Nurses working in the Intensive Care Unit and general wards of a tertiary hospital witness moderate to high stress level at workplace, a study by Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research has revealed.
It has also revealed that moderate stress level is prevalent more among ICU nurses (57.8 per cent), while high stress level among nurses working in wards (54.5 per cent).
These findings have appeared in a study titled, “Stress, stress reactions, jobs stressors coping among nurses working in ICU and general wards of a tertiary care hospital: A comparative study”. The study has been published in the latest issue of the institute’s journal.
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For the study, 258 nurses were selected of which 176 were working in general wards and 109 in ICUs. “The general wards included in the study were female and male medical wards and female and male surgical wards. These units admitted patients suffering from conditions such as diabetes mellitus, liver diseases. the ICU included in the study were coronary care units (CCU), respiratory ICU, liver ICU.” the report said.
It further said nurse, “working on earned leave, maternity leave, ex-India leave, child care leave or absent from the unit and who didn’t give their consent to participate in the study were excluded from the study.”
The authors for the study used various tools for data collection, include demographic profile sheet, modified workplace stress scale, modified work stress symptom scale and copy checklist.
“The ICU nurses who are designated as Sister grade II are young, single, and have no children and used to walk to their workplace experienced more stress than their counterparts in wards,” the report said.
Talking about the reasons that lead to stress, the report said, “workload, role ambiguity and lesser social support accounted for significant amount stress among nurses working on both the units”, while “external factors such as physical environment and resources hardly contributed to stress.”
It further said ICU nurses experienced stress more in the form of exhaustion, (11.9 per cent), irritation (11.9 per cent) and reduced self confidence (0.9 per cent) than those working in general wards. “However, the nurses use distraction, positive coping, problem solving, religious strategies to manage and handle their stress,” reads the report.
The authors of the study maintain that there were certain limitations of the present study. “It neglect of the personality traits of the nurses. Moreover, the present study doesn’t study the complex environmental factors, different managerial styles and varied types of technology operating in two units, which may play a significant role in the level of stress experienced by nurses. Yet the study provide a complete picture of the stress, stress reactions, and job stressors operating in two different units,” the authors say in the discussion part of the report.
The authors have also recommended that managers may initiate stress management strategies based on the findings of the study for nurses. “It include improving nurse-patient ratio, recruiting more nurses, clearly defined goals and objectives, providing opportunities for professional growth and organising recreational activities for the nurses apart from adequate supply of physical resources required for patient care,” reads the report.