Publication Date

2016

Abstract

Background The nurse stress literature reports an overwhelming culture of acceptance and expectation of work stressors, ironically linked to the control of the workplace to effectively and proactively manage stress. The stressors involved in delivering “stress management” have been well studied in nursing-related workplaces, especially in acute care settings in accordance with the Karasek Job Demand-Control-Support (JDCS) model. However, little is known about the effects of specificity of an acute care unit and the level of qualifications on stress experienced by nurses. Methods A survey using the JDCS model was conducted among 385 nurses working in three different acute care units (anesthesiology, emergency and intensive care unit) from a university hospital. Specific questions explored variables such as gender, acute care units, level of qualification and working experience. Results Two hundred questionnaires were returned. A high level of job strain was highlighted without a gender effect and in the absence of isostrain. Nurses from acute care units were located in the high stress quadrant of the JDCS model. Conversely, other nurses were commonly located in the “active” quadrant. Independent of acute care settings, the highest level of education was associated with the highest job strain and the lowest level of control. Conclusions In an acute care setting, a high level of education was a key factor for high job stress and was associated with a perception of a low control in the workplace, both of which may be predictors of adverse mental health. In particular, the lack of control has been associated with moral distress, a frequently reported characteristic of acute care settings. To enhance the personal and professional outcomes of the advanced registered nurses, strategies for supporting nurses manage daily stressors in acute care are urgently required.

Document Type

Journal Article

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