Nursing satisfaction and work-related stress

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Satisfaction and happiness by definition are closely related. In adults, satisfaction is usually a derivative from two major spheres, work and family. However, both are frequently sources of stress too (Tennant, 2001). In today’s ever-changing work environment, work-related stress and distress is becoming more and more common every day and quickly taking a toll on our workforces and their lives. Sadly, work satisfaction and happiness is swiftly becoming a thing of the past. The implications of these stressors are of significant importance to both employees and employers alike. Negative bodily and emotional effects of work related stress in nurses are plentiful. Previous research shows positive relationships between chronic work stress and negative health outcomes (McNeely, 2005;R & T., 1990;Sauter, Murphy, & eds., 1995). According to Olson (2008) in Forbes, America is in the top 10 for hardest working countries in the world. Americans on a whole, work about 1,797 hours per year (Olson, 2008). That is about 5 hours every day for the rest of one’s life. One may equate this with increased productivity, however not directly because it depends on many more factors (Sharma, 2007). Yet studies have shown a positive relationship between overtime and extended hours with increased incidence of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, fatigue, stress and many other ailments (Dembe et al.,2005; Schaufeli et al., 2008; McNeely, 2005;Karasek & Theorel, 1990;Sauter, Murphy, & eds., 1995). The healthcare setting is no different, but special circumstances, apply. Nursing, in hospitals, is the largest part of the labor force (Stone, et al., 2007). The literature is quite extensive on the stress and emotional burden of managing illness, suffering and death (J.F., 1987; Poncet, et al., 2007; McNeely, 2005; Marine, et al., 2009; Stone, et al., 2007). In fact, studies show that levels of work related distress, dissatisfaction and burnout are quite high in healthcare workers. Healthcare workers, particularly nurses, additionally experience elevated job-related stress resulting from high expectations, inadequate time, resources and/or support. These stress factors enhance health dangers and lead to dissatisfaction and burnout among nurses (Marine, Ruotsalainen, Serra, & Verbeek, 2009). Consequently, negative effects on mental and physical health, ultimately, leads to absenteeism, turnover, associated economic costs and finally, employer liability related to patient safety (Tennant, 2001; Marine et al, 2009;Stone, et al., 2007). Therefore, the health and mental well-being of nurses directly affects organizational and patient outcomes. Awareness of stress dynamics can lead to improved employee health, productivity, patient safety and overall organizational outcomes. Recognizing signs and symptoms of distressed and unsatisfied employees can help identify nurses with potential risks. A hospital’s largest labor force directly influence larger outcomes, thus, making it the organizations greatest asset or biggest liability. Identification and understanding of the dynamics behind work related stress in nursing is critical and should be a focus for hospitals, clinicians and other institutional leaders.

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