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Keywords:

  • health conditions;
  • nurses;
  • nursing;
  • psychological distress;
  • occupational health;
  • workplace safety;
  • work-related injury

vecchio n., scuffham p.a., hilton m.f. & whiteford h.a. (2011) Work-related injury in the nursing profession: an investigation of modifiable factors. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(5), 1067–1078.

Abstract

Aim.  This paper is a report of a correlational study of the relationships between work-related injury-risk events and modifiable risk factors in a nursing population after controlling for socioeconomic factors.

Background.  Nurses are at high risk for work-related injury. Work-related injury is strongly influenced by psychosocial factors and physical job-related exposures, but the magnitude of effect from modifiable factors remains unclear.

Method.  Data were based on the Work Outcomes Research Cost-benefit survey conducted in Australia during 2005 and 2006. The study sample of 5724 represented ∼14% of nurses in Queensland, Australia. Logistic regression was used to determine the magnitude of association of psychological distress (represented by the Kessler 6 score: six-item scale of psychological distress), the number of health conditions and various socioeconomic factors with work place injury.

Results.  High psychological distress was associated with a 5% probability of injury. As the number of health conditions increased, the probability of injury increased; 3 and ≥6 health conditions increased the chance of injury by 5% and 15% compared with no health conditions. Compared with the total sample, nurses who reported high levels of psychological distress demonstrated greater sensitivity to the number of health conditions. Computation of the marginal effects showed little difference in the likelihood of injury when the total sample was compared with nurses with <5 years of work experience.

Conclusion.  Effective occupational health and safety workplace programmes that target modifiable factors such as psychological distress and physical health conditions may improve the health capital of nurses and productivity levels within the profession.