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Individual and organizational well-being in psychiatric nursing: a cross-cultural study

Authors

  • Sarah Thomsen MA MPH,

    1. Research Associate, National Institute for Psychosocial Factors and Health, Stockholm, and Karolinska Institutet, Department of Public Health Sciences,
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  • Bengt Arnetz MD PhD MPH,

    1. Professor, National Institute for Psychosocial Factors and Health, Stockholm, and Karolinska Institutet, Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Psychosocial Factors and Health, Unit for Care Processes and Health, Stockholm, Sweden,
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  • Peter Nolan PhD RGN RMN,

    1. Senior Lecturer, University of Birmingham Medical School, Department of Nursing, Birmingham,
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  • Joaquim Soares PhD,

    1. Head of Research, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Social Medicine, Centre for Development of Health Services, Stockholm, and University of Uppsala, Department of Psychology, Uppsala, Sweden,
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  • Janie Dallender MSc

    1. Research Associate, University of Birmingham Medical School, Department of Nursing, Birmingham
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Sarah Thomsen National Institute for Psychosocial Factors and Health, Box 230, S-171 77, Stockholm, Sweden E-mail: Sarah.Thomsen@ipm.ki.se

Abstract

Individual and organizational well-being in psychiatric nursing: a cross-cultural study

Although health care systems around the world are undergoing rapid changes, there is an absence of comparative studies of how these changes affect nurses’ well-being and work life. The purpose of this study was (i) to identify and describe possible differences between the psycho-social work environments of English and Swedish mental health nurses, and (ii) to attempt to explain these differences. 1016 psychiatric nurses from Stockholm (Sweden) and Birmingham (England) responded to a postal questionnaire on their psycho-social work environment and feelings of professional fulfilment, mental energy and work-related exhaustion. The study was given ethical clearance in Stockholm and Birmingham. Results indicated that while the English nurses rated their organizational well-being more favourably, Swedish psychiatric nurses reported greater individual well-being than their counterparts. Multiple regression analyses indicated that self-esteem was important for explaining mental energy and work-related exhaustion, but less so for explaining professional fulfilment, which was predicted primarily by organizational factors. When controlling for self-esteem, which was higher amongst the Swedish nurses, the differences in professional fulfilment and mental health were no longer significant. Reasons for the differences in self-esteem and experiences of the workplace are discussed. Low response rate may have contributed to a selection bias.

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