Work-related stress, education and work ability among hospital nurses

Authors

  • Rajna Golubic,

    1. Rajna Golubic MD Research Fellow Department for Environmental and Occupational Health Andrija Stampar School of Public Health, Zagreb, Croatia
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  • Milan Milosevic,

    1. Milan Milosevic MD Research Fellow and Resident in Occupational Medicine Department for Environmental and Occupational Health Andrija Stampar School of Public Health, Zagreb, Croatia
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  • Bojana Knezevic,

    1. Bojana Knezevic MD Research Fellow and Occupational Medicine Specialist University Hospital Centre, Zagreb, Croatia
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  • Jadranka Mustajbegovic

    1. Jadranka Mustajbegovic MD PhD Professor of Occupational Medicine Department for Environmental and Occupational Health, Andrija Stampar School of Public Health, Zagreb, Croatia
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R. Golubic: e-mail: rajna.golubic@gmail.com

Abstract

Title. Work-related stress, education and work ability among hospital nurses.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to determine which occupational stressors are present in nurses’ working environment; to describe and compare occupational stress between two educational groups of nurses; to estimate which stressors and to what extent predict nurses’ work ability; and to determine if educational level predicts nurses’ work ability.

Background.  Nurses’ occupational stress adversely affects their health and nursing quality. Higher educational level has been shown to have positive effects on the preservation of good work ability.

Method.  A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2006–2007. Questionnaires were distributed to a convenience sample of 1392 (59%) nurses employed at four university hospitals in Croatia (n = 2364). The response rate was 78% (n = 1086). Data were collected using the Occupational Stress Assessment Questionnaire and Work Ability Index Questionnaire.

Findings.  We identified six major groups of occupational stressors: ‘Organization of work and financial issues’, ‘public criticism’, ‘hazards at workplace’, ‘interpersonal conflicts at workplace’, ‘shift work’ and ‘professional and intellectual demands’. Nurses with secondary school qualifications perceived Hazards at workplace and Shift work as statistically significantly more stressful than nurses a with college degree. Predictors statistically significantly related with low work ability were: Organization of work and financial issues (odds ratio = 1·69, 95% confidence interval 1·22–2·36), lower educational level (odds ratio = 1·69, 95% confidence interval 1·22–2·36) and older age (odds ratio = 1·07, 95% confidence interval 1·05–1·09).

Conclusion.  Hospital managers should develop strategies to address and improve the quality of working conditions for nurses in Croatian hospitals. Providing educational and career prospects can contribute to decreasing nurses’ occupational stress levels, thus maintaining their work ability.

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