack of assistance from unlicensed staff and negative effects of rotating shifts schedules.  Long working hours and inconvenient shifts increases errors among nurses. Nurses who work a shift longer than 12.5 hours are 3 times more likely to make errors. Nurses who work in good working environment such as adequate staffing, administrative support and good relationship between nurses and physicians are less likely to experience burnout, exhaustion, depersonalization and intent to leave nursing.Previous studies on burnout, stress and patient-to-nurse ratio have used the Maslach and Jackson (1981) definition to define burnout.

  The definition emphasizes on three aspects of burnout that include emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and lack of personal accomplishment.  Emotional exhaustion is defined as the feeling of being emotionally overextended and exhausted by one’s work.  Depersonalization is the unfeeling and impersonal response to clients while lack of personal accomplishment is a tendency to evaluate oneself negatively.  The studies focus on job-related stressors such as patient-nurses ratio, relationship between nurses and other caregivers, work schedules and shifts to assess job satisfaction among nurses.  Young nurses experience more burnout than older or experienced nurses. In addition, there some wards within hospital that contribute to burnout than others such as post-operative, and wards with patients with chronic illnesses or stigmatized diseases such as AIDs.  


The current shortage of nursing reflects changes in population demographics, career expectations, work attitudes and job satisfaction.  The number of nurses’ vacancies is expected to continue rising, however, the number of trained nurses is not likely to meet this demand.  Nurses are confronted with undesirable work schedules and work hours. They interact with patients and families who are in pain, emotionally disturbed, verbally and physically abusive and demented patient. Their work environment exposes them to loss, pain, contagious diseases, and traumatic illness.Unrealistic nurses’ workload is as a result of a shortage of nurses and can lead to increased absenteeism and higher rate of nurses’ burnout.

Job satisfaction among nurses in the country is lower than most professional leading to a number of nurses leaving the profession after few years of practicing.   Nurses often deal with burnout by requesting sick leave, and patient safety is compromised by the high nursing turnover.  The work stress and burnout increases nurses’ turnover rate, thereby affecting the delivery of quality patient care.

Nurses and healthcare institutions are adversely affected by the burnout, and ultimately patient satisfaction and safety declines.  It is important for health care institutions to institute timely intervention to deal with burnout such as improved nurse-to-patient ratio by hiring more nurses, improving the work environment of nurses, offer support to nurses and offer attractive terms of employment. Training institutions should work with healthcare institutions to train more nurses and more effort should be made to ensure young or entrant nurses are comfortable at work to avoid leaving.  


Benett & Michie (1991). Quantitative analysis of burnout and its associated factors in aids nursing. AIDS Care (AIDS CARE), 1991 Mar; 3 (2): 181.

Buerhaus P., Donelan K., Ulrich T. et al (2005). Trends in the experiences of hospital employed registered nurses.  Nursing Economic,March-April 2007/Vol. 25/No. 2.

Jenkins R. & Elliott P. (2004).  Stressors, burnout and social support: nurses in acute mental health settings.  Journal of Advanced Nursing 48(6), 622–631

Purcell, S., Kutash, M. & Cobb, S. (2011). The relationship between nurses' stress and nurse staffing factors in a hospital setting. Journal of Nursing Management (J NURS MANAGE), 2011 Sep; 19 (6): 714-20. 


Published in Psychology
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