Quarterly scientific journal

Greek National Health System (NHS): A study of perceived stress in Nursing Personnel

Michael Kourakos , Thedora Kafkia , Georgia Thanasa , Panagiotis Kiloudis , Aggeliki Statharou , Maria Rekleiti , Maria Saridi

Abstract

The health sector, being one of the most stressful working environments, is considered to contribute to chronic stress. Factors contributing to stress can involve employees (work overload, interpersonal relations and role conflict, vagueness of professional role, extreme expectations), patients (course of the disease, chronicity, death) and health system organization (organizational injustice, lack of participation in decision making, bad management). Aim: The aim of the present study was to investigate the anxiety levels of nursing personnel (NP). Material and Methods: The sample was 102 members of NP in medical wards in four hospitals of the National Health System (NHS) in Attica, Greece. The study took place from September 2009 to March 2010. Socio-demographic characteristics were recorded with a part of the Health Attitudes Evaluation Questionnaire which evaluates intensity, nervousness, remoteness and concern that are increasing the response to natural danger and stress. It was based on the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI I-II). Statistical analysis was done with SPSS 15.0. Results: There was satisfactory representation of genders, age groups as well as educational levels in our sample. All participants, especially women and older nurses, stated that their job demands influence negatively the time and energy that they devote to themselves (42,2%, t(100)=-3,076, p=0,003 & r=0,275, p=0,005) and their families (38,2%, t(100)=-2,359, p=0,020). On the contrary, family matters did not seem to influence their work (93,1%). Increased levels of reported anxiety were registered in all participants and were associated mostly with the female gender and older age. Finally, gender and age, but not the level their education influenced the nurses' attitudes. Conclusions: Nurses, nowadays, despite the lack of nursing staff and increased workload continue to demonstrate the appropriate zeal in patient care. Improvement of working conditions, salary and psycho-education on stress matters can improve the way NP experiences its working life.

Keywords: Perceived stress, anxiety levels, health attitudes, nursing personnel, job effect

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