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Keywords:

  • Demand-Induced Strain Compensation Model;
  • nurses;
  • nursing homes;
  • occupational health;
  • stress;
  • survey

Abstract

Title. Managing job stress in nursing: what kind of resources do we need?

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to investigate the functionality of different kinds of job resources for managing job stress in nursing.

Background.  There is increasing recognition that healthcare staff, and especially nurses, are at high risk for burnout and physical complaints. Several researchers have proposed that job resources moderate the relationship between job demands and job-related outcomes, particularly when there is a match between the type of demands, resources, and outcomes.

Method.  Based on the Demand-Induced Strain Compensation Model, cross-sectional survey data were collected between November 2006 and February 2007 by a paper-and-pencil questionnaire. The final sample consisted of 69 nurses from a Dutch nursing home (response rate 59·4%). Data were analyzed by hierarchical regression analyses.

Results.  High physical demands had adverse effects on both physical complaints and emotional exhaustion (i.e. burnout), unless employees had high physical resources. A similar pattern was found for high physical demands and emotional resources in predicting emotional exhaustion. The likelihood of finding theoretically-valid moderating effects was related to the degree of match between demands, resources, and outcomes.

Conclusion.  Job resources do not randomly moderate the relationship between job demands and job-related outcomes. Both physical and emotional resources seem to be important stress buffers for human service employees such as nurses, and their moderating effects underline the importance of specific job resources in healthcare work. Job redesign in nursing homes should therefore primarily focus on matching job resources to job demands in order to diminish poor health and ill-being.