Symptom Burdens and Labor of Burden

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 4
Words: 883
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: College


Gapstur, R. (2007). Symptom burden: a concept analysis and implications for oncology nurses. Oncology Nursing Forum, 34(3), 673-680.

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This is an article on symptoms burden authored by Gapstur a director of nursing at Methodist Hospital in Louis Park Minnesota. According to the author, the concept of symptom burden has not been actively explored. The article’s main purpose is to explore the concept of symptom burden concerning nursing practice. The research focuses on cancer patients experiencing symptoms burden resulting from the ailment or its symptoms. The article also investigates how symptoms burden affects a patient’s psychology and physiology during treatment. This article targets the practice of oncology nurses. Gapstur’s research relied on previous literature on the subject. The literature was sampled from articles authored between 1982 and 2005. The review was then used to help define the concept of symptoms burden.

According to this literature, symptom burden is influenced by factors like antecedents, method of treatment, and adherence to treatment regimens. On the other hand, medical literature specifies symptoms burden as the number of symptoms a patient experiences. The article notes that the current nursing literature barely refers to symptoms burden or the related terms. The literature that was reviewed revealed several attributes of symptoms burden. These include dynamic, multidimensional, quantifiable, subjective, and physiologic attributes (Gapstur, 2007). The article then defines symptom burden from the findings of the reviewed literature. Finally, the article relates the symptoms burden concept to nursing. This article aims to give appropriate ways of measuring symptoms burden and outlining how it is related to the nursing field.

Huynh, T., Alderson, M. & Thompson, M. (2008). Emotional labour underlying caring: an evolutionary concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 64(2), 195–208.

The authors of the above article address the concept of emotional labor as it applies to the nursing field. Two of the authors are nursing scholars while the third contributor is a health advisor for the Red Cross. The article begins by defining emotional labor as the concept of health workers trying to regulate their emotions in the workplace. This article claims that there are emotions that nurses feel but they cannot express them in the course of their practice. This article explores emotional labor in four disciplines. These are medicine, psychology, management, and nursing. This study used previous literature to come up with results.

The concept analysis employed was Rodger’s evolution method (Huynh, Alderson & Thompson, 2008). The literature used was from 1990 to 2007. According to the findings of this review, the concept of emotional labor gained prominence in the 1990s. Other terms related to emotional labor include compassion, being there, caring, and emotional intelligence. Some of the attributes related to this concept include surface and deep acts. In addition, the article cites depersonalization and emotional exhaustion as some of the main consequences of emotional labor. The study finds that emotions are part of a nurse’s work. To counter the effects of emotional labor, nurses need ample downtime. This article aims to have this concept embedded in nursing practice.


These two articles are very beneficial to the nursing practice. They are both authored authoritatively and present very solid contributions to nursing research. The articles were intended for both nursing practitioners and other stakeholders. These two groups would largely benefit from the research presented by the articles. Nurses always encounter emotional distress in the course of their work. The first article addresses how nurses may help patients encountering symptom burdens. The other article is meant to educate nurses directly on how to deal with labor of burden. Formulators of nursing curriculums may also find these studies helpful in their work. These two articles were published around the same time and bear striking similarities and differences.

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The first striking similarity is that these two articles address somewhat unfamiliar concepts. The two covered concepts are rarely addressed in regular nursing journals although they are important to the nursing field. Both studies use over a decade’s worth of literature just to have sufficient material for the research. The other similarity is that they both cover emotional oriented concepts as opposed to medical or practical concepts.

Symptoms burden is the first concept and it involves finding out how patients are weighed down by distress resulting from the treatment and healing process. Emotional labor on its part covers how nurses may be emotionally weighed down by their day-to-day duties. These two articles cover concepts that need to be impacted by the training of nurses. However, none of these concepts is part of the current curriculum. In the discussion part of both articles, it is suggested that both concepts be impacted right from nursing training. Finally, the two articles employ literature review and concept analysis as their methodologies.

Despite these articles having similarities, they also have several differences between them. The first one is that their concepts have different scopes. The symptom burden concept focuses on patients while the emotional labor concept focuses on nurses. The other disparity is that the article on symptom burden is aimed at coming up with a measurement mechanism of the symptom burden concept (Gapstur, 2007). The other article is offering solutions to the effects of emotional labor. Lastly, while the emotional labor concept deals primarily with emotional aspects, the symptom burden concept covers other aspects like treatment.


Gapstur, R. (2007). Symptom burden: a concept analysis and implications for oncology nurses. Oncology Nursing Forum, 34(3), 673-680.

Huynh, T., Alderson, M. & Thompson, M. (2008). Emotional labour underlying caring: an evolutionary concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 64(2), 195–208.